Dinner at Shelburne Farms- Shelburne, VT
My husband and I had dinner last night at the Inn at Shelburne Farms for our anniversary. It was a gorgeous night and we had an early reservation.
We started off the evening by ordering glasses of wine and walking around the garden. The roses were in full bloom and it was really beautiful.
When it was time to be seated, we were given a choice of sitting inside or outside. It was a little buggy and there were several tables already taken outside, so we chose to eat in the dining room. We were given a lovely table in the back where we could both face the outside and see the lake.
Our server was very friendly, professional and attentive, and I ordered the fried oysters as an appetizer (my husband didn't want an appetizer.) Before it arrived, we were brought a free "shot" of warm soup made with vegetables from the garden. It was absolutely delicious and a lovely decadent surprise. Afterwards, we were brought a sampling of baby vegetables from the garden served with sweet butter... they were really amazing and my husband and I were very smiley, giddy and happy!
Before my oysters came out, another couple were brought into the dining room and seated right next to us (the whole rest of the dining room was empty.) I've worked in restaurants in the past, and this...to me... is a real no-no. It was early enough in the evening to seat them elsewhere, and they obviously felt uncomfortable (as did my husband and I.) When their server arrived, they asked to be seated at another table.
The server gave them two choices... a table outside or the OTHER table next to us! They chose the table inside next to us apprehensively, but you could tell they were not happy. Quite honestly, it was a little weird and it felt strange having the only other people in the restaurant so close to us on our anniversary. We didn't complain though, as we had been there for a while and didn't want to make a scene. As a side note, we were there for over two hours and people didn't start filtering into the dining room until we were getting ready to order dessert. When we left, there were still numerous tables available for couples.
My oysters were served with a chili mayo on a bed of salt (unedible) and the presentation was beautiful. They oysters were perfectly fried and the mayo had just the right amount of spice. My husband doesn't like oysters and didn't want to share, so I was the happiest girl alive at that point (lol!)
For dinner, both my husband and I ordered the grass fed beef with parmesan fries and creamed spinach. To be honest, it was a little disappointing. There was a lot... a mean a lot... of fat on both cuts of meat, and it was incredibly salty. I wouldn't say it was a bad meal, but we were both a little bummed. Everything was cooked perfectly, but the salt and the fat were a little too much for us.
Finally, we ordered strawberry shortcake to share for dessert. It was absolutely perfect... the strawberries were at the peak of freshness, the biscuit was soft and buttery, and the whipped cream was perfectly sweetened. We were practically licking the bowl when we were finished!
Overall, we had a mixed experience... sitting so close to another couple in an empty dining room was a bit uncomfortable, and our main meals were a bit disappointing. But the free farm samples, appetizer, dessert and service were absolutely blissful... and I mean blissful.
Okay, TonyO... I know you're heading there on Wednesday. Let me know what you think when you return!
We ate at Shelburne Farms a few years ago (maybe 4 or 5 years, I think). It has been a while and I'm sure staff has changed over, but ...
The grounds and restaurant were lovely, but I recall that we felt that we had a much better dinner at Trattoria Delia in Burlington. Just down the road from Shelburne.
Thanks for the review. My wife and I had a similar "mixed" experience last October, just before it closed for the winter. We love the place, the gardens, the beautiful dining room, but some of the food was off-target, some of the food was fantastic. There is definitely a bit of an "attitude" with the management there that is offputting, and your experience resonated with us as quite familiar.