August 1, 2021

Driving up to Blue Hill Farm tells you that you are in for quite an experience. Gardens, walking trails, landscaping - it all whispers top notch. Because nothing at Blue Hill screams. Its serenity is perhaps its greatest quality.

We visited for their Guest Chef Series, with Adrienne Cheatham at the helm, an 8-year veteran of le Bernadin and former executive chef at Red Rooster in Harlem.

This combination should provide vegetables at their peak (Blue Hill) and fish cooked to perfection (le Bernadin). On this mark, it delivered in full. Other dishes missed and a substantive service errors belied the 2 Michelin star status.

But some memorable dishes to be sure. Just check out the okra.

Three sisters Hush puppies Tetra squash (stems and leave) Crispy hoppenjohns with sea island peas
First of the summer tomatoes, epazote (Mexican tea plant), cilantro, buttermilk dressing (which was SO good!). Truly a Blue Hill dish showcasing the finest vegetables from their gardens. (Watch the Netflix Chef's Table episode on this place to learn more.)
North Carolina shrimp, nixtemolized rebellion corn grits, tomato reduction jus. Showed off the Chef's skills from 8 years at Le Bernadin (a place that cooks fish to literal perfection). The star was that jus though. It tasted just like a veal jus. I have no idea how they got such rich umami flavor without a beef stock base.
Okra, okra seeds, sorghum (looks like popcorn), tabboulle, hummus made from rice seeds. Yum. Again... Blue Hill dish. Had no idea vegetables could be THIS perfect and delicious.
German eikhorns, pork/chicken sausage, cornbread, egg salad, cabbage, carrot mustard, whole wheat biscuit presented in a cast iron pan (homage to a cornbread pan). This was a miss. Nice concept but nothing in there (aside from the cabbage) was memorable.
Maine lobster, andoille sausage, baby corn, andoille sauce. Again, Le Bernadin. That lobster was just perfect. Great dish, balancing the savory sausage with bright, sweet vegetables and the briny, salty lobster.
Pork loin in mushroom gravy, pork belly, fermented collard greens, chow chow (tomato relish). Didn't understand this dish at all. 4 separate components that didn't really come together. All fine on their own (only fine), but I was confused. The pork belly alone should have blown me away. But it didn't.
Sweet tea granita (Ceylon), gooseberry jam, mint powder
Peach cobbler, corn crumb, buttermilk ice cream. Oddly NOT sweet.
Nepalese Broken Cloud tea. Huge service miss here. I asked if they had white tea and the waiter said he would look. A different waiter brought me this tea. I said "What did we end up with?" This 2nd waiter looked flummoxed and said "Um...I don't know. He just asked me to bring this to you." For a 2 Michelin star place, this is fairly unacceptable.
These cards were on the table (see next photo...)
Each one outlined how (and where) a foreign culture had influenced southern cuisine.
They encourage you to walk through the vegetable gardens after the meal. A large percentage of what we ate came from right here.


What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.

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Replying to Steven Smith