Foodies in New York were the first to learn this term, through the writings of restaurant critic Adam Platt in New York magazine. A play on haute cuisine, the traditional “high cookery” of France, it describes a restaurant whose house style emphasises the quality of the ingredients and where they come from to a greater extent than their preparation. Fresh, good-quality ingredients, often organic and sourced locally according to season, are cooked well and served simply. The idea behind it is farm cooking at its best, hence barnyard. But it’s often at a premium price at the New York eateries first identified with the tag and which have since been described as “pretentiously unpretentious”. Haute barnyard has spread beyond New York, with sightings from both Australia and the UK; in the latter country it has been taken up by the restaurant critic Jay Rayner in particular.
The ongoing hunger for American countrified cuisine made with greenmarket ingredients and spun upscale (coined “haute barnyard” by New York magazine’s Adam Platt) shows no signs of flagging. Get all the farmhouse chic you can swallow at Forge and Hundred Acres, twin additions to the genre.
The Village Voice, 30 July 2008
Market is the sort of place any of us would like to be able to call our local: a small, simple restaurant serving food with its own solid but definable character — that great term “haute barnyard” comes to mind once more — at a reasonable price.
The Observer, 21 Sept. 2008