We were trying to determine where to go for a getaway weekend. I knew we might not get out until late afternoon on Friday, and had to be back on Sunday, so we didn’t want to go far. We thought about the usual contenders: Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, Jersey Shore, Long Island beaches. But then Mike came up with a fantastic idea… to go to Tarrytown, NY and finally visit Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We have been wanting to go for years, especially after trying their NYC location which was wonderful. The only reservation we could get with the 1 week notice was at 9:30pm on Friday night. So we decided to get a local hotel room and then we would explore the area the following day.
Stone Barns is very easy to get to. The train is very quick and you can get a cab right there. We got a ZipCar and arrived less than an hour after we left our apartment.
Blue Hill is literally on the farm. The chef finds what is freshest from the farm that day and makes a menu out of it. You never quite know what is going to come out, but you can be sure it’s good.
We arrived about 10 minutes early and were told we would be seated soon. So we made ourselves comfortable at the bar, which had these lovely, comfy chairs and couches.
Their cocktail list was very unique, but both Mike and I were enamored with the “Up in Smoke” which had whiskey, mescal, and smoked peaches, lime, and thai basil. It was definitely unique. Not sure I would get it again but I’m glad we tried it.
We had nearly finished our cocktails when the Maitre’D came over. I assumed it was time to go but he informed us that they were a bit behind schedule and asked if we would like to begin our amuse bouche in the bar area while we waited. We happily agreed.
First up were lightly fried fresh beans (green and wax). They were delicious and the fry just added a hint of crisp. I also liked that they served it on slate.
Next up was a few fresh veggies from the garden (arranged on skewers sticking out of a block). We had fennel, butter lettuce, a radish, and a gooseberry. Everything was tasty, but the gooseberry was sensational.
Next up came a pancetta fried squash blossom. I find that many times squash blossoms retain too much grease from frying, but these were tender and cooked just right. I can’t say I tasted the pancetta too much, but the entire thing was tasty all together.
Next was something I remembered trying, and loving, at Blue Hill NYC. These were tiny tomato “burgers.” These were perfectly sweet with perfectly ripe tomatoes. Even better than I remembered.
Next up came some sliced meats. The one on the left was bresaola (air cured beef) and on the right was prosciutto. Both were quite tasty.
At this point, we were so pleasantly enjoying our experience that we hadn’t even realized that we were nearly 45 minutes past our reservation when we finally sat in the main dining room.
The did an amazing job with an old barn, keeping it modern and industrial, while clean and looking like it belonged on a farm.
I opened up the menu and was pleased to see that of the multiple artwork available on menus, I received the artichoke. (I LOVE artichokes). The menu gives a choice of 5, 8, or 12 courses. The 5 and 8 have the same amount of food, but the 8 had more variety. The 12 is called the “Farmer’s Feast” and it sounded quite epic. Too epic for being after 10pm. (Sidenote: This place is a “Special Occasion” restaurant. It is expensive even as far as NYC Tastings go. Be prepared. But it is 100% worth it.) We chose the 8 course and, to add to the opulence, I also got the wine pairing. (Note as dishes get increasingly blurry below… both in images and in recollection of what we ate).
I then realized that the beautiful flower sitting on our table was ALSO an artichoke. Gorgeous.
And then the food started coming out… Look familiar? It was so delicious and light the previous time that we didn’t mind a second helping.
Next came a melon shooter. It was melony, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to drink it again.
And then more beans…
When the meat came out again I debated saying something, but this was NEW meat so I just had to try it. I believe the left was bresaola again but on the right was bologna. Now I don’t like bologna. But this is what bologna was supposed to be. Made me think that I cannot even imagine how they can call deli bologna “bologna” if THIS is what it was supposed to taste like all along.
Next, out came a salad. It had fresh and seasonal vegetables with (YAY!) gooseberries. It also had some marscapone and a foam that I cannot recall anymore. They also topped it with edible flowers. It really just looked like freshness in a bowl.
The next item was a piece of brioche (that also had some swiss chard that didn’t photograph well).
And this was paired with homemade ricotta that they strained in front of us. It was creamy and rich and I kind of wanted to bathe in it.
We were then served poached lobsters with corn and shallots. It was in a broth that tasted like everything that is wonderful about lobster and corn.
At this point we really wanted bread to lap up the broth from the lobster dish, and without a moment to spare, out came the bread with homemade butter and two specialty salts.
They were flavored with tomato and spinach. And they were wonderful.
Next was an egg dish. It was a poached egg over julienned squash noodled. I took a small bite and realized that the dark red specks were, in fact, peppers(which, thanks to my allergy are my mortal enemy). Mike really enjoyed the dish while I waited for a replacement.
At first I was a bit upset to be missing the egg course, because there are few things I love as much as a fresh and well cooked egg. I was also surprised that the pretty impeccable service had made this mistake. But then… my replacement came out. It was a lightly fried poached egg (say what?) in a pea broth. Let me just say, this was so freakin’ amazing that I was GLAD they made the mistake. How on earth they fried a poached egg will remain a mystery to me, but it was sensational. The pea broth was a perfect foil for the egg and everything came together with perfect flavor and texture.
Our next course required special preparation, where a special type of egg yoke was grated onto our dish.
This was a homemade ostrich egg pasta dish (with the shaved egg thing over it) and a sauce that I cannot for the life of me remember but I do remember thinking it was absolutely delicious. (Note: this is when I realized that the wine pairings, which were supposed to be “small pours,” were no where close to small and were starting to impact my ability to photograph and recall what we ate… not that I enjoyed it any less, however).
Our next course was the meat course, which had sliced flank steak and beef tongue. I usually am not a huge fan of tongue. Sliced deli tongue is fine, but give me a slice of pastrami any day instead. This tongue, however, was one of the best morsels of food I have ever had. It was rich and melted in my mouth, with intense meat flavor.
Up next were desserts. This was fresh blueberries, marscapone, and sorbet. It was fresh and delicious and all the right balances of sweet and tart.
Our last bite was a caramel sauced, fresh milk ice cream, chocolate mousse with chocolate ganache and fresh berries. It was decadent with nothing too sweet, nothing too rich, nothing too bitter. It was perfect. A blend of everything that is right with dessert.
At this point I was a bit thankful that it was over… I was so stuffed (and so damn drunk) that I was concerned that Mike would have to carry me out (or roll me). At this point we were served a mint smoothie, some fresh fruit, and some chocolate cookies. I took a nibble and sip of each, and each was delicious… but just far. too. full.
Overall, this was one of those meals for the history books. It was easily in the Top 10. From start to finish, everything was delicious. There were some mistakes in service (the seating, the double amuse bouche, the peppers) but the overall service was so fantastic with great attention to detail, that none of that mattered. The wines during the pairing were each very good, but nothing that stood out and it was honestly just too much. I wouldn’t recommend going for that part, but everything else is a must. Each bite was fresh, delicious, and elevated what food should be. It was unbelievably expensive, but worth every penny. It is one of those once in a lifetime food experiences that everyone should have the opportunity to have just once. Some people dream about vacations to Bali, some about luxury cars, some about owning race horses… me? I dream about food experiences like this one.
Total Nom Points: 9 out of 10