“An Experience That Will Change your Entire Approach to Dining…. Forever.”
Word of Caution: You will become a restaurant snob after attending Blue Hill at Stone Barns! Be prepared.
During our stay in the Hudson Valley from 2012-2013, we took full advantage of the incredible artisanal bounty produced in our backyard. Blue Hill at Stone Barns was a once in a lifetime experience which truly reshaped our entire vision for what food is or could possibly become to us.
Self-described foodies, we both came into the experience with deep knowledge of farming, growing and organic food, but what we didn’t know is how presentation and flavor could be released with the tiniest bit of added ingredients.
For our Baby Moon (last ditch effort before Baby comes) at 36 weeks we headed off to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We took the day at the farm to relax and enjoy each other in the sun. We walked the grounds, graced the chicken coop (which is actually like a huge circus tent) and had lunch at the Grain House. We even went for a hike at the state park down the road afterward to make space for dinner.
We had a pretty early seating at 5:30pm, and are so glad that we did. We got there at 5pm and had a cocktail at the bar… talking to the mixologist about the local bitters and other treats they had behind the counter. They have an entirely separate menu of non-alcoholic beverages and it was a perfect experience for me. I was able to get an equally delicious pairing menu with our meal too, that allowed me to not overdue it with alcohol.
When we were seated the waiter came to the table and asked our food preferences. They were very careful to mentally note and repeat all of my food allergies and assured me it was not a problem on any level. We wanted Kurt to still have a great experience, so we asked for them to keep his menu the same. Typically in these scenarios they aim to give both guests the same menu, so it was really special that they accommodated our request. Kurt received gluten, dairy, meat and shellfish and they focused on fish, eggs, vegetarian and gluten free for me. Their gluten free bread is truly exceptional… some of the best I have had.
Our only regret is that we didn’t go when I was less pregnant! Our 4-hour dinner was a robust and filling feat. 3 times in the middle of eating I had to get up and take a 30 minute walk to just be able to fit more food in there. But while we were walking around the terrace at night, the kitchen was lit and in full effect for us to watch on. There must have been 20+ chefs in there, each crafting a deliciously amazing dish and experience for the 100+ guests in the dining room. It was so tremendous to watch and see how they worked together.
Dan Barber’s episode trailer on Netflix.com. Check out the write up on Eater.com to get a better sense of just how revolutionary this chef is to our culture and our future food economy.
The creations, the presentation and the way the staff handled us as guests was what made this experience every bit worth the $500+ for the two of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it as if we had gone to a dinner and a show (which for the record would have been roughly the same cost). It is an experience that stuck with us and one that we intend to return to on our next extended stay to the Hudson Valley.
The mixed reviews we have heard and read are from people who are not interested in ingredients or knowledgeable about taste, presentation or quality. This is not a trendy, NYC experience and not one for someone who likes simplistic foods. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is for someone who wants to truly understand and embrace the preparation of their meal and interested in trying lots of new ways of pulling flavors and textures together. Imagine it like the best food art you have ever experienced and this is going to be the most sacred experience for you!