The highlight of Sunday was our special dinner at Blue Hill Stone Barns. I wish I could have taken pictures as it’s hard to describe just how lovely and pleasant the dining room is. The walls are cream colored with wood accent and the ceilings must be at least 12-15 feet high. The floors are a very rustic style dark wood and in the center of the room is an expansive dark wood console table with a large gathering of winter flowers and branches.
The menu had many differences from our last visit there in late summer but was every bit as tempting. We decided to do the three course tasting and picked out a bottle of Riesling, the exact name of which escapes me, that turned out to be fantastic. The amuse-bouche was a delicate cauliflower soup with a dab of basil oil floating on the top. Creamy and light, it was perfectly matched with the basil oil. Due to some confusion by the many wait people helping us, we were treated to this soup twice.
Course 1: mushroom tartlette. The bottom layer was made up of fingerling potatoes, followed by a mixture of walnuts and local wild mushrooms which was topped by larger slices of wild mushrooms. On the side was a generous helping of sauteed wild mushrooms and the slightest drizzle of basil oil and mushroom juices. Sumptuous without being too rich, it was a wonderful second-start and the wine complimented it quite well.
Course 2: I had the lightly smoked whitefish with baby greens, wild mushrooms and roasted squash seeds. Jeremie had the cavatelli. I had a little taste of Jeremie’s cavatelli and it was really good, but I thought my salad was fantastic. If I hadn’t overheard the couple dining next to us rave about this dish, there’s no way I would have ordered it but it was wonderful. The fish was velvet-smooth with just a hint of it’s smoky preparation and the richness was balanced with the sweet-salty dressing and the light salad greens. The mushrooms were not as much of a feature in this dish but their texture and earthy flavor brought an interesting dimension into this dish. I love roasted seeds of any kind and these squash seeds did not disappoint. They were perfectly roasted and seasoned with a variety of spices and just the right amount of salt. Crunchy, salty and delicious, they added a nice bite of spice to the salad greens.
I’m getting hungry just writing all of this.
Course 3: Jeremie had lamb but I can’t remember any details about the preparation. I had breast of duck, sliced and perfectly moist, served over sauteed thinly sliced carrots and parsnips in a sweet reduction of wine and pan juices (I’m guessing) with spatzle on the side. I had a similar dish last time we dined here and enjoyed this permutation just as much. Secretly, I’m a sucker for spatzle.
We were pretty full and quite content at this point, but the dessert menu proved too tempting for us to resist. I opted for a nice pot of darjeeling tea and Jeremie chose the chocolate bread pudding with banana ice cream. Now, if I were assigning names I’m not sure that I’d have called this dessert bread pudding, but a rose by any other name would have tasted just as fantastic. There was a thin, crunchy top to the bread pudding portion, almost like the top on creme brulee. The banana ice cream was perched on top and was everything that banana ice cream should be. I definitely need to try making banana ice cream. I think it would go really well with the walnut cake. Anyways, the bread-cake part was rich, moist and chocolatey but it was the center of the dessert that I enjoyed the most – delicious, thin caramel sauce with whole warm, salty peanuts. The combination of the sweet and salty and the otherworldly flavor of good chocolate was just incredible. I’ll have good dreams about the caramel and the peanuts for days to come.
I wonder if we can go there for just dessert? Nah. I couldn’t resist the rest of it.