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Sep 22, 2013 10:57 AM

Blue Hill Stone Barns private table? [630 Bedford Road Pocantico Hills, New York]

I've noticed a few reviewers have been led to a private table in a shed for a few course during their tasting menu. Has anybody experienced this? Can you request it or is it just for VIPs and bloggers?

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    1. re: trakman

      Pocantico Hills. It gets written about at least once weekly on this board.

    2. I don't know about a "shed". I do know that they had been offering a 4 seat private in kitchen dining experience with the chef where you watch it all happen and the chef is essentially your server. I was going to "gift" it to my nephew for his bar mitzvah b/c he is soooo into cooking.
      I know quite know how readily available this is, or if they decided to continue with it as I had asked in May/June .

      1. I have done the kitchen table experience twice and both times have been amazing experiences - in fact I would say they are my two best meals ever. With the kitchen table you spend a majority of the meal dining literally inside the kitchen, but they do move you around some. When we did this during a warm time of year we started with cocktails and canapes outdoors, had the savory courses in the kitchen and for dessert were led to what was an old manure barn (likely what you are referring to as the shed); they had it beautifully lit with tons of candles and it was such a romantic, intimate experience. Outside of those dining at the kitchen table I am not sure who else receives this experience or if they try to accommodate requests.

        When we recently did the kitchen for a second time (with the weather considerably colder) we started with cocktails at the bar area, had the canapes and most savories in the kitchen, for the final savory were moved to an enclosed room off the dining room with floor to ceiling windows looking outdoors - again lit with candles, they then took us outside for s'mores and then back to the kitchen for the dessert courses.

        The kitchen table experience is pricier than the standard meal, but is such an incredible, memorable, unique experience I strongly recommend partaking. Both times the assistant general manager was our personal server for the night but we also had lots of interaction with the wine director and the chefs. Everybody we encountered were wonderful people and they really try to customize the experience to the individuals. You can do the kitchen table with a party of 2 to 4 people.

        20 Replies
        1. re: Gonzo70

          Wow this sounds so great. I've eaten at BHSB a handful of times and was already (daydreaming) planning ahead a few years to celebrate a big birthday there. Too bad the kitchen experience is limited to 4 people. Would need room for 6. :-(

          1. re: Gonzo70

            We didn't do the kitchen table but got invited to sit in the kitchen for one course after we finished our canapes in the main dining room. We also got led outside and stood near the grill for s'mores during dessert.

            1. re: PorkyBelly

              Just an update; Blue Hill at Stone Barns has discontinued the kitchen table experience and is now trying to get those ordering the longer of the tasting menus (the Grazing, Pecking Rooting menu) into the kitchen for a course. I am bummed the full meal in the kitchen is no longer available since I loved that experience so much, but at least a much larger number of people will be able to enjoy a course in the kitchen each night.

              1. re: Gonzo70

                Another update; made it back to Stone Barns this past weekend. They now offer only a single length/single price tasting menu. They try to give each table some type of "special" experience if possible such as some tables having a course in the kitchen, some tables having a course in the aforementioned shed, some tables having a course outdoors under the stars etc. We had yet another fantastic all around time (even took a foraging class and an egg gathering class that afternoon at the farm), but did miss the kitchen table experience. The meal is now $192 per/person (food only, excluding tax, tip, beverages) and was somewhere around 10 courses plus several rounds of canapes.

                1. re: Gonzo70

                  Wow. Totally out of my league. We had an amazing meal at Volt in Frederick MD last year. The most expensive meal we've ever done-- and the tasting was 95 and the wine pairing another 65.

                  Doesn't look like we're heading to Stone Barns. We did go there twice, shortly after they opened, and really were not wowed the way we were at Volt.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    I had the opposite experience as you. Did Table 21 at Volt on the same trip where I went to Blue Hill and found Table 21 to be somewhat of a joke; pretentious and dull atmosphere, arrogant and inattentive (and at times even incompetent) service, cuisine that was gimmicky and more about the appearance than the taste and a horrible value. If I had never had a similar style meal elsewhere maybe I would have been dazzled but virtually every other kitchen table type experience I have had (i.e. Atera, Catbird Seat, Stone Barns, El Ideas) has been vastly superior as well as just about every other venue featuring modernist cuisine.

                    Blue Hill on at Stone Barns on the other hand every time I have been continues to impress and currently ranks as my favorite US restaurant. Each occasion it has just been a magical experience. Definitely pricey, but IMHO there is value even at this price point.

                    1. re: Gonzo70

                      I did not do Table 21; so I can't make a comparison.

                  2. re: Gonzo70

                    Wow, that's the only option now? I wonder if they upped the price of the 3 course fixed price menu available at the bar. I haven't been there in a while so next time I go I'll have to call to check to avoid sticker shock!

                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                      Damn! As the cost of eating at Stone Barns continues to escalate, it becomes harder and harder for me to listen to Dan Barber's farm-to-table-sustainable-artisanal-local-organic-seasonal eating pontificating. Not that I disagree with any of those positions! It's just that I'd rather listen to someone who can put those beliefs into practice at something less than $192 per person per meal. Perhaps those are sustainable numbers for, oh, say, a Rockefeller..certainly not for most of us.

                      1. re: frank113

                        There are some nearby boards when, if you wished to spend such a "small" amount on a good meal, you'd be ridiculed.

                          1. re: frank113

                            There's a big audience for such high priced meals.

                            The fact that most of that audience doesn't live in Westchester doesn't mean the prices are out of line.

                            (and no, I will never be able to dine at such an expensive place)

                            1. re: Elisa515

                              I'm well aware that there are enough people willing to pay $192 per person per meal. On special occasions I am, as well. My point is that Barber holds BH up as a shining example of a farm-to-table, sustainable, seasonal and organic restaurant. Yes, it's wonderful that when you stroll the grounds before dinner you may see the very tomato, still on the vine, that will be on your plate later in the evening. But his business model is exclusionary. How many SBBHs is our society/economy capable of supporting?

                              1. re: frank113

                                What does it matter?

                                There are high-end, middle-end, and low-end restaurants of most types of food.

                                Apparently, this society and economy are capable of supporting at least one of these restaurants.

                                The fact that some can't afford to go there--or t wouldn't choose to go there if they could--isn't really relevant to anything except a social/cultural argument.

                                1. re: Elisa515

                                  You're completely missing the point! I'm not refering to Dan Barber, restauranteur or to BHSB Restaurant. As even a cursory reading of my posts shows, I am referring to Dan Barber, Advocate. Advocate for a way of raising food, a way of eating, a way of raising and growing food. He speaks eloquently about these things. But he doesn't walk the walk. You say it "isn't really relevant to anything except a social/cultural argument." BUT THAT"S THE WHOLE POINT! I am addressing his advocacy of "social/cultural" issues as being in rather stark conflict with his business model. None of these social/cultural issues that he raises in his speeches and now in his book are solvable by going down the BHSB path. Please realize this conversation has nothing at all to do with high end/low end or affordable/unaffordable restaurants. Maybe a rerreading of the earlier posts would help.

                                  1. re: frank113

                                    I agree. It seems to me that the prices and availability prove that sustainable, farm to table and organic is not a feasible, at least in the tristate area. Maybe for a few, (with the right clientele), but that's it. On the other hand I have my own garden ( tomatoes, lettuce, onion, parsely, kolorhabi, oeoorrs, etc.) and only buy local, organic proteins (including eggs delivered locally every week) for a certain price....:)

                                    1. re: liza219

                                      Well, it is clearly feasible for home cooking and consumption. Buying as you do and growing your own certainly works. And I think more and more restaurants in the country are proving that it can work commercially, as well. The problem I have is the BHSB seems always to be the go-to example the media uses when it's doing a piece on farm-to-table, etc. But at those prices it's business model is just not one that is going to spread very broadly.

                                      1. re: frank113

                                        Yes, I wanted actually say that it is doable, just not very profitable in the business unless commercially and publicly praised.Nor is it "friendly" to many wallets. Actually, the one's that don't understand how simple it really can be, are the ones that cannot afford the experience.

                                    2. re: frank113

                                      Apart from the slightly exasperated tone, Frank does make a good point. The problem is that Blue Hill is not cheap to run. Barber wanted a restaurant that shows the absolute ultimate farm to table experience, and given the levels of staff, the room itself and the cost of the ingredients, the cost of the meal must necessarily be high.You cannot separate the restaurant from the advocate; if you want it on the cheap, there is a cafe open for lunch, or you can go to to the bar (first come, first served, where they offer a three course $57 menu).

                                      I do enjoy the restaurant, but it is not a restaurant that even if money were no object, I would go to more than once or twice a year. It is an entertainment as well as a meal, and brilliant as it is, it is time consuming, and sometimes a little precious. And most of time, I prefer to eat in less than three hours.

                                      But occasionally, I want exactly this; and know the food will be almost perfect. A small piece of chicken may have been the finest I have ever had, the belly of pork is sublime, the dessert, "needle in a haystack makes me smile every time I think of it.

                      2. re: Gonzo70

                        Jeez my sister and I JUST gave our parents a gift card there for their special anniversary, basing the amount off a $148pp price. Figures. The new price is virtually Per Se/Alinea territory

                2. Reminds me of the uber-ridiculous prices at Basement Bistro in Earlton, NY. Another place that I'd only be able to eat at only by winning the lottery! Wish they'd stop pricing us regular folk out!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sra. Swanky

                    yeah, I ate there about 6-7 years ago and it was something like $69 pp. I guess the market will bear....

                  2. I had the pleasure of dining at Blue Hill last month. We were taken to that shed and given a very informative talk about some of the history of the farm as well as some of the current developments. We were also given me some delicious hot dogs that were primarily made out of beets with some homemade condiments. It was a super cool touch to an outstanding meal. If I didn't live all the way on the other side of the country, this would be a special occasion place for me. It's not cheap, but I felt it was worth the money.