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Blue Hill Washington Square

Dinner at Blue Hill Washington Square tonight.

Chef Dan Barber opened Blue Hill in April 2000 to notable acclaim. The restaurant was rated two stars (a travesty in my opinion) by William Grimes in 2000 and recently received a three-star rating by Frank Bruni in early August. To my mind, Blue Hill has always served three-star worthy food, so the upgrade is long overdue.

The current chef de cuisine is Juan Cuevas, formerly of Alain Ducasse New York (Essex House) and the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. Prior to joining BHWS, Chef Cuevas was the sous chef at Lespinasse (click here for a review by Ruth Reichl in March 1994).

Left to right: fennel tempura, manchego financier, crispy ravioli

Squash soup

Hitanchino Nest Ginger Beer, Ikabari, Japan

Horseradish, potato granita, smoked shitaake mushrooms from Stone Barns

Spanish sardine, tomato confit, tarragon mint, cured meat

Roasted fennel, frisee salad, pistachio, shallots

2004 Quivara Sauvignon Blanc, Fig Tree Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, California

Celery root ragout, lobster

Slow poached cod, olive oil-potato emulsion, mushrooms, chives

Slow-cooked egg, matsutake mushrooms, sea urchin, matsutake broth

Capon two ways: stuffed with greens and poached, with parsnip puree

Yogurt foam, yogurt sorbet, granola

Chocolate bread pudding, toffee, caramel ice cream

Marshmallows rolled in coconut

Mint tea

Out of 10? A strong upper-range 8 to borderline 9.

Let’s face it: Blue Hill isn’t for everyone. The name of the game is “subtlety”; the ingredients speak of themselves. If you prefer strong flavors and intricate components on your plate, go elsewhere. The cuisine is eclectic American, market driven and seasonal to the extreme. Most of the ingredients are grown and shipped directly from Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a working four-season farm, educational center and restaurant.

Chef Barber is to be commended for creating the New York version of Chez Panisse. It is, without a doubt, one of the true superstars of the NYC restaurant scene.

Blue Hill (Washington Square) is located at 75 Washington Place (Avenue of the Americas) in the West Village.

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In the Pantry

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