My James Beard Case for Dan Barber: A Food Porn Essay

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I have to admit that I am totally rooting for Dan Barber to take home Outstanding Chef at the James Beard Awards. Am I completely and shamelessly biased because this is Serious Eats: New York? Of course I am. Is it fair (or even useful) to choose sides when you haven't eaten at all the nominated chefs' restaurants? Probably not. But fairness is a moot issue when you are still basking in the glow of a brilliant meal by a chef nominated for one of the biggest prizes in our industry.

The meal I had at Blue Hill last Thursday night is all the reason I need to be Barber's biggest cheerleader on Sunday night.

Does any of this even matter? Of course not. It's just an excuse for us to shower you with Blue Hill food porn.

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Turnip Amuse: I'm a sucker for the raw veggie amuse. What a perfect way to start a meal at a restaurant that takes it cue from the Greenmarket.

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Maine Crabmeat: Is there a better use for fennel than topping it with rich crabmeat and placing it in a sweet and sour tapioca filled broth made from "First of the Season" rhubarb? My wife told me the weeping I did while eating this dish, may have been bothering the people eating next to us.

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Creamy Farro: There was no mention of pork belly and cracklin's in the menu description of this dish, but I certainly wasn't disappointed to see it. The barleylike farro was studded with Stone Barns' pig ear, braised snout, and pancetta, happily relinquishing its top billing on the menu.

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Potato and Green Garlic Ravioli: How do you improve upon a perfect garlic flavored stuffed pasta? Top it with boneless roasted chicken wings, of course. I will dream of those crisp chicken-fat-coated wings for years to come. Do you think Barber caters Super Bowl parties?

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Fiddlehead Ferns: Did I mention I was a sucker for simply prepared fresh veggies? Cool and crisp, they provided the perfect foil for the pork and chicken fat.

Go Dan!

Blue Hill

75 Washington Place, New York NY 10011; (nr. Sixth Avenue; map)
212-539-1776
bluehillnyc.com

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