Monday night was the final stop of my culinary mini-tour with my Mom, who was visiting from Detroit. I chose Blue Hill, an iconic New York restaurant that you simply wouldn’t find anywhere else. As we were chatting, it occurred to me that Fleur de Sel, which we visited on Sunday night, is clearly the better restaurant, but you could find it anywhere; Blue Hill could only be in New York.
New York’s Adam Platt coined the phrase “haute barnyard,” referring to restaurants that self-consciously define themselves with a reliance on locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Blue Hill fulfills that ideal better than any. The cooking is impeccable and technically precise, although to some tastes it may seem a bit bland.
I started with the Stone Barns Greens Ravioli ($12), made with ricotta, zucchini puree, pancetta, and lettuce. There wasn’t much zing in this dish; its only point was to show that you can turn fresh farm vegetables into an acceptable ravioli. Stone Barns Berkshire Pork ($30) was served on a bed of spaetzle and spinach. The pork loin medallions were cooked to gorgeous tenderness. A square of crisp pork belly offered the right contrast, but it was only the size of a large postage stamp. My mom loved the lamb ($32), which like the pork was served in bite-sized medallions.
On a previous visit, I complained of a lack of red wine choices around $40. This time I had no trouble finding a satisfying California red at around that price. Service was up to the usual standard, and I especially liked the warm and hopelessly addictive warm bread sticks.
Blue Hill (75 Washington Place between Sixth Avenue and Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village)