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Apr 13

Bluestem

Oh, Bluestem.  I don’t even know where to start.  Bluestem is to a foodie as Toys R Us is to a child. From the time I booked the reservation for my Mom and I to go for my birthday I thought about it constantly. My eyes lit up when I thought about it and I’d have been CRUSHED if I found out it wasn’t going to happen.  And when the day finally came I could barely contain myself.  It’s SOOOO good!  As my 94 year old Grandma said…you didn’t go out to eat…you dined out.  Yes, Grandma, we dined out!  Bluestem is not a dinner out…it’s a full on dining experience…plan on at least 2 hours…at least.  Ok…I’ll stop babbling.  Here’s Grandma and I a few years ago 🙂

For those that have never been, Bluestem is a fine dining restaurant on Westport Road.  The restaurant was renovated a couple years ago and is now very modern with an open floor plan and open kitchen.  Here are some pre-dinner pics:

We thought it was SO cool that you could see our reflection in the picture!

You have three menu options at Bluestem:  3 courses, 5 courses, or 10 courses.  That’s right…this is not a place you go to share a couple appetizers or have a light dinner!  You are going to DINE people! You can click here to take a look at the menu.  It changes by season but the course numbers and prices are always the same.  You also have the option to add wine pairings with your courses.  We opted against that this time because we were headed to a show afterwards and needed to stay awake. However…we did order a bottle of Pinot to split throughout our meal 🙂 Man…this is making me thirsty.  Hold tight while I go get a glass of wine…

Ah…much better.  Ok, so you pick your number of courses BUT you will get the same amount of food whether you pick 3, 5 or 10 courses.  Did you hear that?!?!  The person that orders 3 courses gets the same amount of food as the person that orders 10 courses!  Am I blowing your mind?  So as the courses get higher, the portions get smaller.  See how that works?  So the 10 course dinner is basically just a sampling of the chefs favorite 10 dishes.  They also recommend that the whole table order the same amount of courses so the service happens at the same time.

This was only my second time at Bluestem.  Mom and I went about 5 years ago and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since!  Both times we’ve opted for the 5 courses.  We cannot understand why you wouldn’t pay the extra $10 to get 2 more courses.  Which takes me to another point.  If you are a tightwad (you know who you are) STAY AWAY!  This place is not for you.  If you are going to be dining for 3 hours and all you can think about is the money you’re spending it’s obviously not worth it. Do not take less than $150. It’s like when you take $150 to a casino…you don’t plan to walk out with any of it (or you shouldn’t) but you still enjoy spending it!  So when you have an extra $150…and you love food…then find another friend with an extra $150 (or call me) and go to Bluestem and DINE YOUR PANTS OFF!

Ok, ok…are you ready to see the pictures of the FOOD?!?!

Here we go!!!

So we got over excited when this tray came out first and forgot to take a picture until it was half devoured.  The chef sends out these nibbles just to get your taste buds working.  It’s sort of like warming up before the big game.  So..see that bowl of raw risotto?  That’s not edible.  It was just the presentation for the crunchy creamy cheesy fried risotto balls that we had already inhaled when I remembered to take this picture.  The green shooters are fresh asparagus soup and the little cakes are maple corn cakes!  So…they obviously have our attention now 🙂

On to the courses!  We ordered a couple of the same courses but mostly different so I’m just going to post the pictures with descriptions and a short review!

Mom had the spring pea soup for her first course.

Description: spring pea soup, orange, crème fraiche, pink peppercorn, blossoms

Review:  How in the hell does the chef come up with this?!?!  So all the accoutrements came out in the white bowl and already looked beautiful then the server poured the warm pea soup over it all.  Awesome presentation and as Mom said “It tastes just like you’re eating fresh peas out of the garden!”

I started with the foie gras.

Description: la belle farms foie gras torchon, pistachio, black winter truffle, strawberry, brioche

Reviews: HEAVEN. SINFUL HEAVEN.

Mom and I both had the braised rabbit for course #2.

Description: house made ricotta cappaletti, braised rabbit, parmesan, parsley

Review: Mom couldn’t get past the cute little bunny aspect so she only tried a bite of the meat and had to quit.  But we both loved the pasta and sauce…homemade pasta stuffed with ricotta…how can you go wrong?!  I loved the rabbit…braised perfectly, very juicy and tender!  Bye bye bunny.

We both got the crab for our third course.

Description:  Alaskan king crab, country wheat, heirloom carrots, dry vermouth, pickled onions

Review:  This plate also was presented without the sauce.  It just had the crab and vegetables…which looked delicious!  Then the server poured the parmesan cream sauce over it.  So, I love a good parmesan cream sauce but Mom and I both thought it was maybe too much sauce for these light ingredients.  It sort of overpowered everything.  Don’t get me wrong, I cleaned my plate, but I could have done with half the sauce.

Mom got Artic Char for her fourth course.

Description: artic char, pearl onion, English peas, bacon, crème fraiche, grilled bread

Review:  We learned that artic char is sort of the love child of trout and salmon.  It was delicious!!!  The whole dish came together very well and was beautiful as well as tasty!

I got the ribeye for course #4.

Description: black angus ribeye, hen egg emulsion, green asparagus, radish, potato, veal jus

Review:  Hello delicious, perfectly cooked, red meat!!  Melt. In. Your. Mouth. OMG. So good. Order it.

Mom got the chocolate mousse for dessert.

Description: milk chocolate mousse tart, mint ice cream, malted meringue, cocoa nib

Review:  I’m not a chocolate fan but I had a bite and it was definitely good.  Mom is a chocolate fan and she was rendered sort of speechless…her eyes might have rolled back in her head a couple times as she enjoyed every bite 🙂  Pictured with her hot tea.

I chose the olive oil cake for dessert.

Description:  spring pea ice cream, strawberry, green strawberry, olive oil cake, pistachio

Review:  I hate the word moist but OMG this cake was MOIST!  So so good.  The perfect ending to a perfect meal. Pictured with coffee 🙂

So there you have it!  Our dining experience.  There are a couple more noteworthy things. Do you think you use the same fork for your ribeye that you use for your crab?  HECK NO! Between every course, people come and clear your whole place setting then bring in a new one that is designed around your next course. You’re like royalty!  Also, at the beginning of our meal our server asked if there was a special occasion.  Mom told her it was my birthday.  We were starting to think we were going to be late for our show so when the check came we paid with cash and hit the road.  BUT…before we got to the door our server chased us down with a couple of sparkling berry wine “shots” with a lit candle in them!!!  I think she thought we’d leave a card to pay so we’d still be at the table.  We felt bad but were glad she caught us!  The bubblies were delish and just made the experience that much more special.

Oh man…this was the funnest (I use that word) restaurant review I’ve written so far in my blogging career.  I’m so passionate about experiencing this kind of dining.  Everyone should do it at least once.  Also…for you tightwads…I’ve heard that if you go to bluestem for happy hour or brunch you get the same quality of food but it’s served a la carte rather than in courses and the prices are very reasonable.  I’ll be checking that out very soon!

Please feel free to comment below about your Bluestem experience!

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