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Jul 21, 2010 08:39 PM

Blue Hill at Stone Barn is RUINED for me

I took my then-boyfriend, now husband to Blue Hill in Washington Place for his 30th birthday about 2 years ago. We had a great time - it was a fantastic meal and I was impressed with what they could do in November. Since then, we had wanted to check out Blue Hill at Stone Barn - the idea was to make a day trip of it, maybe do some antiquing and hitting up Blue Hill at Stone Barn for a 6 / 6:30 reservation.

I'm no dummy - I know they open up reservations 2 months / 60 days in advance and Saturday nights are very popular. I also know that living in downtown Manhattan, the last thing I want is a "day" trip that ends with a 9:30 dinner and a 45+ minute drive back to the city. Thus, I dutifully count the days backwards and target a mid September date. I set my reminder in my calendar to log onto OpenTable / call at the appropriate time.

I log on to OpenTable at 8:45am and check the availability. Damn! All of the early time slots are taken. (Hmm... that's weird, I never heard of tables being open so early - must be kind of odd. I think it's odd because I believe the Danny meyer's restaurants release tables at 10:00 am exactly 28 or 30 days in advance - it's a nice system, it works. )

AHA! Maybe I will try CALLING them to make a reservation - maybe there are tables that are not available via OpenTable.

Me: Hi, I wanted to inquire about a reservation for Saturday, September --- for a party of 2
Reservationist: The only availability we have is 9:30 pm.
Me: Hmm... that's rather late. Are there any tables that are not reserved via OpenTable so I can call back?
Reservationist: No, our system is connected through theirs and all of the tables can be booked on OpenTable.
Me: OK, well, do you know when the tables become available on OpenTable for reservations?
Rservationist: No
Me: But you just said that your reservation system and that of OpenTable are fully connected. How do you not know when tables become available on OpenTable?
Reservationist: I don't know.
Me: Well, you see my point - I can't figure it out on OpenTable and if YOU DON"T KNOW, who else am I supposed to ask? (I admit to getting pretty miffed at this point and sound frustrated)
Reservationist: Well, I don't know how OpenTable works.
Me: But it's YOUR reservation system that is hooked into theirs? How do you NOT know???
Me: OK, well, can you find out if I call you back tomorrow with the same question



I wasn't looking for special favors. I just wanted some information and it strikes me as incredibly odd that the reservationist couldn't answer a question about their reservation system. Also, and maybe I am a spoiled customer, but for someone who is likely going to spend AT LEAST $300 on a dinner for two, and spend 45 minutes EACH way to travel for dinner - well, I would have hoped for a lot more helpfulness on her part. At any rate, there are any number of fantastic restaurants in Manhattan, that it's just not worth the bother to head out there.

P.S. As a matter of principal, I'm also boycotting the Blue Hill on Washington Place.
P.P.S. I'm also frequently asked to give restaurant recommendations - I'm no longer recommending Blue Hill.
P.P.P.S. That reservationist was an unhelpful jerk.

Blue Hill Cafe
2427 Route 52, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

P.S. Restaurant
100 Rano Blvd Ste 8, Vestal, NY 13850

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  1. That's really a shame you had that experience. I would call back and ask for the manager or e-mail the manager. Try X2O in Yonkers, it's great dining with great views. OK not much antiquing in Yonkers but you can always drive a little north for that.

    71 Water Grant Street, Yonkers, NY 10701

    1. jfood never trusts OT for th 60 day rule...lesson learned.

      what he does, and just did for BF was see how far out he can schedule and as of today they accept reservation through Sept 19 but not Sept 20, where it states...beyond maximum. interestin in that day 60 is the 20th.

      1. I understand your frustration but don't let one bad reservationist spoil your opinion of the place! Write a note to the restaurant. I'm sure Dan Barber wouldn't want his place being represented that way.

        1 Reply
        1. re: grouchomarx

          You're right - it would be better of me to have raised the issue directly with the restaurant instead of taking it to chowhound. I'm sure no restaurant wants to attract that kind of publicity, and they otherwise do very fine work in promoting sustainable, local cooking.

          I did feel pretty heated after the conversation. I really did want to make a nice day of it and we were really going to make the effort more or less just to dine at the restaurant - the whole antiquing stuff was added so that we wouldn't just be driving up there and back for dinner.

          The other issue that leaves me feeling aggrieved is that the reservation system is unclear - I've jumped through the requisite hoops to score reservations at some of the finest restaurants in NYC (Babbo, Eleven Madison, and Momofuku Ko). But at least I knew WHAT and I needed to do and WHEN I needed to do it. Bad enough that you have to think about dinner plans 60 days in advance (REALLY? 60?!?) but to not know what to advise prospective patrons about when to call or log-on is inexcusable.

        2. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is probably the best restaurant in the whole metro area. We have eaten there for several special occasions and have always been treated like royalty. It is a true dining experience. Unfortunately , you got some jerk on the phone. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don't go there. And by the way, I was once told the reservations go on OpenTable 60 days in advance.

          Blue Hill Cafe
          2427 Route 52, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

          2 Replies
          1. re: samka

            Yes, I tried booking it 60 days in advance. Problem is that I have no idea what time of day the tables become available on OpenTable for a reservation for 60 days in adance.

            By 8:45 am, no tables were available other than for 9:30pm slots. Does this mean that I need to start checking on the hour every hour beginning at midnight? At least with Ko and the Danny Meyers restaurants, resy's are available for the furthest date out (28 and 7 days, respectively) at set times - 10 am. I just don't know (and neither did the reservationist) know what time tables for a date that is 60 days out becomes available on OpenTable.

            1. re: susiederkins

              as has been posted several times on other threads BHSB is over-hyped. the food at BH is better. It is a stunning place and it has great visions & ideals behind it but the food is lacking something that it shouldn't be at those prices and sourcing. Some people love it and that's great--hopefully they will continue to spend their money on local businesses instead of chains but IMO there is tastier food all over the "metro area."

          2. Do you have AMEX? I think their concierge service can help with reservations at BHSB.