Readers of the blog know that foodwise, I am a huge supporter of everything wholesome, organic, farm-to-table, etc. You are what you eat! While this belief mostly affects the food we buy for our home, it also affects our restaurant choices.
Located 30 miles north of New York City, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture opened in the Spring of 2004, and from it derived a four season working farm and educational center. Blue Hill at Stone Barns features farm-to-table food directly from the Stone Barns farm, and other local farms around the Hudson Valley. The restaurant won the New Best Restaurant award from the James Beard Foundation.
Below are the highlights. Enjoy the pics! (We didn’t want to be “those people”, so we didn’t use flash. Apologies if anything came out dark!)
There is no menu, per se. You choose between three options. A 5 course tasting menu, an 8 course tasting menu, and a 10 course tasting menu. And you have the option of adding cheese as an additional course to the 5 or 8 course menus (it is included in the 10 course menus). Due to time/nanny constraints (not to mention cost), we went with the 5 course menu.
Before they start bringing your courses, they bring out a number of starter dishes. The first: fresh vegetables from the garden. They were mini and delicious!
Course 1: Milk brined cauliflower with speck and toasted grains. They actually brought out the huge bottle of milk that they used to brine the cauliflower in. The milk was fresh from a special farm nearby. And the speck was from a pig on the farm.
Course 2: Honey nut squash. Not pictured: the accoutrements, which included salt, pepper, roasted pumpkin seeds, maple yogurt (which was amazing – I wanted to ask if I could have a vat of it for breakfast), and bacon marmalade. Yes. Bacon… marmalade. Delicious!
Interlude: Bread, with butter, whipped lard, carrot salt, and beet salt. Both at our tasting menu experience at Roberta’s Blanca, and here, the bread and butter were incredibly memorable. Fresh ingredients make all the difference!
Course 3: Soft (and I mean soft) boiled egg with snelling beans. You can’t really see from the picture, but the soft boiled egg is sitting in snelling bean broth with a nice layer of hearty beans at the base of the dish. Soft egg yolks aren’t my favorite thing in the world, but the dish was really good.
Course 4: Veal. Yum.
Dessert (course 5): Cranberry Bavarian spelt with pear sorbet and a souflee.
All in all, dinner there was a great experience. We had previously gone there for lunch, and may have enjoyed that more (it is great to be able to walk the grounds during the day, and lunch is certainly cheaper). New Yorkers who want the experience but who don’t want to trek out of the city can go to the related restaurant in Manhattan. Either way, it is definitely worth checking out. Support local farms!