75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011
539-1776 Visited July 28, 2006
We've been wanting to dine at Blue Hill for quite some time, perhaps ever since reading chef Dan Barber's great op-ed, Food Without Fear, in the New York Times a couple of years ago.
We enjoyed this elegant restaurant. The dining area is a long, rectangular room below the street and was smaller than we expected. It is somewhat dimly lit – the table next to us pulled out tiny flashlights to read the menu. It is a quiet spot with an air of romance and a has a small U-shaped bar near the front.
The food is fresh and has a pedigree which shines through it’s understated but beautiful presentation. Nothing over-the-top is the only fault, if that is a fault. In the end we ate happily without cream or oil used in the preparation of our food. We are left with a feeling of goodness and freshness but not greatness.
We had our almost-four-year-old with us and they gave us a corner table and later presented him with crayons, giving him leave to color on the table’s paper topper. The chef okayed a stripped version of their grass fed lamb for him as well. (So, Blue Hill treated him very well, but still, this is not a restaurant to take children.)
Amuse: Carrot soup
Basically a very fine carrot puree/carrot juice served in a tall shot glass – refreshing and delicious. If carrot juice tastes this good why aren’t we drinking it regularly?
Widow’s Hole Oysters on the Half Shell
Jack loved these. I thought they had an unusual not-quite-pleasant flavor with almost a touch of sweet sourness. They were very fresh and we were informed by our waiter that the restaurant buys all that the purveyor offers to them. If they're on the menu and you have a passion for oysters, this is a must.
Chilled Local Corn Soup with pickled mushrooms and wild arugula $10
A light cold soup showcasing fresh corn – no cream. The pickled mushrooms gave it a zing and the arugula made a beautiful contrast with the yellow of the soup.
This Morning’s Farm Egg Stew of Peas, Morels and Honshimeji mushrooms, lettuce broth $14
Wow. Jack loved this. The stew had a hint of mint and the tiny mushrooms were wonderful. The lettuce broth was memorable.
Poached Duck with sugar snap and English peas, turnips, carrots and pistachios $28
The duck was not fork tender but delicious – served skinless. The peas were very fresh and perfectly cooked. There were 5 pistachios which were happily eaten and 2 sliced moons of turnip amidst the peas.
Stone Barns Berkshire Pork Fromage Blanc Spaetzle, Guanciale, Stone barn Lettuces $30
I found the spaetzle slightly salty but well crafted. Jack’s view was he had had better Berkshire Pork elsewhere granted it depends on the pig..
Grass Fed Lamb with New York State Roasted Potatoes (created for us) $32
A specially arranged dish for us (normally it comes with quinoa and greens.) Good flavor. The tiny potatoes – some smaller than a fingernail were wonderful.
2003 Jean-Marc Pillot Santenay Les Champs Claude $79
Nose of cherry preserves and center of fresh dark cherries. Tight slightly peppery finish. Needs time. Near the end of the meal the wine was beginning to open (we had it decanted at the beginning of dinner). There was still a strong cherry element but some darker tobacco and peppery notes showing through. 3
This Morning's Farm Egg
Chilled Local Corn Soup
Stone Barn's Berkshire Pork
(Our photos did not come out very well; the restaurant is dimly lit and we do not use a flash, so as not to disturb other diners.)
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.