The most decadent and expensive meal I ever tasted was at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant in Pocantico Hills, New York. Dine at the Rockefellers’, Get in Touch with the Earth said The New York Times restaurant review.
Our Portion of the Grand Total: $428 for a Multi-Course Dinner for Two with (1) Wine Pairing, Nondescript Beverages, Tax, and Tip.
Was this super-expensive gastronomic dining extravagance, one that only the local rich and famous patrons regularly enjoy, worth the money?
My farm-to-table dining experience began with dinner reservations for six. We got into this organic restaurant shortly after its opening in the spring of 2004. Naturally, there was much local publicity because of the aristocratic Rockefellers’ connection with sustainable agriculture. They own the year-round organic working farm and surrounding property, including the restaurant structure.
Driving up the rural and majestic driveway is like stepping back in time on a wealthy farming estate. My husband and I, along with our friends who joined us for the evening, caught a glimpse of the farm-fresh meal we would eat… On the compound there are roaming farm animals, an extravagant greenhouse, and an impressive vegetable garden. The restaurant is modest-elegance inside a converted cow barn. The service is top-notch.
Renowned Co-Owner and Executive Chef, Dan Barber, certainly knows how to make a divine meal that enlivens taste buds. I can still recall every succulent morsel that I tasted from the season’s harvest. I sampled the freshest-of-fresh meats made with the finest simple ingredients like beets, chestnuts, cranberries, and fresh eggs.
Today, the multi-course menu choices are still few: A “Farmer’s Feast” meal for two, $148 or… the “Grazing, Pecking, Rooting” meal for two, $208.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this luxurious “Farm-to-Table Restaurant Movement” experience, it’s certainly not something I can partake in on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are other ways to enjoy this scrumptious food and environment without the exorbitant expense:
1. Don’t Order a Wine Pairing. This will cost $110 to $150 more. Review their wine / beverage prices online to know what the “other” beverage options are. A waiter may not bring up the other options.
2. Make a Sunday Lunch Reservation. Avoid the dinner scene, and don’t order alcohol. It’s less expensive overall.
3. Visit the Blue Hill Café Instead. Add this café stop to the end of a walking excursion at the nearby Rockefeller Preserve. $15 per person is plentiful for a fresh pastry, salad, and / or sandwich. This is another way to enjoy tasty organic food, without the decadence.