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