Blue Hill at Stone Barns- bar dining review
I've wanted to get to BHSB but my husband's balked at the price of the fixed price tasting menus they offer in the dining room ($108, $148, $208). I emailed about the menu they offer in the bar and found out that along with the above mentioned tasting menus, they offer a 3 course menu for $58, plus some assorted bar snacks (charcuterie, cheese, etc.). So after this long week, we decided to go check out the 3 course menu.
The bar is very nice-- dark, a little swanky, but pretty casual (i.e., my husband was fine in a button down, whereas they recommend jackets for men in the dining room), and with a very friendly bartender. They have about 10-12 seats at the bar and 2 or 3 (low) seating areas (couches, armchairs) by the fireplace. If you're planning on ordering more than snacks, definitely sit at the bar so you're not hunching over to eat. At a bit after 5 on Friday, there was another couple at the bar, and a group of about six at one of the low tables by the fireplace. It's hushed but not graveyard quiet.
They offer a good variety of wines BTG ranging from just $10 up, which was pleasantly surprising. I had a glass of very nice sauvignon blanc. My husband was transfixed by the two page beer list, which ranges from about $6+++. They offer some nice local beers (Capt. Lawrence, Kelso, etc.), along with some rare beers and larger size bottles. He had a dunkel from NJ that he proclaimed almost as good as what he drank in Germany.
We went for the three course meal, feeling like we deserved a nice treat after being cooped up so long after the hurricane. They offer two choices for each course and my husband and I each got the opposite so we tried all six things. What followed was WELL worth the price and definitely makes me want to return for the full experience in the dining room.
They bring out a flurry of complimentary (I guess they are really built into the price) bites-- baby vegetables skewered on a little "fence," crisp veggie chips with herbed goat cheese, kale and potato chips (with sage leaves somehow threaded *through* the chips) pinned on a decorative tree, one bite mushroom burgers on a bed of sesame seeds, and foie gras encased of thin shards of chocolate and studded with sea salt. Everything is so artfully composed and presented-- color us impressed and our meal hadn't even officially started.
They then brought out bread, accompanied by luscious butter, celery salt, and carrot salt. The bread was crusty and warm, but for me, really just a vehicle for the amazing butter. Our first courses arrived. My husband had three hand made ravioli-- one was (braised?) beef, the other two were different vegetable ravioli, with a light mushroom broth poured on top. I had the farm fresh egg, which came with a thin wisp of cured meat (I can't remember what exactly) and tender mushrooms and an earthy green sauce.
For the second course, my husband got the pork, which came with Jerusalem artichokes and other veggies. The pork was perfectly pink, so flavorful. I got the lamb, which came in two preparations-- sliced, medium rare, so tender, and almost like a lamb belly (does that exist? It looked like pork belly but it was lamb) with a crisp, pleasantly salty crust on top. Mine was served on top of a potato puree.
For dessert, my husband ordered coffee and I ordered an herbal infusion-- rose hips. The tea and coffee menu comes with a little map of the different herbs they grow in the garden, so most of the herbal infusions and teas come from their garden. The impressive honey container held fragrant honey from their bees. My husband got the chocolate dessert, which came with a fudgy slice of chocolate and hazelnut confection with a beautiful quenelle of vanilla ice cream. My dessert was a delicate squash souffle that quivered and sighed as you cut it, with a cookie crust, with salted squash seeds and pumpkin (I think?) ice cream on the side.
At last they brought out little end of the meal treats-- a ripe pear (we think) split on an apple corer (apple corer included) with little treats tucked within the slices-- 4 little truffles, dried pear, and sunflower seed brittle.
We were so floored by this amazing meal. I can't believe that we've lived 15 minutes from this restaurant for six years and haven't been here yet.
Yes, it was pricey for a meal not eaten at a proper table (~$150 before tip). But the quality of food we experienced was beyond anything I've had, and I personally can do without the formality of dining room service. We both felt very relaxed and I think that let us focus on the food above all else.
To curious skeptics (such as myself), I highly recommend trying the three course menu at the bar. We'll definitely be returning!
Thank you for the lovely review......, you have definitely created a new dining option for me! I Have always have been apprehisive going to bhsb.....but, now you make it sound so inviting....I will definitely have to reconsider....especially with my pastry chef husband!!
Thank you for this great review! I am one of the naysayers - the dining room is so expensive and the last time was not worth it. But the bar experience you describe sounds great! Do they take reservations at the bar? Thanks!
Glad that you found the review helpful! Wincountrygirl, they do not take reservations for the bar area, but it was not crowded when we arrived or when we left. However, last week may not be representative of a typical Friday night because of the storm. To me, BHSB seems like a destination, plan-way-way-ahead restaurant for the most part, whereas the bar area seems like it would attract more spontaneous locals. Liza 219, that squash souffle was something special and I think a pastry chef would definitely approve! I would love to recreate it at home.