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Blue Hill (NYC)


Mao
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Cabrales. Any report this week. I been up since five and feel brain dead, but need a Blue Hill fix before my mid-morning nap. 

:wacko:

Robert R -- I'm revisiting Blue Hill tonight. A sibling (who also places emphasis on food) is in town, and I may have the opportunity to have only one meal with him, based on his schedule. I'll try to provide an update late tonight, but it may have to be later tomorrow. :wink:

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I had an interesting (in a favorable way) meal that was good-to-very-good-minus at Blue Hill recently. I brought a sibling who was visiting from out of town and with whom I may only end up having one meal on this trip. He liked his experiences quite a bit as well.

The amuses were somewhat different from normal, and did not consist of an item in a shotglass. Three delicate morcels appeared: (1) parmesan baked into a thin tartlet shape with the poignancy of a dab of goat's cheese and a bit of red pepper, (2) lightly flavored strands of crabmeat atop a small crunchy mesh of thin vermecelli-like strands (the composition of the base was somewhat unclear to me, as it could have been a vegetable base), and (3) a nice eggplant puree (containing hints of cumin) with the freshness of two peeled peashoot-colored beans, all in a small pastry-like tartlet that was a blackish color.

(1) Ruby Red Shrimp in Smoked Tomato Soup

I continue to like the Ruby Red shrimp at BH. They are generally cooked less than at other restaurants, just the way I prefer them. Their flesh had a texture very different (in a good way) from that of cooked-through shrimp -- more akin to that of raw amaebi at better sushi establishments. The tomato veloute was a orangish color, and its flavors were well-balanced. Mike later indicated he had utilized both stewed tomatoes and smoked tomatoes, and a dining room team member indicated that smoking was one of the ways to control the taste of late-season heirlooms that may not be as pristine as those available earlier in the season. There was a wholesomeness and creaminess to the veloute that appealed. An appealing use of thin juliennes of celeryroot, marinated and still crisp, underneath the ruby red shrimp.

This was served with a fragrant Italian white that I had previously sampled at BH -- Con Class 2000.

(2) Seared Toro with Green Gaspacho

Literally the most delicious degustation of any grade of toro I recall having in the US (including recently, with the Concord grapes, at BH). Toro of luscious fattiness and meatiness -- literally, I would have been entirely confident it was beef (and Kobe or some other wonderful variety) of luscious fattiness. My sibling noted that, unlike the typical searing of the outside only found at many restaurants in the US, the "inside" of the toro here had some limited elements of having been cooked that sort of "melted" or rendered luscious the fat within the very noticeable marbling of the toro. I relished the four thickish slices of toro, the texture of which, again, was gloriously meaty.

The saucing of the toro dish was interesting, as it was a chlorophyll-laden saucing that would normally be associated with fish, instead of the meatiness of the toro included in the dish. Underneath the toro slices were pickled sections of cucumber, and there were significant cucumber elements in the saucing. The wine, a 2001 Arneis, was nice and minerally, although it too would have normally been associated with a less meat-like fish. However, all of this worked.

(3) Smoked Trout and Seared Foie Gras, with Butternut Squash Puree, Seared Chestnuts and Pomegranate Sauce

This dish was a surprising combination -- surprising both in the sense of being a combination that included diverse ingredients and in the sense of being a relatively complex dish that I appreciated. Normally, I prefer a more streamlined composition style to a dish.

The smoked trout was delicious -- delicate and nicely textured, and also with a nice integrating theme of smokiness from the earlier amuse of eggplant puree (which had a certain smoky taste) to the smoked tomatoes in the veloute. I liked the meat-based stock utilized in the saucing, against the smokiness of the trout.

I would say that the rest of the dish was geared towards matching the foie gras, which was nicely prepared. The butternut squash puree was golden and delicious; the chestnuts good; and the individual "grain/large seeds" from the inside of pomegrantes slightly crunch (like sweet corn) and slightly sweet. A nice fruit taste to augment the foie.

This was servgd with a 1970 or 1977 Madeira that was older than my sibling.

(4) Four Story Hills, Milk-Fed Capon with Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts, Turnip and Chicken Jus

The first time I have tried capon in the US -- smooth, flavored. I explained the principles behind the effect intended for capons to my sibling. Not only were breast sections presented skinless, but there was some portion of the capon that had nice crispy skin attached. The small white turnip sections were beautifully crisp and had an air of impertinence (in the sense of freshness) to them. The brussel sprouts were again mini, and I liked them (despite generally not liking that vegetable). The mushrooms, chanterelles and black trumpets, were appealingly gelatinous (this is unusual for these mushrooms, but attractive). We enjoyed this dish with Zweigelt 2000 from Austria.

(5) Red Wine Soup with Apple Terrine and Fromage Blanc Sorbet

An attractive pre-dessert, with a nicely controlled fromage blanc taste and a moist, layered apple selection in a cube-shaped terrine.

(6) Rice Pudding with Candied Almonds and *Concord Grape* Sorbet :laugh:

Served in a martini glass. Vanilla-flavored rice pudding with nicely candied almonds. And Concord grape sensations to evoke the history of my last two splendid meals at Blue Hill. :laugh::laugh:

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a November 5, 2002 Food & Wine Best New Chef Event at Blue Hill

AmEx released the menu for the November 5, 2002 event at Blue Hill:

Hors d'oeuvres, by Dan and Mike

Creme de Gibier with Foie Gras, Chestnut and Macoon Apple, by Andrew Carmellini of Cafe Boulud

Seared Bay Scallops, Sea Beans, Blacck Radish, Smoked Eel, by Wylie Dufresne of WD50

Pepper Crusted Venison, by Scott Bryan of Veritas

Chocolate-Caramel Panna-Cotta with Espresso Foam and Caramel Popcorn, by Rocco DiSpirito of Union Pacific

Master of Wine presenting the wines will be Roger Bohmrich. Laurent Tourondel is not going to be in attendance. I like the game components from Carmellini and Bryan, although there is no indication of whether the venison is hunted.

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That price is outrageous price. No wonder Amex Platinum is pushing it.

You're right. Thats highway robbery. You could eat like a chazir for $375 per person at ADNY, GT, Daniel or even off Blue Hill's regular menu for that kind of money.

I'm assuming this is a charity event, because lord knows why else they would be charging that much.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Jason -- It is not a charity event. The price of AmEx events is generally at that level. I hope that the included wines are appropriate. Tips and tax are presumably included, so that the effective price is under $300 for the food and wine components. Also, the event is a special one for Blue Hill, so that, even if there were a premium, it would be justified for certain diners.

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Notwithstanding any particular diner's right to pay that amount of money for novelty, one can eat dinner at Blue Hill, Union Pacific and a third place for that much money. Nothing about what you have said about the dinner, or what you have posted, could lead anyone to conclude that the dinner is worth the price being charged. Especially when it is compared to the price of eating dinner elsewhere. I'd rather pay $500 and eat five dinners in those chef's own restaurants.

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Steve -- Well, the power to you if you can pay $100 with tax and tips at each of the five restaurants, which requires you to stick to a $75 food and wine bill before tax and tips. Also, what if it's not a choice and one would eat at the individual restaurants anyhow?

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(4) Four Story Hills, Milk-Fed Capon with Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts, Turnip and Chicken Jus

The first time I have tried capon in the US -- smooth, flavored.  I explained the principles behind the effect intended for capons to my sibling. ...

I forgot to mention that, after I described why capons are subjected to what they are, my sibling noted that there is a parallel of induced effects with respect to castrato of yesteryear and their singing voices.

http://www.usrf.org/news/010308-jenkins_lancet.html

Back to capons, Kerry Heffernan at Eleven Madison Park may be offering them from time to time as well (members should verify prior to reliance). :wink:

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I am all in favor of capons. Anyone wants to cook one at home might contact The French Butcher on Second Avenue between 22 and 23, who often has them (at a price). Good to know they are showing up on menus.

Cabby, does "chlorophyll-laden" sauce mean green sauce? They do like green sauces at Blue Hill, don't they?

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Cabby, does "chlorophyll-laden" sauce mean green sauce?  They do like green sauces at Blue Hill, don't they?

Wilfrid -- Yes, my intended reference was to a green sauce, in flavor as well as visual effects. There are some green sauces at BH, but not an undue amount, in my view. :wink: For example, I believe that green sauces or sauces involving green sauces tend to be utilized more at Bouley (where Dan admittedly used to work).

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The NYT reported yesterday, in a small section, that Dan is going to participate in a lecture hosted by the Earth Pledge Foundation on Grass Fed Meats. The event is in conjunction with Skate Creek Farm of NY, and is to be held 6:30-9:00 pm, Monday, November 18, 2002. Tickets are $30-35 (?), est. 725-6611 Ext. 225.

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