Blue Hill Restaurant
75 Washington Place between MacDougal and Sixth Avenue
about $150 for two, with two drinks, without tip
To welcome autumn, Nabi and I had dinner at Blue Hill in the West Village last night. It’s probably the first restaurant in the city that attempts to be an answer to Chez Panisse with all their locally-grown produce offered on the menu. Everything we ate reminded me of that day in Berkeley, but in a more intimate outdoor summer night setting.
So intimate in fact, that a gargantuan roach decided to drop on my bread plate in the middle of my admiring the Berkshire pork. Our very good-looking waiter happened to be right next to me attending to the other table when it happened and I managed to grab and dig my fingernails on his arm to muffle my scream. I stood up and walked away without knocking our wine glasses. Nabi said she watched the waiter gracefully, and quickly, cover the plate with a napkin and walk away with it.
The manager ran to our table after hearing about the incident. He was very thankful that I did not make a scene to scare the rest of the restaurant. They comped everything from our main course on: the soufflÃ©, an extra glass of white for Nabi, two glasses of dessert wine and a pot of mint tea. I think they should have comped the entire meal, but maybe the roach wasn’t large enough.
Sans the Kafka episode, the food was refreshingly divine. We started with the different kinds of tomatoes in watermelon, cucumber and basil jus. We also split the Maine crab salad. Nabi had the wild striped bass which was cooked perfectly. My pork came from a very happy pig indeed, its own juice sweet without help from any kind of sauce.
After an entire conversation that involved mastication and other big vocabulary words not roach-related, we walked out of the restaurant happy and content. Blue Hill remains as one of my favorite New York City restaurants, but I have to subtract two stars because of the roach. I like organic, but not that organic.
I have replicated the delicious watermelon and tomato salad many times