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“Best Dessert Ever”
Review of The Barn

The Barn
Ranked #1 of 3 Restaurants in Walland
Restaurant details
Reviewed 1 June 2018 via mobile

The staff provided great input and guidance through a superb meal. The Rhubarb and corn pavlova was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had (and the lamb was great too).....

Date of visit: May 2018
Thank Hotel_Princess55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 26 reviews

Reviewed 12 April 2018 via mobile

We loved the dining experience at the Barn. Staff was knowledgeable and very attentive!
The Wine cellar is very impressive as well!

Date of visit: April 2018
Thank lavisuperok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2018

On our March visit to Blackberry Farm, we only had one evening of dining, on our own, since we were there for their Hospice du Rhône wine event, which included dining every other night, and we chose The Barn – Blackberry Farm’s fine-dining venue.

Since we only had one night of dining, away from the event, we made the most of it. I had requested seating in the lovely Tack Room, and we had a very nice two-top. Service began with two Amuse Bouche courses, and proceeded to the main meal:

Spring Mushroom Salad w/ morels, pea shoots, verjus and pecans
Painted Hills Beef Tartare w/ sunchoke, crispy mushrooms and horseradish
Roasted Mushroom Soup w/ crispy shallots, thyme and pickled mushrooms
County-fried Sweetbreads w/ lovage cream, collard greens dill and apples
North Carolina Mountain Trout w/ smoked trout fumet, fingerling potatoes, scallions, oyster mushrooms and crème fraîche
Painted Hills Beef Hanger Steak w/ smoked potatoes, creamed kale and grilled forest mushrooms

Each dish was great, and this entire menu was a hit. Going back a bit, there were some meals, which were not quite up to our expectations, which are always high, and especially at The Barn. This period was when Chef Cassidee Dabney first took over from the departing Chef, Joseph Lenn. I feel that she was trying to work with Chef Lenn’s menu, but also trying to add her personal touches to the dishes. She is now creating on her own, and though she does have a major legacy to uphold, is now doing a fabulous job. She was Sous Chef with Lenn, but is now completely at the helm. This was probably her best menu, of the last few years – a complete success, and on every level – well done Chef Dabney, and a real treat! As a side note, she, and her staff, came through beautifully on two meals during the Hospice du Rhône event too.

This is not praise, without a background. We had just left the Inn at Little Washington, where we dined with Chef Patrick O’Connell for three nights, and then recent meals with Chef Jöel Robuchon (Las Vegas), Chef José Andrés (Las Vegas and Washington DC), Chef Eric Ripert (NYC), Chef Srijith Gopinathan (San Francisco), Chef Tory McPhail (New Orleans) and Chef Ralf Schlegel (Washington DC). Most of those have from 1 – 3 Michelin “stars,” so very nice company.

Sommelier Jason Drotar provided excellent wine service, and we enjoyed:
Peter Jacob Kühn Jacobus Riesling Trocken 2015
Skylark Mendocino County Pinot Blanc 2015
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Chambolle-Musigny 2013
Coriolis Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014
Domaine Durieu Lucile Avril Châteauneuf du Pape 2015
Lamborn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Domaine du Duy Banyuls, Languedoc-Roussillon 1997
Then a “flight” of Niepoort Tawny Ports – 10, 20 & 30 Year

All wines were a success with the food pairings, and contributed to the perfection of the meal.

Service was excellent, and efficient. The servers seemed to “float” past, picking up, and dispensing dishes and flatware.

The Tack Room was as charming, as ever, and very quiet – perfect for our first night at Blackberry Farm on this trip. I cannot think of even the tiniest of flaws, and I am so glad that we had this opportunity, as it started out a great wine (and food) event.

Date of visit: March 2018
    • Value
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2  Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2018

I've enjoyed the barn at Blackberry Farms numerous times so felt it time to write a review. It's a bit pricey, but with that comes an excellent experience. The menu is limited and selected by course. The amount of food at first seems small, but by the end of the evening you leave full. I've never had a bad meal there and the food is presented in an unique way. The have a very extensive wine list and you can spend a fortune if you're not careful, but there are good selections that are moderate in price as well. Most diners are staying at BBF so golf carts are the prime transportation. Parking does seem limited and the entire property is basically in the middle of nowhere 3 miles for Walland, which is basically a post office and a couple of small stores. Nevertheless the barn is an outstanding venue and you won't be disappointed.

Date of visit: December 2017
    • Value
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1  Thank radar50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2017

During our October/November stay at Blackberry Farm, we had the occasion to dine at their “fine-dining venue,” The Barn, on multiple nights.

First, The Barn, as is Blackberry Farm, unique. It is on the Blackberry Farm property, but is open to the public, but there are caveats. The guests at Blackberry Farm are given first choice for tables. As Blackberry Farm is nearly always full, that means that very, very few tables, if any, will ever be available for non-guests. Even owners of property, at Blackberry Farm, have an almost impossible task ahead of them, and they are second in line. A table at The Barn is probably the most sought after, and difficult table in the USA, to secure, unless one is a guest of Blackberry Farm, and they get first choice, and usually occupy all of the tables. Others come after, if there are any tables, and usually, there are not.

We know a bit about “hard to get tables,” having recently dined at The French Laundry, Saison, Benu, Meadowood, Manresa, Quince, Alinea, Grace, Le Bernardin, (all Michelin 3-star restaurants) and several other Michelin-starred restaurants in the USA, and also the UK/Europe, and all 3-star restaurants in Tokyo/Minato and Shibuya Prefectures. All of those are tough to get into, but The Barn raises it to a whole new level, unless one is a guest, as we were. Yes, it can be done, but being a guest, is the best way, by far, and I highly recommend booking a table, if staying at Blackberry Farm That is the easiest way to do it, just like The Inn at Little Washington, Meadowood, or Abbaye de la Bussière, outside of Dijon, France.

Now, The Barn is sort of a conundrum, in that it has rustic elements, but also is fine-dining, with “jackets required” for gentlemen. This should not be an issue, as Blackberry Farm, while a “mountain retreat,” is an elegant location, and a certain “formality,” should be part of the experience. If Michelin “stars” were to be rewarded to this area of Tennessee, The Barn should rate a solid 1-2 star rating, and likely reaching to a 3-star – sort of depends on the night.

On this visit, we hosted two other coupes. One couple had experienced Blackberry Farm with us, about 16 mos. before. The other, was new to both BBF, and to The Barn. Lots of potential here!

We did three evenings at The Barn, out of the five-night stay. We did one evening meal at The Dogwood, which is only for BBF guests, then one night of “Dining Afield,” also for BBF guests.

As a guest at BBF, one has three meals, per day, included. This translates to The Barn, but with a few caveats:
There is an á la carte menu, which is included in the cost of the stay, though there are a few “supplemental” dishes, within it. Then, there is the “ Chef’s Tasting Menu,” which is extra. Wines/alcohol are also extra. We did a mix of á la carte, and Tasting Menus, and also some of the “Wine Pairings,” but we also turned the Sommelier Team a bit loose, and they gladly accommodated us, but straying “off-script” a few times. That is part of the fun, that we have when dining at The Barn.

Now, we have observed changes, over the years (discovered Blackberry Farm in 2006), and one was the addition of The Barn. On our first couple of visits, it was a mere “concept,” then was under construction. We got to tour the site over about a year, and even got to help pick the dinnerware, plus offer our comments on some proposed aspects. Then, we got to finally experience The Barn, and at a few levels: as dining guests, during culinary and wine events in the demo kitchen, and also the wine room, in the basement. We were there through the tenure of Chef Joseph Lenn, and have been there as Chef Cassidee Dabney has assumed the helm. She has taken Chef Lenn’s “Foothills Cuisine” in a personal direction, and it shows, and shows nicely. She was Sous Chef w/ Chef Lenn, so some elements have been retained. She has the actual “farm” aspect of Blackberry Farm, so still works closely with the folk from just “down the hill,” like Master Gardener, John Coykendall, and Jeff Ross (Farm Director, who is now cooking!), so has much of the produce, just steps away. The concept of “farm to table” could not be better demonstrated, than at Blackberry Farm. Chef Dabney also has the same local producers, so there are naturally some parallels. However, during her tenure, we have seen the food evolve, in some slightly different directions, as she applies her personal touches, and philosophy to the kitchen.

Besides our evening dining at The Barn, we also did a cooking class (this was not a scheduled event, but one that I put together for my group) in the Gambrel Demo Kitchen, with Chef Dustin Busby (also one of the Cheese makers on-property).

I will try to give a bit of an overview of our wonderful dining experiences:

Tasting Menu – For entire table, and $55 Supplemental, w/ Wine Pairing $250

Muscadine & Hazelnut w/ foie gras, endive and scuppernong grapes, paired with Domaine Weinbach Alsace Muscat ‘14 – A great starter, and Andy Chabot (Master Sommelier, and Wine Director) hit a home run with this pairing.
Wood-grilled Shrimp w/ grilled cabbage, mint, dill and pecans, paired with Alban Estate Edna Valley Viognier ‘14 – Wonderful Shrimp, and though we had an earlier vintage of this excellent wine, during Andy’s “Hospice du Rhône” event a few years ago (poured by John Alban), it was great with this dish.
Hearth-fried Farm Egg w/ Brussels sprouts, black truffle (not yet from Blackberry Farm, as their inoculated hazelnut trees have yet to produce black truffles) and hickory gastrique, paired with the Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino ‘08 – The “earthiness” of the truffles and the hickory went beautifully with the big Brunello
North Carolina Mountain Trout – A smoked Trout fumet w/ fingerling potatoes, scallions, forest mushrooms and crème fraîche, paired with Domaine de la Vielle Julienne Les Trois Sources Chateauneuf du Pape ‘13 – I have had many great Trout dishes at The Barn, but this was at the top, or certainly close to it, and the smoke in the Trout paired well with the lovely Rhône.
Painted Hills Beef Hanger Steak w/ smoked potatoes, creamed kale and grilled mushrooms, paired with Amuse Bouche, a Napa Valley Red Wine ‘13 (a project of Heidi Barrett & John Schwartz) – A perfect Main Course, with the Beef cooked perfectly. The Cabernet Franc in the blend was a perfect foil for the grilled Beef.
Three Year Aged Comté w/ charmomile jam
Dark Chocolate Soufflé w/ wild bay leaf crème fraîche

On the other nights, we ordered the á la carte, and were treated to dishes such as:
Painted Hills Beef Tartare w/ sunchoke, black truffle and horseradish, paired with Billecart-Salmon NV Rosé Champagne – One of the best Beef Tartare dishes that I have ever had, and the full-bodied Rosé stood up nicely.
Roasted Golden Beets w/ black trumpet mushrooms, pine syrup and black Burgundy truffles, paired with Jean Louie Chave Circa St Joseph Blanc ‘13 – Chef Thomas Keller taught me to eat Beets, but had he not, Chef Cassidee would have done so, with this dish. It might also have helped that I am a pushover for a big St Joseph Blanc, and Chave is one of the best producers.
Painted Hills Beef Ribeye Cap (we had a variation of this dish in the Dogwood, which was not nearly so nice) w/ smoked beet purée, beets and horseradish béarnaise, paired with Engel Family Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot ‘99 – A great Ribeye Cap, and an excellent big red to go with it
Toasted Grains & Seeds w/ beef broth, cured beef and horseradish, paired with a Jules Desjourneys Fleurie Cru Beaujolais ‘07 – A killer dish, with some very interesting textures, and the big Cru Beaujolais went very well

With various other dishes, Andy Chabot and Jason Drotar pulled out a few stops with the various wine pairings, and we benefitted, starting with our first “welcome wine:”
Krug 1996 Vintage Champagne
Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne ‘95
Weingut Robert Weil Kiedrich Grafenberg Rheingau Riesling ‘05
Château de Tours Côtes du Rhône ‘12
Clos Saint Vincent Vino di Gio Bellet Vermentino ‘10
Louis Jadot Momaine du Monnet Brouilly ‘97
Desjourneys Moulin á Vent Cru Beaujolais ‘10
Clos D’Agon Catalonia Tinto ‘00
Le Macchioli Bolgheri Paleo ‘00
Niepoort Colheita Porto ‘05
Marco di Bartoli Marsala Superior 10 Anni Riserva

There were some other wines too, scattered along the way. While only a “short-list,” it did demonstrate the depth (it is also very “broad” for many wineries) of The Barn’s extensive wine list. Do you want a particular wine? Chances are that they have it.

Now, not all was 100% perfect. In general (excluding the Wine Cellar Room), there are two dining areas in The Barn. I prefer the Tack Room, over the larger, somewhat darker main dining room, and had requested this for our three meals at The Barn. A party of 6 fits nicely at the round 8-top, usually set in the corner, closest to the Farm. On two previous visits, I had requested the Tack Room, for our meals. All three times, it was suddenly not available: a couple wanted it to themselves for privacy, a private party decided that they wanted it all, and then two couples (separate) wished to dine without any other guests – but they did get each other, and my wife, and I , would not have bothered either couple. So, the previous three times I requested that room, someone came along, and got it. I again made my requests, and pointing out that the table, closest to the Farm and the Singing Brook Cottages would be perfect. We arrived, and were informed that the Tack Room was not available for us. That was “four strikes” by my count, and I was very unhappy. I am very unused to any request at Blackberry Farm, and The Barn, being ignored, and now, for the fourth time! We were seated in the main dining room, and not against the large, very warm fire, and were able to converse, but not as intimately, as in the Tack Room. On the next two nights, that table was set for 6, and we had it. When I make my reservations for my next visit, I will be more emphatic, in selecting my dining room, and my table. I will also get confirmation of my exact seating, and will expect that no others will arrive later, and try and change my plans.

Now, that was the only glitch, in an otherwise fabulous 3 evenings of dining at The Barn. The waitstaff was excellent, Chef Cassidee Dabney and her kitchen team were superb, while the wine team truly outdid themselves, in every respect.

The venue is both rustic, AND elegant, and has so much charm, the dishes were beautiful, beautifully presented and then the wines!!

We have not booked Blackberry Farm for 2018 (had hope to get back in Dec for Andy Chabot’s “Wine Geek” event, but our travel precluded a return, just a month later. Now, we would have done it, in a heartbeat, but just could not make it work. When we book our stay, I will also be making our reservations for The Barn

Date of visit: October 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
3  Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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