By David Porat
Morten Sohlberg and Min Ye are entrepreneurs who own several diversified food businesses. The newest addition to their collection is Blenheim Restaurant. The restaurant is in the same location as the Smorgas Chef restaurant which still exists in other locations and is part of their family. The inspiration for the central west village location is the farm that Morten, who is originally from Norway and his wife Min, purchased and restored. Blenheim Restaurant incorporates an upstate country farm feel with food from the farm into a handsome urban restaurant.
Farm-to-Table is a very popular theme in restaurants, whether it is chefs shopping at the Union Square market or CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) allotments or farm stand shopping. David Rockefeller helped create Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an acclaimed destination in Northern Westchester and Great Performances, a significant New York caterer connected itself to Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, New York. Blenheim Farm is in Blenheim New York, a bit off the beaten track and slightly more than 100 miles from the City. The farm is a working farm that is artfully promoted on their website BlenheimFarm.com and in addition is used by Blenheim Hospitality for destination farm weddings and celebrations.
Having dinner on a quiet Sunday night, we ordered off the a la carte menu and also arrived just in time to be seated before 6pm and order the special $38 prix fixe. I am happy to report that the food and presentation were all very refined and satisfying. The special, which seems to come off the regular menu, is a salad or soup, fish or chicken and ice cream for desert. The fish which was sea bass with fregula, a small round Sardinian pasta, green olive and piquillo pepper was beautifully composed on the plate. The fish was moist and delicate with the accompaniments marrying well. We traded up on the dessert—more about that later. We had the King Salmon Tartare which could not have looked more attractive or tasted better, a delicate sesame and lemon flavored mince of very fresh fish with house made lavosh crackers. The Roasted Duck included an orbit of tasty accompaniments and perfectly cooked duck breast that was rich in flavor and gentle on texture. For dessert we chose the Moonlight Sampler, served in a burled wood bowl into which Morten had installed an LED penlight. The light in the center highlighted the spun sugar maple cotton candy resembling the moon behind the clouds. In addition, some poached pear, chocolate cremeux and panna cotta came with it—all crafted well and a fun way to finish an artful meal.
The menu is not inexpensive but having a “career server” sincerely explain the food, within this beautifully outfitted and detailed intimate restaurant, in a precious location does not come cheap. The fact that it is a farm-to-table restaurant and the food tastes as good as it does can especially satisfy an urbanite with a smorgasbord of senses.
283 W. 12th St. New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-7073 | blenheimhill.com