POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. -- The national food site Eater has compiled a list of the best restaurants in the country for the third straight year, and, for the first time, has named a single "Best Restaurant in America" -- and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills has earned that honor.
Eater is a Vox Media company, which describes itself as "the authority on dining and food."
Eater's Restaurant Editor Bill Addison waxed eloquently about the Pocantico Hills restaurant in his Monday article bestowing the honor, "The Prophet of the Soil: Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the best restaurant in America."
Addison summarizes his adoration near the article's beginning:
There are plenty of restaurants that, like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, create unforgettable experiences for their guests. But this restaurant, set on a working farm tucked among rolling hills 30 miles north of Manhattan, is the best restaurant in America because it is more than a restaurant. Under the guidance of Dan Barber, its executive chef, co-owner and chief philosopher, it is an experiment, a laboratory, a learning center and a model for the future of agriculture.
Addison describes his favorite feature as "the subtle choose-your-own-adventure thread that the staff coordinates on the fly." He describes the diversity of diners' experiences, based on what they like and dislike, how brave they're feeling, and how much time they want to put into their meal.
There are no menus in the restaurant. Addison describes how every dining experience will vary both on diners' preferences and ingredient availability. Barber not only has a farm-to-table methodology, he's also done pioneering work on eliminating food waste and developing optimal crop strains.
The restaurant is perhaps the most public face of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. a nonprofit that hosts a variety of programs to encourage sustainable farming -- and eating -- including educating farmers, hosting a summer Farm Camp and conducting agricultural research.
The Center also facilitates innovative projects off the farm as well -- like grazing three lambs on the cemetery grounds of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, in Manhattan, after the current groundskeeper retired. At least three trios have now made this trek.