On Sunday night, around a ten-top with several new friends, and several old, I finally had dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. It had been a long time coming.
I was five days into a flu that still won't quit, but for those precious hours inside that deep dark stone room, armed with Kleenex and a late-afternoon swig of Day-Quil, I was able to pull myself up by the bootstraps and thoroughly enjoy myself.
You may have thought you'd never hear this from me, but this is a plug for eating out. It's also a plug for eating well, when you aren't feeling well yourself. However much I espouse cooking at home, every so often, a big night out is a beautiful thing.
We arrived as the sun was going down, our car winding up the driveway and various city-slickers inside pointing, saying "Look at the cows!" and "Oooh sheep!" We all had varying degrees of familiarity with the story of Stone Barns, but all knew enough to suspect that we may be watching relatives of our evening's dinner.
Since one of us is friends with Dan Barber, the Chef and a co-owner, we were given the royal treatment. We were informed that Dan had asked the kitchen to cook for us – so aside from one expecting mother who asked to be spared shellfish and the wine pairings, we were served without having to make any decisions. It was divine surrender.
- Warm Fennel Soup with Apples and American Caviar
- Nantucket Scallops with Lager-Braised fennel, Coriander and Citrus
- Wild-Striped Bass with Almonds, Capers over Mache with Romanesco
- Chicken Soup with Rosemary Dumpling, Vegetables and the Oysters of the Bird
- Braised Bacon and Roasted Berkshire Pig with Red Ace Beets, Braised Red Cabbage and Cotechino
- Honey Crisp Apple Soup with Local Yogurt Sorbet
- A final selection of five desserts – each outstanding, although the quince cake served to me in a little cast-iron pot was my least favorite.
The evening continued after dessert when were led into the Silo behind the kitchen. There we found a silver tray of ten glasses of Grappa under a Halogen spot. The chilly silo was lined with cushions onto which the ten of us squeezed and chatted for another half hour. I think they would have let us camp there for the night if it hadn't been for our jobs coaxing us back to the city. skgr