Luc: Within moments of sitting down, the servers came out with a selection of vegetables, mounted on something that you would not find any type of food on. it was a solid block of wood with nails poking out of it. They put the vegetables in the middle of the nails and made it look like a shish kabob.
After they came out with the vegetables, they gave us a menu, but the menu. menu not usually find in a restaurant, more like you would find in a grocery store — but not an ordinary grocery store. The restaurant cooks with fresh and local foods and ingredients that they grow either on site in their fields and greenhouses or buy from local farmers. The menu had listed every food available in the kitchen. The server came over to us and asked what you’d prefer, what you disliked. The rest was up to the kitchen to make each meal different for every table.
The icing on the cake (not that we actually had cake), was going into the kitchen and meet Chef Dan Barber.
Afterwards we went to the farm and saw the sheep, the chickens and the great greenhouses — even saw the same little vegetables, like icicle radishes, we had.
Christine: Blue Hill at Stone Barns is one of those transporting experiences. Not just that it’s an hour drive out of Manhattan to the rolling hills alongside the mighty Hudson. Arriving at the compound also includes stepping back in time to a day when farms like this one populated the region. The beauty of the dining room and impeccable service are present-day standard-bearers as are the innovative approaches to creating a memorable experience.
The food is truly great. The novelty of how a meal is composed is part of the specialness. As Luc describes above, the menu does read more like the line up of the finest and freshest ingredients stocked by a gourmet grocer. With that as a guide — for both table and kitchen — the dishes begin to arrive and arrive and arrive, a near endless parade. Surprise and delight, I kept saying over and over. First those little vegetables on the bed of nails, followed by luscious little beet burgers, cooked-to-perfection arctic char that even Luc liked as he was not previously a fan of that fish.
They call the approach “farmer’s feast,” multi-course tastings around the day’s harvest. What a day it was.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hill, NY 10591