Blue Hill/X20/School House at Cannondale
I'm trying to decide on a place for a special anniversary dinner on Thursday night. Right now I'm leaning toward Blue Hill at Stone Barns because I've been to their Village location and know that it is excellent. However, after searching around this board, I'm also intrigued by X20 and the School House at Cannondale. I'm in Norwalk, so SHC would be the most convenient for me, but this is the first I've heard of it.
Factors going in to the decision: First and foremost, excellent food, of course. Romantic, pleasant setting. I'd love to get a good, three-course meal and a bottle of wine for under $200, but if it's worth it, I can pay a little more. I eat fish, but I do not eat poultry or other meats, and my boyfriend eats everything, so I do want there to be at least one fish main dish.
And finally, I want to make a reservation for 9 or 8:30 at the earliest. So it needs to be a place that won't rush us out, if it starts to get a little late.
Those are the three restaurants that I'm deciding between, but I'm open to other suggestions. It just has to be within an hour's drive (and preferably closer to 45 min.) from Norwalk, CT.
If you have a chance, pick up the current Wine spectator, for a write-up on Hudson Valley restaurants...nice write up of X2O...I didn't realize they were connected to Xaviar's/Freelance in Piermont.
I hate to admit that I haven't been to Blue Hill yet. Shame on me.
I love the Schoolhouse, and really enjoyed dinner at X20 two Friday nights ago. I would say the food at both is comparable, but the wine list at X20 is superior. We ordered a bottle of Chateaunuf-Du-Pape, a bargain at $53, and the sommelier brought us special glasses - nice touch.
The schoolhouse is quaint and romantic, while X20 has more of a city feel and I noticed the crowd was "older." I would suggest going to the Schoolhouse and saving X20 for the spring or summer when you can have the added advantage of a great view of the sunset.
I went to Blue Hill about a year ago and was not overly impressed. It is a beautiful setting and the food was good, but we haven't been back. If it was closer, I'm sure we would have tried again. We eat at the Schoolhouse frequently, and love it. Keep in mind it is a very small menu with usually only one fish dish on it. It is a really quaint, relaxing atmosphere, all the people who work there are really accomodating and I don't think they'd rush you out at all!
I went to Blue Hill for brunch when they first opened some years ago. All I remember about it was that the bread basket had excellent choices, but my entree consisted of only three scallops and the bill was very expensive. My may want to consider Bernard's Inn in Ridgefield for a romantic dinner. They usually have several fish choices and I have always been pleased with them.
I have only been to X20 (last week and my review is on this board) and I really enjoyed it. Because you only eat fish, X20 may be a good choice as the menu is heavy on the fish and seafood and they also have a sushi bar.
I agree with a comment above about the crowd being older, but frankly, I don't go to restaurants to socialize with the other diners so that is not a factor for me.
If you do go, try to request a table along the Southern wall of the restaurant. It's a nice view of the city skyline. If you sit long the western or northern sides of the room you get views of the palisades cliffs in NJ or the Tappan Zee bridge.