Some say Hancock, New York is part of the headwaters of the Delaware River, some say it’s part of the Catskill Mountains, but to me Hancock, New York is the home of the Bluestone Grill. A fellow piece of cutlery dragged Fork to this hidden gem years ago and Fork has been faithfully returning and is usually very happy and impressed with Bluestone.
Bluestone is located inside a beautifully converted wood frame house on West Main Street. As you walk into the large foyer there are wonderful splashes of color and great artwork. Owners Susan Alper and Lauren Spiesman kept the integrity of the original architecture. Instead of one large dining room, there are pockets of rooms for an intimate dining experience on both the first and second floor. You feel as though you are eating in a home or in an exclusive club. There is also a bit of seating on the porch for those who enjoy al fresco dining. The main room of the house serves as the bar area. The bar is warm and inviting, the wine list varied, the drinks large and plentiful. They even have ecofriendly spirits on their menu.
The only drawback to the small dining rooms is the din. Even with a few tables full, it can be very noisy. It also keeps the staff hopping and occasionally not as attentive as they should be having to keep track of not only tables but rooms as well.
Fork had the pleasure of dining at Bluestone twice in one weekend. We only have pictures from one night as there was a camera mishap on Night 1.
Many of the same dishes were had on Night 1 and Night 2 so Fork is going to just mush them together – as a Fork has a tendency to do – for one review.
On Night 1 we all shared the Lamb Sliders on Pita with Tomato Mint Chutney, homemade tzatziki on the side. These were fabulous. Teeny, tiny, but the lamb was so well seasoned that it had HUGE favor! A little taste of Greece on your plate. I wish I had a photo of these little beauties. You would want to have a plateful yourself!
On both nights – as well as every time I have this wonderful adventure – we had the Insanely Good Crispy Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This is probably the best cornbread I have ever had outside Fork or Spoon’s own kitchens. First, the cornbread has a nice tooth. It is slightly sweet. The cornbread is then cut into triangles and grilled. Really, is there anything better than grilled cornbread? In this case, yes, grilled cornbread with honey butter. Night 1 was in a basket with a tiny ramekin of honey butter. Night 2 was on a plate with honey drizzled all around and the tiny ramekin of honey butter.
Demitasse Spoon and Butter Pick ordered the Crispy Crab Filled WonTons. They looked beautiful. Golden brown. Perfectly crunchy. And from all the oooohing and aahhhing I imagine they were quite tasty.
Demitasse Spoon also ordered the Thai Spicy Shrimp Salad with Avocado. What a beautiful presentation. Very small portion. Very small shrimp. But there wasn’t a t hing left on the plate, so I imagine it was quite good!
Fork cannot eat the crab or the shrimp so we have to rely on Demitasse Spoon and Butter Pick’s opinions that these were yummy!
Simply due to intrigue, Fork had to order the Deep Fried Hamburger Bits with Spicy Ketchup. I mean, anything with the words deep fried in it has to be good. Doesn’t it? I asked the server how this was prepared and she looked at me as though I were dim….’little burgers, fried’ was the reply. Fork knew this couldn’t possibly be right, so this had to be ordered, if for no other reason than to satisfy curiosity! Okay, so they are little burgers – BUT they are dipped in batter and then fried! I had thought fried oreos or twinkies were the ultimate, but fried little hamburgers! The spicy ketchup was the perfect complement to the burgers and fried dough. Fork’s only suggestion is to spice up the little burgers a little. They could have had a little more flavor, but these were really good.
On Night 1, Fork had the Marinated Steak Tips. I wish I hadn’t. They were supposedly marinated in a coffee BBQ sauce. Fork didn’t taste coffee. Fork didn’t taste BBQ sauce. Fork tasted salt. Fork tasted ridiculously tough steak tips. The corn pudding was excellent though.
Now, on the other hand, on Night 2, Fork had the Duck Tostada. I had seen this on the menu the night before and talked myself out of ordering it. I wish I hadn’t. I would have had it twice. If it’s still ont he menu the next time I go I will order it again! It was AMAZING! Very tender duck nestled between crisp tostadas, mole sauce, jack cheese, salsa, all stacked into one amazing dish. What a party to the taste buds. Even while writing this Fork is smiling and wishing I could have this dish right NOW! The tostada was served with a generous portion of rice and refried beans (which were also very tasty), but this large entree could have stood alone. Kudos on this dish!
Demitasse Spoon ordered the Grilled 14 oz. Rib Eye Steak. This came served with fries and corn pudding. Fries AND corn pudding. I know someplace in the deep recesses of someone’s mind one of the sides is considered a vegetable, but not by anyone this piece of cutlery knows! Demitasse Spoon had asked our server to sub the fries for onion rings – by the way, the onion rings at Bluestone are fantastic! They seem to really know their way around a fryer! They didn’t make the sub AND charged for the onion rings AND there were only 4 or 5 onion rings in the $4 basket.
Butter Pick ordered the Seared Sea Scallops with Corn Cake, Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette over Arugula. The muscle wasn’t removed from the scallop and the scallops were gritty. The corncake was fabulous, so was the salad and pancetta dressing. And actually, if you get around the muscle and the grit, the scallops were well seared and seasoned and were a perfect pairing with the corncake and salad. The corncakes are made from fresh corn and cooked the same way a thick pancake or hocake is – on the griddle. Crispy on the outside and creamy and delicate on the inside.
On Night 2, we were too full for dessert. But, on Night 1 we shared two desserts – one of which I have had on a previous visits and love – Warm Chocolate Madeleines – baked to order – served with chocolate caramel dipping sauce and whipped cream (at least Fork thinks it was whipped cream. Fork doesn’ t like whipped cream and didn’t taste it). These little cookies pack a powerful chocolate taste. They are warm and dense and light and fluffy all at the same time. I dipping sauce is good, but could use a little ooomphhhh – perhaps a little fleur de sel.
The other dessert we tried was the Chocolate Bread Pudding. Now I am having a problem with this dessert. It was cold. Not cool. Not room temperature. This was right out of the refrigerator, stone cold. Total turn-off. Didn’t matter how good it was. Didn’t matter how beautifully presented. It was COLD! Who ever heard of COLD bread pudding? Like a congealed chocolate lump of…well, I just can’t go there!
The iced tea is bottomless and freshly brewed. It is served in very large glasses and refilled before you finish the last drop. Always a good thing!
The food was okay Night 1, but great Night 2. Sadly, Bluestone has a tendency to be very inconsistent. Nothing served or presented the same way twice. Service not the same twice. The food will be okay one night and great the next. The service great one night and okay the next. With New York City prices Bluestone should really try to make the dishes coming out of the kitchen consistently great.
One of the few downsides – and few consistencies of Bluestone – is the constant dour expression on Susan’s face. Susan, smile, we promise your face won’t crack and we will love you and your wonderful restaurant all the more for it!