/Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

It happened again. Right out of the gates, just a couple of weeks into January, I had what will certainly be the meal to beat this year. The scene of the crime was Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Dan Barber’s farm to table restaurant, where most of the ingredients that go into the dishes are from the property surrounding the dining rooms; others come from small farms nearby. The wine list, which is by far the most cosmopolitan element of the restaurant’s offerings, features plenty of bottles from New York. The beer list is sensational and favors the Northeast.

Mom my sister and I arrived at Blue Hill after dark, so we didn’t get the full affect of the farm and its surroundings, but the setting was spectacular nevertheless. The path from the parking lot rises up towards a large stone archway, which gives way to a courtyard surrounded by solid stone edifices. The café, farm shop, teaching space, and kitchen all face onto the wide-open courtyard, which was still illuminated for the holidays.

“Beet it”

Upon entering the inner sanctum, the first space one encounters is a small bar with a glowing fireplace. We were drawn in by the warmth and had an aperitif by the fire. Mamma Parla had a glass of Macari Sauvignon Blanc “Katherine’s Field”, while I had the “Beet It” cocktail, a blend of beet vodka, orange-tarragon syrup and cava served in a Champagne flute.

Sufficiently warmed up, we entered the main dining room, a space whose height was broken up with exposed steel beams. In the center of the hall, a table held a basket full of eggs and various topiaries.

Biochar presented to the table.

The meal began with a steady stream of snacks, beginning with raw and crunchy starters, then moving on to more hearty and unctuous bites. Carrots, radishes and cauliflower came impaled on small black pikes. Carrot puree and a radishes with butter were next. Then smoked kale and potato chips skewered with sage. A “burger” and “sushi” saw meat and fish replaced with beets. House cured bresaola, speck and coppa impressed. “Face bacon” (thinly sliced crispy pork jowl chips) was a revelation. This was followed by pork rinds, sweet potato donuts, fried fish balls, pig liver pate sandwiched by chocolate wafers, pretzel with pork fat spread, and marrow served in the bone.

Once the parade of amuse-bouches had concluded, the 8-course menu commenced; Blue Hill at Stone Barns serves tasting menus only and at dinner one must choose between 5-, 8-, and 12-course offerings. We paired the first few courses with Weingut Jäger Riesling Federspiel Steinriegl, the middle courses with Blue Hill Red Winter Wheat beer and the Berkshire pork dish with R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Riserva Rioja.

Pumpkin seed oil and squash ice cream.

We began the meal with the winter fruit and vegetable salad, a mosaic of seasonal produce sliced super thin and dressed with mushroom gelee and sun choke vinaigrette. Next was a brioche toast with kale marmalade and ricotta that had been made minutes before. This was followed by cabbage that had been roasted on the grill outside, one that is fed by biofuel including charred bones, corn cobs and other organic refuse from the kitchen. A segment of the charred cabbage was accompanied by crème fraiche and caviar. A bizarre and massive bass face followed. It was presented with chopsticks and we fished out the cheek and head meat first with utensils, then with our fingers. The final dish was Berkshire pork loin and belly with salsify. Perfection. There were two desserts: Pumpkin seed oil and squash ice cream and Cheese soufflé with figs.

The dinner was splendid from start to finish. The service was professional and polished but the atmosphere was utterly laid back. One diner wore a Yankees hoodie and was greeted with hugs from the staff. I was right at home in jeans and Chucks. We were encouraged to eat with our hands. The food was creative but not over the top or pretentious. In many ways, the warmth of Blue Hill and the execution of the dishes reminded me of meals at Noma. Like Redzepi’s food, Barber’s creations lead one through the rich flavors of his territory, producing a cuisine has no precursor but derives its authenticity from the very land from which it springs.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
tel: 914 366 9600

2017-02-17T15:21:06+00:00 January 17th, 2012|Categories: Food & Wine, Gastronomic Traditions, New York City, Restaurants|9 Comments


  1. Hande January 17, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    face bacon. my life will never be the same again.

  2. MegRhi January 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Yum! I had face bacon there last summer and it was crazy good. One of my faves. Glad you ladies had a great experience. Worth a trip in the summer to spend time on the farm.

  3. John January 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    When I ate there one of the courses (we had the tasting menu) was a two-year old parsnip which we were introduced to and lectured about. We practically discussed the root’s fore-bearers and voting record. We paid $700 for five of use to eat a largely vegitarian meal.

    I simply cannot think of a more pretentious, over-the-top, extremely over-priced, the-emperor-has-no-clothes, restaurant than Blue Hill at Stone Farm.

  4. janie January 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I love this place! I ate there a few years ago and our meal was incredible. I grew up right down the road and we used to wander around this land years ago. You’ll have to go back some time in the summer and see the farm.

  5. ed January 18, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Great menu, would be impossible to find around here. I believe mr Barber is a very honest cook, like his philosophy.

  6. ciaochowlinda January 19, 2012 at 6:32 am - Reply

    Katie – I’ve been there in the fall when the leaves are beautifully colored and the air is crisp but still warm – we had a memorable day. It was impossible to get reservations though, and we ended up eating outdoors at the little snack bar. I’m longing to go back and try the restaurant, especially after your review. Obviously the commenter John was less than pleased though.

  7. semsa denizsel January 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I think we should do a tour of eating in NewYork, both the city and the state. What do you think?

  8. Walkway Over the Hudson January 26, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    […] Parla, Lauren Parla, and I walked the bridge before our epic dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an hour’s journey from Poughkeepsie. But if you want to work up an appetite and eat locally, […]

  9. CanM. February 10, 2012 at 2:04 am - Reply

    Blue Hill at Stone Barn was one of my best eating experiences, ever. You kind of have to let yourself go and melt into the atmosphere and the service.

    The emphasis is not on manipulation through technique, like million other restaurants that try to imitate Barber, it’s enhancement via restraint.

    A lot of this type of high end cuisine tends to hide behind technique, theory and concept. Barber does none of that – it’s a reverse reaction to all the ‘innovation’ . Sure there are playful moments, presentation tricks, puns, and all that ‘heritage’ stuff, but ultimately his cooking is honest, grounded, and, ultimately DELICIOUS.

Leave A Comment

You are currently not connected to the internet