Restaurant Review: Bloom (3 ½ stars)

Bloom in Hastings-on-Hudson



Love in Bloom

 

Organic cuisine blossoms in Hastings

 

 

 

 

We had a crush on our waitress, Nora, at Bloom restaurant. It wasn’t just her pretty dimples, or the way she smiled. Nora clearly loves what she does, believes in the “organic” mission of the restaurant, and wants everyone who visits to love it with her.

 

And we did, partly because of the vibe: downtown funk meets Mother Nature. The über-hip décor uses environmentally sensitive materials, and the creative touches, like the recycled glass mosaic bar and the woven recycled seat-belt bar stools, lend visual interest and whimsy to the setting. The service was warm, earnest, and well meaning, if a tad slow. But the food really clinched it for us.

 

If you’ve forgotten why you used to love the tuna tartare appetizer that graces so many menus, Bloom’s will remind you. Here is a fairly classic and well-executed version that shows you why you fell for it in the first place. The chef uses enough restraint when dressing the large dices of yellowfin with the usual tamari and ginger that you can actually taste the sweet fish. A roasted-garlic Caesar salad was similarly dressed with temperance; bite-size romaine lettuce stayed crisp and clean-tasting with just a sheer veil of the lemony garlic dressing. Best of all: two lovely white anchovies criss-crossed on top. Our one disappointment: a shaved fennel-and-orange salad, in which the sweet mango dressing hogged center stage.

 

No matter, because after a rather long pause between courses, we were served hearty, rich, whole-wheat pappardelle with earthy, chewy shiitakes; tangy Humboldt Fog goat cheese; and warm cherry tomatoes. A light dressing of olive oil with fresh herbs added a bright note to this meatless dish well worth returning for.

 

Or, for those who swing the other way, there is the Fossil Farms grilled bison steak. This is a real meat-eater’s steak, with that unmistakably robust red-meat flavor, the kind that makes you speak a couple octaves deeper and swagger. But for all its big macho flavor, the steak was tender and a great match for the mashed potatoes sprinkled with black truffles.

 

The name “French Spiced Chicken” is either an odd play on words or a misuse of a classic culinary term. This was, in fact, a “frenched” breast—a boneless breast with the wingtip left on and cleaned of all meat—and the flavors of, perhaps, Tunisia. We loved the warm, exotic aroma of cumin, allspice, and smoked paprika, which gave depth to the mint-hazelnut pistou coating on the chicken. The accompanying goat-cheese potato gratin was worthy of deification, but a red bell pepper salad seemed like an afterthought.

 

When the Thai coconut curry day boat scallops arrived, the coconut foam had deflated and all but disappeared. No problem—foams rarely add much, anyway. And this dish didn’t need any help: it was simply outstanding. Three jumbo scallops (and three shrimp, though the real glory of the dish was the scallops) with a perfect sear were presented in a pool of slightly sweet, light coconut broth studded with bits of kabocha squash.

 

Desserts didn’t live up to the rest of our meal. Yes, they were a hard act to follow, but the fall-off was significant. A raspberry tart with a crispy thin crust was more about the custard and less about the fruit, and was topped with an unforgivably icy vanilla ice cream. And as much as we love knock-your-socks-off intense chocolate, the flourless cake went too far, although we did scarf down every drop of the red-wine cherry compote on the plate.

 

If Bloom were right around the corner from us, we’d surely be regulars, and not just because of Nora. The food here is more than politically correct—it’s really good.

 

BLOOM          ★★★ ½

19 Main St, Hastings-on-Hudson

(914) 478-3250

www.bloom-restaurant.com

 

Hours:

Hours: Mon, Wed, and Thurs 6-9 pm; Fri and Sat 6-10 pm; Sun 5-9 pm plus brunch 11-3 pm

 

Prices:

Appetizers: $8-$12; entrées: $21-$34; desserts: $10

  ★★★★—Outstanding      ★★★—Very Good 
   ★★—Good                       ★—Fair