If seeing a close friend receive an accolade invokes feelings of pride and joy, then finding out that a Westchester restaurant was given the honor of “Best Restaurant in America” should invoke something exponentially more powerful.
Go ahead. Take a few minutes to read over the annual Best Restaurants in America list from Eater, the self-proclaimed “authority on dining and food,” and you’ll feel some delight stir as Blue Hill at Stone Barns sits directly under the “Restaurant of the Year” category. Yet if you take a few more minutes to read Eater’s Restaurant Editor Bill Addison’s eloquent appraisal of the Blue Hill experience, you’ll feel honor, satisfaction, even a touch of arrogance that such a prestigious establishment, headed by an even more prestigious food philosopher, sits within our borders.
Dan Barber, the Pocantico eatery’s executive chef and co-owner, is praised as a revolutionary of the same caliber as Miles Davis and Allen Ginsberg. Addison exalts Barber for “confronting big-minded creative challenges from the perspective of a cook, a writer, and a scholar,” with his establishment that is only a restaurant at face value, but “an experiment, a laboratory, a learning center, and a model for the future of agriculture,” upon deeper inspection.
Barber getting to work in the Netflix series Chef’s Table
While dubbing Barber “a prophet of the soil” may sound like stilted fluff, anyone who invests a steady devotion and a working obsession into superior experiences deserves elevated praise from time to time. And the adventure that is the Blue Hill experience is more than just one man’s obsessions; it’s a family philosophy, a dedicated and attentive staff, and, of course, a financial investment (assume something like $250 to $500 per person).
But for many, it’s worth it. Like Addison expresses, “I always leave Stone Barns exhilarated and sated, filled with inspiration in the same way I feel after seeing a mind-blowing concert or finishing a powerful book.”
If anyone said that about my friend’s work, I’d be damn proud.