American Flatbread and Smokejack's in Burlington, VT
My husband Jack and I were in Burlington VT last weekend and had a chance to try a couple of downtown places. Saturday night we went to American Flatbread. They don’t take reservations, and although we arrived quite early by our terms (5:45 or so) the place was already jammed, with people filling the bar and spilling out the door. We put our name in and had a drink at Vermont Pub and Brewery (I had a rather tasty Irish Ale) to while away the 1 hour wait. Luckily most of the restaurant area is separated a bit from the bar area so when we were eventually seated we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the waiting crowds. The place smells great because of the huge brick oven – very pleasant.
The menu is limited - a lot of tasty pizza options and one salad. That's it. But the pizza is darn good. The four of us shared two pies – ½ Punctuated Equilibrium (kalamata olives, goat cheese, roasted red pepers) and ½ sundried tomato mushroom, plus a full pepperoni and peppers. I thought that was a lot of pizza but we somehow made it all vanish, along with a piece of carrot cake and a plate of cookies with milk. Maybe the beer clouded our judgment? I had a really lovely house-made Belgian-style Tripel and Jack was thrilled to discover that they had Rodenbach on tap. They have a huge and varied beer list. While the pizza was plenty tasty and I like the fact that they use many local ingredients, it’s really the beer that would draw me back a second time. Total bill was just over $100 (though nearly half of the pre-tax/tip bill was due to beer.)
Sunday we had brunch at Smokejack’s with another set of friends. This is a charming, smallish bistro-style place. They started us off with a plate of mini-muffins, with good butter and preserves. Being a table of foodies we all shared:
organic fruit plate - A huge dish of assorted fruits, including exotic morsels like star fruit and papaya. Yummy stuff and a relative deal at $6.
eggs benedict on thick roasted bread with roast potatoes - Probably my least favorite simply because it wasn’t too unusual, though our friend who loves starch ranked this the best.
egg nog French toast with marscapone cream and real maple syrup - Again, I am not much for sweets in the morning but this was not over-sweet and I really liked the touch of marscapone.
turkey and sweet potato hash with polenta, scrambled eggs and tiny biscuits – This was delicious though much milder than any hash I’ve ever had (not surprising, but I rather missed the blow-to-the-head flavor of freshly made corned beef.) Polenta was terrific. #2 for everyone but Mr. Starch
cowboy skillet with tasso grits, scrambled eggs, and I can’t remember what else. Why can’t I remember? Because the tasso grits completely blew my mind! I had this first and only my good home training kept me from reneging on my agreement to share. Everyone but the aforementioned Mr. Starch completely swooned over this one. I would eat this every day except that my heart would probably explode.
We also indulged in an array of drinks – peach ginger tea, a couple of mango mimosas, a glass of sparkling rose (shockingly sweet, tasting much like Banfi’s Rosa Regale dessert sparkler) and a pomegranate sidecar (I’m just a sucker for the chance to find a good sidecar. This wasn’t one of the best I’ve had but it was tasty enough and had some nice complexity due to the pomegranate molasses.)
Service was pleasant and competent. Total bill was about $110 – pricey, but not when you consider the extent to which we indulged. I would go back to this place in a minute, and in fact, we really look forward to having a chance to go back for dinner sometime.
I love Flatbread and go there as often as is possible. I get the sausage pizza, though sometimes they have specials that encourage me to venture out of my comfort zone. The salad dressing is to-die-for, and if I'm able to muster some self-control on the pizza front I get the cheese on the salad (goat or blue) which is awesome as well. The wait has gotten out of hand, even at an early hour, but as long as I plan for it I don't mind. I've gone with adults and with kids; everybody loves it!