Blue Hill (NY) – More California for NYers

Blue Hill has a reputation for being a Bay Area-like restaurant – fresh ingredients from NY’s Hudon Valley cooked with simple & delicate preparations. After a trip of not-up-to-par eating, I was counting on Blue Hill to save the trip. My notes are very fuzzy (notice a theme on this trip?) – so i will do my best to interpret them.

1. Corn Puree – excellent start, very good balance of sweet and salty.

2. Tomatoes - not the best ever, but good, fresh produce.

3. Lightly Smoked Shrimp – nice piece of shrimp, cooked perfectly, served w/ dill, ginger, and some sort of green sauce. Again, nice, perfectly good but you’d expect just a bit more “wow” – either from the preparation or from the ingredient’s integrity.

4. Maine Crabmeat Salad – not so good, served w/ pickled something…

5. Chilled Corn Soup – small shot glass of intense corn soup, fairly similar to the above corn soup. It contained marinated mushrooms which didn’t quite belong. This was a ‘gift from the chef’; i think the waitress overheard that we weren’t “overwhelmed” with the food (after 3-4 bogus meals, you lose your sense of decency.)

Could the meal get back on track?

6. Stone Barns Pastured Chicken – served w/ a variety of vegetables… The chicken was moist and had excellent texture, but the taste… Where was it?

7. Poached Hudson Valley Duck – fine piece of duck, but again, nothing exciting. You could get this all day long in California…

8. Grass Fed Lamb – ok, but lacking much flavor…

9. Some unremarkable desserts

Overall, i was expecting a lot more. Don’t mis-contrue my “not exciting” for not understanding what they’re trying to do – I just don’t think they’ve succeeded. The ingredients were good, but I expected them to be better – especially for a restaurant whose reputation is based on farming many of their own ingredients (which the waitress let us know several times.) This is definitely not Chez Panisse East (though they don’t farm.)

Would i go back? If i lived in NY, i would put it on semi-regular rotation b/c it may have been a bad night. However, being from California, there’s not much incentive to return.

- chuck