Pete Wells visits Dan Barber's original Blue Hill in the Village and gives it the first Times review since 2006, when Frank Bruni elevated its ranking from two to three stars. Wells maintains those stars in a review where he describes Barber as a "dirt poet and kitchen philosopher" and his restaurant as "one of the few New York restaurants that seem to get better and more original as time goes by." Sure, it isn't Stone Barns:
The city doesn't afford the time or space for the leisurely unfurling of Mr. Barber's complete vision of how our appetites should fit into the land and the climate. The low-ceilinged space is too much like a saloon, the tables too close together.
But, "while it may give you only a Half Barber, Blue Hill is still an exceptional restaurant," proclaims Wells, primarily because of Barber's way with cooking (or simply selecting) vegetables:
You find yourself thinking, again and again, that each new ingredient may well be the best example of its kind you've ever tasted....In the early days of Blue Hill, I respected the cooking but didn't want to wallow around in it the way I do now.