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Blue Hill - Washington Square


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Couldn’t get into the Spotted Pig the other night after a long wait, but after desperate calls from my old-fashioned cell phone that was running out of power (I felt quite embarrassed standing next to these hip folks on the street in front of the SP) I managed to get a 10.15pm table at BH for a small group of us.

 

We arrived a little early and starving. While we started on the champers the barman kindly gave us bread and butter. Tom Cat bread I think. Not bad, but not as nice as Balthazar’s or Sullivan St’s. We were seated in the “garden roomâ€. (Beggars can’t be choosers so no problem there. And it wasn’t too bad, we were not on the uncomfy banquettes, rather a table by the wall and it was fine.)

 

OK, the food. Amuse: Cauliflower soup in tiny glass. Had much better elsewhere (e.g., Wallse).

 

I started with oysters from Hogg Bay (?), CA. Three of them, not bad with a pleasant brininess, but there was a sorbet on top of them which I found jarring. If I’d known about that (or registered what was on the menu, if it as) I wouldn’t have ordered them.

 

Next, chicken with Brussels sprouts. The chicken was in thin slices and the texture was not unlike velvet chicken served in Chinese restaurants. The sprouts were raw (If I’d known…..) The sauce, though a little cloying, was seasoned!

 

We had a variety of desserts. One had an avocado base and it was left by all. The others were OK but left no impression.

 

We had lovely wines (maybe someone who was there might chime in) and the service was good.

 

One in our party remarked that I might be predisposed not to like the place. Moi? After around five or six visits, the place does not move me, however.

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Couldn’t get into the Spotted Pig the other night after a long wait, but after desperate calls from my old-fashioned cell phone that was running out of power (I felt quite embarrassed standing next

g, have you been to BH WS since the new chef is in place? I have heard some positive things.

Why is it the British are so involved with piss?

I quite enjoyed the meal, though by the time we ate I was 1) starving and 2) as a newt.

 

But the mushroom "tartlette", actually thin slices of sauteed portobello draped over a little pile of roughly mashed potatoes, with some additional wild mushrooms, was very good and correctly seasoned for a change. The pig I had as a main was also pretty good but by that time I really was legless and I can't remember much about it.

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We had a nice nice Sangantino de Montefalco and that was probably the highlight of the meal.

 

I scraped the lime sorbet off of my otherwise perfect Hog Island oysters. If I had know what the rest of the meal was going to be like, I would have saved some of the bed of kosher salt that they were served upon.

 

Grilled mackeral was fine, but extraordinarily plain. Lamb loin in curry was good if undersalted and contained the odd addition of broccoli florets.

 

Overall a decent if uninspiring meal. I doubt I'd return.

 

Company was an A+ however.

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  • 4 months later...

Dee and I had dinner with the estimable Macrosan on Sunday afternoon. Very pleasant afternoon. It was our first visit, but mac had visited with tommy of eG several years ago. Cabrales was unable to join us due to a conflict.

 

We arrived a few minutes early, and were welcomed to seats at the bar. Although the maitre told us they anticipated a "slew of guests at 530 because of an OpenTable glitch" the place was empty. By 530 we were seated and pretty much alone, with a few more tables occupied by 6pm, and the place was 80% full by 7 pm. By 730, there were a few people waiting for seats.

 

A warm corn soup amuse launched the meal. Very sweet, with multiple creamy undercurrents. Absolutely smooth.

 

Cherries were the berry of choice on tonight's menu. Several items employed cherries as soup ingredients, accompaniment to pork, or in the dessert.

 

Macrosan chose an appetizer of smoked salmon (very mild hint of smoke, much less than the average lox) served with mixed baby greens and a vinaigrette. I had a spring pea soup with a dumpling. It wasn't unpleasant, but just didn't seem to have much "pea" taste to it. Dee had a crab with avocado, which she described as salty. Since that's not usually a descriptor applied to BH-WS, mac and I confirmed it did taste salty. It was tasty, however.

 

Since I had dawdled over a wine choice, the Jean Marc Morey Santenay Grand Clos Rousseau 1996 ($67) arrived during the appetizers. It was excellent, full bodied and berryish.

 

Macrosan ordered the Stone Barns chicken, served with a hint of lemon and fennel (and, I thought, dill). Our server said it came from the farm at SB, as did some of the greens. The chicken was OK, but didn't seem to make a serious impression.

 

Dee had slices of lamb with lamb canelloni (lamb hash inside a canelloni tube), which may have been the best dish of the night for us. It was perfectly cooked, rubbed with a mix of peppers and herbs.

 

The duck was fine, I was quite pleased with it. A dozen small slices of breast, fanned over a thickened slightly sweet sauce. A small piece of leg was draped over a melange of red and green pepper strips. The house maintained its consistency of undersalting most items.

 

We didn't order the cheese plate, which looked interesting. A Westfield Chevre (Hubbardstown MA) with pickled ramps. A Pyreneese Brebis from the Acquitaine with raisin chutney, and a Harvest Moon from Fort Collins CO, made from raw cows milk.

 

The cherry soup arived with dessert (reported to be excellent), the berries and cream was a cooked and slightly blended presentation which Dee liked, and the chocolate bread pudding was a surprise. It was a four inch cube of chocolate cake, topped with a think sheet of solid chocolate, filled with a thin, milk chocolate liquid.

 

All in, with tip, the bill came to $210, which I thought was very fair.

 

I liked the restaurant, and found it charming, with pleasant service. Was it as good as Hearth, at which we had eaten on Wednesday? No. Was the food as engaging and artfully presented? No. Would I go again? Sure

 

A few tidbits: the fourtop adjacent to us was convinced of their importance. "Is Dan in the kitchen tonight? We'd like him to cook for us" No, he's up at Westchester tonight, but he called in earlier...

 

 

edited for typo and clarity

Edited by Rail Paul
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Which web-site were they from? :lol:

 

I don't know, but I had to chuckle when our server said "he called in earlier" as that's never a good sign.

 

I didn't recognize any of them from the prestigious international food site(s) with which we've been associated in the past...

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I liked the restaurant, and found it charming, with pleasant service. Was it as good as Hearth, at which we had eaten on Wednesday? No. Was the food as engaging and artfully presented? No. Would I go again? Sure

Damning with faint praise.

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I liked the restaurant, and found it charming, with pleasant service. Was it as good as Hearth, at which we had eaten on Wednesday? No. Was the food as engaging and artfully presented? No. Would I go again? Sure

Damning with faint praise.

Not intended, though.

 

While I thought Hearth was very good, it ran another $20 a head more. That's enough to create a valid question of whether we're really comparing apples to apples with Hearth vs BH-WS.

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Surprise. I'd have guessed Blue Hill was more expensive. Menu Pages: Blue Hill dinner entrees $26 to $29, Hearth $21 to $28. Are you sure it wasn't affected by beverages?

I'm looking at the Hearth menu right now, and the entrees are $22 to $28, with apps at $9 to $14, which is consistent with BH. I had thought Hearth was a ten spot or more different in the entrees, so this is surprising.

 

The wines were about the same price, so perhaps the pre-dinner and after dinner drinks at hearth tipped the balance.

 

On that basis, I'd give the nod to Hearth, apples to apples, although I think BH is bit more romantic...

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I'm finally at a terminal in the Village :D so I'd like to add my own faint praise :lol:

 

The smoked salmon starter was, as Paul said, very lightly (and not completely) smoked. It looked and tasted like a mixture of poached and smoked salmon. Pleasant enough, and the accompanying "salad" lifted the dish, but truly nothing special.

 

I ordered the chicken largely because of the "Stone Barns" prefix on the menu. I was taken aback by the sweetly scented flavor, which I thought was fennel but may indeed have been dill. This absolutely did nothing positive for the chicken, but just succeeded in drowning any flavor the chicken itself may have had. After a few mouthfuls my tastebuds were entirely deadened by the flavor of the herb. I wish I had ordered the lamb; I tried a little of Dee's, and it tasted excellent. Even Paul's poached duck (the signature dish I had found boring on my previous visit) tasted better than mine :(

 

Cherry soup for dessert was an excellent dish, bright and light. That makes twice out of two visits that my best dish at Blue Hill has been the dessert :blink:

 

The wine was excellent, the check surprisingly small, and the service first class.

 

Overall, this was an adequate meal, no more. The service, the company and the conversation made this an enjoyable evening.

 

Yes, I might go back, but never again to one of the banquette tables. The table next to us was no more than three inches from our table. We were three, and I sat at the end of the banquette, facing down the line of tables. If I looked straight ahead, I was looking at the people at the next table, about four feet away. It was intrusive and uncomfortable. I fail to understand how customers accept being crowded into an area which the government would declalre inadequate for keeping livestock :blink:

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