Alternative to Stone Barns?
I live in Brooklyn, and on her birthday I'd like to take my wife out to a delicious, elegant dinner that's also a driving excursion to some natural beauty.
I blew my shot at a Stone Barns reservation on the day I wanted - Sept. 15 - and am wondering if anybody had any ideas for other restaurants that fit that description.
You have some options.
First of all, if you do a search on this board, you will see multiple threads about eating at the bar at BHSB. No reservation is required and they offer the two fixed price menus they offer in the dining room ($148 and $208, I think), along with a 3 course bar-only $58 meal. I was just there again on Friday for the 3 course option. Things to keep in mind about eating at the bar-
1) No reservations, so first come first served. Sunday may be a little tricky because they are open from 1 I think. We got there at 5:20 PM on Friday and took 2 of the last 4 remaining seats. The bar menu is obviously more brief than the other menus, so if you get there and all the seats are filled, if the people are doing the longer format menus, you are potentially in for a long wait.
2) While it's very comfortable, it is certainly less formal than the main dining room. This doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I prefer the less formal atmosphere in the bar room. You're more likely to strike up a conversation with the people next to you or the very friendly and knowledgeable bartenders/servers. However, this may not be what you are looking for.
BUT, if you really have your heart set on BHSB, this is definitely an option for you. I really don't think another restaurant in Westchester combines the unique and pretty setting and the excellent and creative food (though some might say gimmicky; one of the amuse bouches the other night was a baby fennel stalk... but I forgave them once I tasted the "single udder butter" from a cow named Sunshine).
Here are some other options that may interest you.
X2O in Yonkers- food reviews have been somewhat less enthusiastic lately but the setting on a pier on the Hudson overlooking the Palisades is gorgeous.
North in Armonk- I think North's food is the closest in philosophy to BHSB. However, there is no view to speak of and the downstairs bar area can be deafeningly loud. You could do some scenic hiking beforehand and have dinner at North afterwards.
Kittle House in Chappaqua- This historic house is beautiful and the food is really great (though not as creative as BHSB). I like their tap room, which is romantic and cozy and more casual, but the formal main dining room has tables overlooking their beautiful gardens and lawns. They also offer outdoor garden seating.
Hope that helps. Happy birthday to your wife and I hope you enjoy your dinner, wherever you end up!
I've enjoyed Valley in Garrison the couple times I've been there. It's not BHSB (but I was underwhelmed by BHSB the two times I was there-- for the price-- I thought it was "farming" not "cooking"). And the setting at Valley is very nice.
Oh and Xaviers in Piermont is lovely, and Piermont is a drive-worthy location. I think the food at Xaviers is better than X2O which used to be my favorite "fancy" restaurant.
What about going out to the North Fork of Long Island? At this time of year it may be possible to score a reservation at North Fork Table and Inn, which is one of my favorite restaurants. It's an hour and 20 minutes to Riverhead, and then about another half hour to Southold, but it's a lovely visit to small town America, and you can stop at some wonderful wineries and farm stands along the way.
Harvest in Hastings. Beautiful restaurant, beautiful location right smack on the Hudson River. Menu now includes a lot of ingredients sourced locally. Beautiful preparations as well. A very nice choice, nice town.
Last year, it got the highest rating in a review in the Times. (Don't Miss)