Blue Hill at Stone Barns. One of the restaurants I have most wanted to visit. Even before Chef’s Table came out with the most delectable documentary featuring Dan Barber’s iconic, farm-to-table haven, I have wanted to experience a meal here.
It is usually very difficult to surprise me. And yet, recently, my now fiancé surprised me twice in one weekend. The first surprise is easy to guess. The other was a reservation at Blue Hill at Stone Barns for the following afternoon.
The experience? Phenomenal. And I mean that literally. As in, I am still not quite sure how something so pure, so inspired and so tasty can exist. Located in Tarrytown, the farm itself contains rolling acres of farmland and livestock. The Barbers took it over in 2004, but it has been active for many before that as a barn and stable.
When you arrive, you are directed to the main entrance, which is not unlike entering a very small village. A courtyard opens up and a café sits immediately to the right. Continuing on to the right, you enter the restaurant. A tranquility meets you, a serenity of beige and brown colors accented by fresh flowers and other plant life. The welcome staff is attentive and perfectly poised.
The meal itself was 4.5 hours long – that may seem excessive to some, but for me, that is my heaven. In fact, when a meal is over, I usually get a little sad. Blue Hill was made aware that we were celebrating something special, but to be honest, they treat everyone as though they are celebrating something special – and as they should.
We started with some Charles Heinbeck Champagne and dove into their famous ‘foraging’ course. This involves small bites of freshly picked vegetables – think radishes on spikes, sweet lettuce heads and cabbage sushi.
We then progressively worked our way through 20 odd courses and this included a venue change to their mushroom shed, bakery and the kitchen, where we met Dan Barber himself – I was star struck.
Being such a stickler for service and hospitality, I don’t think I would have changed a thing about the service at Blue Hill. The way they present the food, simply and to the point while paying good attention to the moments before and after – it is truly a performance to behold.
It’s hard to pick a favorite course, though I did love their mushroom medley and house ricotta cheese. As stimulating as the meal was, I already can’t wait to go back.
Here is a visual representation, just in case you are interested in working up an appetite.