Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, 5/4/18

entrance
entrance

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is located about a 20 minute train ride and 10 minute taxi ride from NYC.  Blue Hill opened this location in 2004 based on the satellite operation in the Village of NYC (one star) that opened in 2000.  It is a surprise tasting menu only and we were told that it does vary between tables.  No written menu is provided at dinner but they promised to email me one which they actually did, however it didn’t contain a lot of detail, which you will see at the end of this article.   The large dining room had a barrel vaulted ceiling, well spaced tables and a massive table of flowers in the center of the room.  On one end of the room is a huge mural that about spans the width of room.  It was originally a dining room for the Rockefeller family in the 1920’s.  This building was where the cows were kept. Lighting is nice at the beginning when much natural light pours into the room but as the evening wears on the candle only lighting makes photography difficult.  The portion control is good but the pacing is uneven.  

entry sign
entry sign

Sometimes a large number of things would come out at once and all have lots of description which was impossible to get it all down without recording (which I did not do).  Thus not everything we had has a lot of comment or description as there wasn’t time to get it down, photograph and eat it.  Blue Hill has its own gardens, curing areas as well as places to raise animals. The kitchen, run by  Chef Dan Barber, is huge and filled with employees and volunteer interns that want to study the process.  The dining room looks out onto a good sized patio where the grill/smoker was set up.  You’ll see the large stone barn where they prepare much of what you are served.   It is worth the trip if you can get a reservation but it did not blow me away as I expected it to do, based on other reviews and ranking in polls.  They have a thoughtful process to their food concept but I’d ditch some of the props and get more flavor back in the food.

signs
signs
some growing areas
some growing areas on the way in
stone barn
outside
buildings (dining room in building at top of photo)
buildings (dining room in building at top of photo)
stone barn
stone barn
grounds
outdoor dining for something
marker
marker
dining room
dining room
dining room
dining room
table set up
table set up
Frankie and the sparkler
Frankie watched the bubbles
sparkler
sparkler
large painting
large painting
booklet on the gardens
booklet on the gardens
cost and tipping
cost and tipping

 

Before you hardly get settled they start bringing snacks.  First was a series of small raw vegetables from the garden including carrots, turnips, lettuce and radishes. Next was flowering bokchoy, where only the flowers are snipped onto the plate.  They were good, mostly for the honey dotted sauce that came with them.

vegetable
Mokum carrot
vegetables
vegetables
closer
closer
cutting off the flowers
cutting off the flowers
plated
Flowering bak choi and shiso honey
xx
Hakurei turnip and poppy seeds
xx
closer

 

An asparagus burger was a tiny bun filled with cooked asparagus.  It was fun to see, tasted a tad sweet but had surprisingly little asparagus flavor.

asparagus burgers
asparagus burgers
closer
another angle
IMG_4291
closer
with Frankie
Frankie liked the clawed stand

 

Kohlrabi, nasturtiums and pickled strawberries. This “course”ended with an arc of wire into which small weeds had been stuffed – all of which were edible. They came with a pickled pesto sauce.

vegetables
Kohlrabi
closer
closer
weeds from the field
weeds from the field
dip for weeds
dip for weeds
Frankie posed in the weed arch with pine bouquet behind her
Frankie posed in the weed arch with pine bouquet behind her

 

A special pizza was a crisp flatbread covered with thin sliced ham.  It was broken at the table at which time the ham went flying and all landed on one side.

pizza
“pizza”
another shot
another shot
Frankie checked out the hand towels
Frankie checked out the hand towels

 

Goose liver came with a sugary crisp. You’ll note the menu called it pork liver.  Don’t know which is correct but it was tasty.

pork liver and chocolate
pork liver and chocolate
little closer
little closer

 

Popcorn came out in a brown bag cut open at the table.  It had tiny ear that had popped, its kernels still intact, and some other popped corn.  With it was a shaker of fennel salt. It tasted just like popcorn.  This was more show than a new taste sensation.

presenting corn
presenting corn
corn
Popped corn on the cob
closer
closer
closer
seasoning
Frankie inspected the little corn cob
Frankie inspected the little corn cob

 

Tender young raw rhubarb was presented and we were cut a tiny piece. It was really too tart to eat.

presenting rhubarb
presenting rhubarb
rhubarb
immature rhubarb
tool case
utensil case
Frankie checked out the utensil pouch
Frankie checked out the utensil pouch

 

Hard sausages of pork, beef and mutton were left at the table for you to look at and then your choice was grated on the next dish.   A potato baked in a hard shell was cracked with a chisel tableside.  The center was scooped out and plated with honey yogurt. I could discern no difference in the taste of the mutton and pork sausages that we chose.

dried meats for grating
dried meats for grating
opening the potato
opening the potato
opening
opening
opened
opened
set up
set up
potato and grated sausage
add potato and grated sausage
closer
closer
Frankie pointed out they had their own soap and lotion
Frankie pointed out they had their own soap and lotion

 

Tilefish and chickpea were served with American sturgeon caviar.  The chickpeas were grown in South Dakota.  It was an interesting combination of tastes and the chickpeas were particularly good.

Tilefish and chickpea
Tilefish and chickpea
closer
closer
turned
turned
one more side
one more side

 

Pork ribs were presented in the leaves they were cooked in.  They were glazed with turmeric .  Nicely cooked but they looked way great while they only tasted good.

presentation of ribs
presentation of ribs
opened
opened
Pork ribs in Turmeric leaves
Pork ribs in Turmeric leaves
closer
closer
side greens
side greens
closer
closer
Frankie found a plant
Frankie found a plant

 

Next was our tour and we got the kitchen.  We were told that guests are invited to different areas.  In the kitchen there were a ton of people working at discreet cooking stations.  Chef Dan Barber was there and working the room to supervise what was happening.  While there we were served asparagus cooked amongst the pine that had been decorating our table.  It was grilled and tasty.  They also served the broth that the pine was steeped in.   It was okay, the kitchen show was the star here.  We stood adjacent to the female chef whose job was to stuff the weeds in the wire frame for serving.

kitchen
kitchen
Frankie checked out the jars
Frankie checked out the jars
Chef talks with staff
kitchen
Chef Barber works with his head chef that evening
Chef Barber works with his head chef that evening
Grilled asparagus served during kitchen tour
Grilled asparagus served during kitchen tour
dipping sauce
dipping sauce
pouring the steeping fluid
pouring the steeping fluid
Frankie wanted to help
Frankie wanted to help
kitchen
kitchen
cook assembling the weeds
cook assembling the weeds

 

Foraged mushrooms and Blue Hill Farm Ricotta were served separately.  The mushrooms included foraged ramps and were topped with grated smoked pheasant leg preserved from last year.  Some of the ramps were pickled also.  It was a good blend of things made better when mixed with the ricotta.  The ricotta was made from milk from the Blue Hill Farm cows and was excellent – it really took the edge off the sharp taste of the pickled and fresh onions.

ricotta
ricotta
closer
closer
onions
onions
leg for grating
smoked pheasant leg for grating
Frankie looked over some of the cookbooks in the kitchen
Frankie looked over some of the cookbooks in the kitchen
some of the farm
outdoor gardens in the back
patio
patio
grill area
grill area

 

Freshly milled Barber wheat was turned into 100% whole grain sour dough bread.  It had a very malty taste.  The butter was from Massachusetts and made from grass fed cows.  The last bit of churning was done at the table.

churning butter at the table
churning butter at the table
Frankie and the bread course
Frankie went straight for the butter
bread
bread
butter
butter
whey
whey

 

Milk fed 60 day old Katahdin lamb was served with spring greens.

60 day old Katahdin lamb and spring greens
60 day old Katahdin lamb and spring greens
closer
closer
wine
wine

 

Beef bone marrow and tallow from the candle on the table looked great but it was not quite cooked enough to make it tender and tasty.  It was covered with a gremolata that was stronger than the flavor of the marrow.  It was not a success.

bone marrow
bone marrow
Frankie posed with the table flowers
Frankie posed with the original table flowers

 

A dry aged parsnip steak was  covered with a meat sauce and plated with Fighter spinach, that had a nice chew, covered with fried potato.

Dry aged parsnip steak and fighter spinach
Dry aged parsnip steak and fighter spinach

 

Three different concentrations of maple sap came in vials inserted into a maple log.  They were served with maple shaved ice and you could make your own maple creation.  The darkest and highest concentration was the only one with much flavor.  Alongside were bowls of pickled pear, coated nuts and preserved fruits.  The nuts were good.

Three stages of maple sap and ice
Three stages of maple sap and ice
last treats
last treats
closer
closer
Frankie checked what was left
Frankie checked what was left

 

Pear granita was served with maple cream and it was tasty. It was a very mild pear taste.

Maple ice cream
Maple cream on pear granita
c
closer

 

Last was a ‘celebration of bees’ which was a tray of final treats presented on a tray of a bee farm.  The nougat was good but none of the others stood out.

presentationn of last treats
presentationn of last treats
last treats on bee tray
last treats on bee tray
closer
closer
IMG_7422
menu
Our server Hugo and Frankie
Our server Hugo and Frankie

2 thoughts on “Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, 5/4/18

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