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Brattleboro Suggestions?

With Peter Havens currently closed for vacation, 319 Main readying a transfer to new owners (and thus closed on certain upcoming dates), and Max's no longer at the West Brat location, we are striking out with previous favorites. From NYC and am looking for alternatives for a few days/evenings in early August. Previous postings are somewhat helpful but dated. Any suggestions or updated opinions are much appreciated. Thanks to all.

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  1. Capers is very good. Just 4 or so doors up from 39 Main. And Max's is now north of town on Putney Road; don't know if ownership has changed and therefore know nothing about its current quality.

    1. A new place called Alici's Bistro just opened up right in town on Harris Place. I have not been there yet, but one of the cooks from 39 Main is now there and we always ewnjoyed his creations. Another wonderful place to go is TJ Buckleys on Elliot St- I have never heard a negative word about them. As for Capers, we went and I was very disappointed in the food. I ordered the Filet and it was undercooked- basically raw in the middle and I had asked for it to be cooked Medium. I sent it back and then it was cooked properly, but by the time I got it back my husband was almost done eating. It was also nothing like it was described on the menu. My husband's had ordered one of the vegetarian options which also was not like it was described on the menu. We will not go there again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: littlej

        Well here's a mixed review of TJ Buckleys. We ate there last night and were at the same time impressed but ultimately disappointed. First, it is a lovely space, very intimate and it's always a treat to see the kitchen work (everything seemed to go quite tranquilly). The hostess and the chef were nice people.

        The food was hit and miss. The appetizer plate was pate with crackers, mustard, chutney. Pretty standard stuff, but tasty and enjoyable. Our mains were scallops with fried polenta, golden beets, and pork belly; and hangar steak with mashed potatoes. The scallops were great, the polenta done well, and the pork belly tasty. The steak dish was disappointing. When it hit my table the steak had cooled to room temperature, and it had done so for two reasons: 1) it was undercooked (rare when I asked for medium rare) and 2) the chef had 4 of these finishing at the same time, and they sat on the prep table for a few minutes prior to plating. In other words, by the time it got to me it had cooled down to a degree that made the steak less enjoyable than it could have been. The steak itself was ok, nothing to write home about. Lastly, we shared a chocolate cake for dessert, which was dry and really had nothing going for it.

        In addition to the food disappointments, each entree was $35. Anywhere else and these are $25 meals, particularly mine, which was no frills steak and potatoes. The emotionless cake was $7. I could justify such prices if the entrees were lights-out delicious, but they weren't, and considering the simplicity of the dishes, there didn't seem to be much to justify such prices.

      2. Hello Burton,
        Buckley's is indeed a worthwhile experience, if you never been. This miniscule upscale diner only has seating for about twenty people. They only offer four constantly changing entrees per night; one each of beef, poultry, fish & shellfish, Whatever's the chef's bought fresh that day is what goes on the plates and are innovative and expertly prepared. They don't take credit cards and reservations are imperative if you decided to go!


        T. J. Buckley's
        132 Elliot St, Brattleboro, VT 05301

        1. The Thai Garden on Main Street is one of my favorites in Brattleboro. Also, the Riverview Cafe (downtown near the green bridge to NH) can be very good and offers many choices made with fresh local ingredients. Top of the Hill Grill on Putney Road. The one time I went to Capers, I wasn't thrilled with my food..but my dining companion's dessert was amazing. For a casual lunch (don't expect great ambiance) the food Co-Op at the bottom of Canal Street/Main Street has some delicious, healthy choices.

          If you want breakfast or brunch, try the Chelsea Royal Diner on Rt. 9. If you decide to go the pizza route... I think the best in town is Village Pizza .....near exit 3 off I-91.

          Enjoy your stay in Brattleboro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm a 3rd generation Brattleboro resident..so I'm a tad partial to this wonderful, lively town)

          1 Reply
          1. re: vermontpoet

            All the suggestions are much appreciated. Am feeling much better now! Will post again following our visit.

          2. Does anybody have experience at Gillies in West Brattleboro?

            Gillies Restaurant
            911 Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harp00n

              Have not been there myself, but several friends/neighbors LOVE it and highly recommend it.

              1. re: Bri

                Thanks Bri,
                For some reason everyone I've asked said they know someone else whose gone. LOL!

                I guess it's time to bite the bullet, so to speak, and check it out myself :-))


            2. I haven't been to Brattleboro in a couple of years, but if Korean food appeals to you at all, definitely stop in at Shin-La on Main St. If it's still there, that is.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowfox

                Although we can find it fairly easily in NY, Korean certainly appeals. It's good to know Shin La merits a stop. Will keep this in mind. Thanks for the suggestion.

              2. I spent three summers in Putney and would often go to Brattleboro to eat, but be forewarned that this was about three years ago, so my suggestions might be out of date. There is a little bakery called Amy's on the main drag that has really excellent sandwiches and some of the best cookies I've ever had. They are open for lunch, and I ALWAYS stopped there. The times I went there, the Korean place was ok but not great - I would go there when I started to get desperate for Asian food - and it was definitely not anywhere near the places in Koreatown in NYC or Flushing. The Coop always had really great baked breads and scones and a wonderful selection of local cheeses that were delicious. Have a wonderful time and be sure to report back!

                1. Have been meaning to report back on our recent Brattleboro visit. As happens all too often, shifting circumstances abbreviated our stay and up-ended the original plans. So anyway...having learned that Peter Havens had just reopened we found ourselves there for dinner and in short it proved to be one of the best meals in recent memory - far superior to our last visit (which was pretty good). Impressive from start to finish (including outstanding rack of lamb), attentive service, perfectly paced, setting lovely as ever. Pricey sure, but very much firing on all cylinders as the saying goes. Wow. By contrast, Max's at the new Putney Rd location was a major disappointment. Uniformly indistinct preparations, pleasant but intermittant service, antiseptic environment...really sad to see how far they've fallen. Way overpriced to boot. Not sure how long they can be expected to survive in their current incarnation. On a passing note, a visit to the Farmers Market on 9 was fun and allowed us to load up on some fabulous fruit, vegetables and cheeses. Stops at Amy's Bakery and the Brat Coop in town were also worthwhile. Thanks again to all for your ideas. Look forward to continuing our area explorations in the coming months.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: burton

                    Max's hasn't been the same since the change of ownership (5 years ago?). The new owners never changed the menu (and never learned to prepare the items on it with any competance). I gave it two tries after the change of hands, and unless it changes hands again I'll never go back.

                    Too bad the new location is “antiseptic”. The old place was so charming. Anyone know what's happening at the old location?

                    1. re: GG Mora

                      I think the reason they moved is because the building in West Bratt was put on the market. Right now it is just an empty store front.

                  2. LOVE the Vt Country Deli at exit 2- awesome

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Ctcomfort

                      How come no response to this posting. the country deli has amazing variety and tastes and everything I have eaten there from a sandwich on fresh bread to a variety of entres has been great. I know it is not eat in but the quality has never varied. We stop for dinner there to bring with us to our friends in NH or up to our place in maine.....

                      1. re: jspear

                        I haven't been moved to try it because its at a cluster**** of a junction and getting into/out of the parking spaces are more trouble than its worth. Even if the food is great, there are so many other great places that are much more convenient for me.

                        1. re: Bri

                          Actually, the food is worth the parking difficulty.

                    2. I posted about Brattleboro a little while back under the topic of good food on I-91. (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/477644) But to add ideas: I have liked Capers. The bar at the Latchis has simple food (opens at 4 pm) and great micro-brews. The wine bar on Elliot street has lovely panini. Reasonable Indian and Thai in downtown. Don't know anything about the diner opposite Gouger's store (yes, that is its name!) on Canal St. There is also an italian on Main St, and the Backside Cafe is better than you might expect.

                      For water location, go to the Marina, not the Riverview, in my humble opinion.

                      As for TJ Buckley's, years ago I went the in the winter, and was seated below the a/c that leaked cold air to the point that I had to wear my overcoat, and the chef torched a steak so bad that we started coughing from the smoke! Haven't been back, but clearly they have fans.

                      Shame that the little hole in the wall middle eastern closed.

                      Mole's Eye cafe is at Main/High st intersection downstairs. Simple foods, good value, and Norman the bartender is the biggest doll!

                      1. Is Gillies a new place? I've been to most of the restaurants in the Brattleboro area and I've never heard of Gillies. What type of place is it?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                          Its primarily fish, they have a raw bar (or did). Its been open over a year, closer to 2 years.

                          1. re: Bri

                            Wow, don't know how that one slipped under my radar. Thanks, I'll have to give it a try one of these days.