Review: Apollo Grill (Easthampton, MA), Alchemist(Waterbury, VT), Cider House BBQ (Waterbury, VT) and Simon Pearce (Quechee, VT)
Thank you for the response on my prior post on my Memorial Day weekend travel plans from NYC to Stowe, Vermont. Here's my review:
1) Apollo Grill (Easthampton, MA): In an industrial development building on the first floor. We arrived as lunch hours was about to end. You ordered at the front of the restaurant and they'll bring it over the food. We had to wait for the coffee because they were out, but otherwise, the decor is very unique as the restaurant had different salt/pepper shakers for each table and local artists painting decorated the walls. The food was very fresh. I ordered a turkey, brie, cranberry sandwich. My partner ordered a turkey club. French fries were crispy and well-seasoned. The coleslaw was a bit of a disappointment. Hint of callaway seeds but otherwise, not much seasoning or sauce to it. The sandwiches were well constructed though my partner thought the tomato in the turkey, brie, cranberry sandwich was a mis-match. (See pic 1)
2) Cider House BBQ (Waterbury, VT): We sat near the local musicians playing guitar and fiddle. Our server answered all of our questions re: the menu without us even asking and not in a prude way -- very informative. I had the St. Louis style Rib (small) with collard green and with the server's suggestion, caramelized onions mashed potatoes. Collard green was cooked well. Needed a little more salt, but it was tasty. The rib was --- cooked well. It had a crispy crust and a juicy meat. The sauce however, I was not too crazy about. Too sweet. It comes with a biscuit --- but not so good. The cornbread that the server brings before the meal was WAY BETTER -- accompanied by maple butter. My partner had beef brisket with collard greens and horseradish potato salad. The brisket was juicy. I should not finish this review without mentioning the prices! Very reasonable.
3) Alchemist (Waterbury, VT): We sat at the bar and had two different kinds of beer. I cannot recall the names --- but they were both delicious. The mood at the bar was very relaxed. We didn't have any food there, but the french fries looked good.
4) Simon Pearce (Quechee, VT): Thank you thank you thank you for recommending the place! We waited only few minutes at around 12:30 on Memorial Day Saturday. Not so bad. The service was average but the food was a nice surprise. My partner had a Grilled Chicken sandwich with parmesean garlic aioli and roasted red pepper. It came with orzo salad with parmesean and roasted red pepper. The chicken was so tender and the bread was just the right :-) I had a portobello foccacia. Portobello mushroom, roasted eggplant and farmers cheese stacked on top of foccacia as an open sandwich. Delicious -- portobello was meaty and every component of the dish was delicious and beautiful in colors. We also ordered a rhubarb-strawberry tartlett for dessert. Topped with an organic vanilla ice cream....it was a little messy to eat, but nonetheless a great end to a great meal. (see pic 2,3,4)
As an afterthought, I'll add that we did go to the Tea Lodge at the VanTrapp Lodge. Mediocre service, passable soup, the wurst my partner ordered was tasty though. Thought it was overpriced for what they offered though.
If you are going to Stowe, I highly recommend taking 108 North and then Vermont 15 West to Boyden Valley Winery. Nice drive through the mountain and a sweet reward :)
The Alchemist in Waterbury has basic pub fare, but everything I've eaten there has been good (crabcake sandwich, burger, meatloaf). I especially love the french fries or sweet potato fries. They come with 3 different dipping sauces: garlic aioli, homemade ketchup and an herbed sour cream. All delicious! Even the ketchup, which I normally never eat. Prices are very reasonable.
The beer was good, but I'm not a beer afficionado. They make a beer that tastes just like a Guinness to me.
Simon Pearce's grilled chicken sandwich is an epicurean delight. It is the perfect combination of flavor (Chicken, garlic and parmesan) and texture (tenderness of the chicken and light crunchiness of the bread). The orzo is wonderful, if only they did not serve such a large portion, I wouldn't feel as if I ate too much. Eating some of it is not an easy thing to do. We go there often specifically for that sandwich.