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2 Brattleboro Restaurants Closed

l
littlej Jul 18, 2008 08:42 PM

Both Capers and 39 Main have closed. The Marina will not be open this winter. I think some of this has to do with the economy.

  1. Jimmy Cantiello Aug 4, 2008 06:45 AM

    Alici's Bistro opened just a little more than a year ago in Brattleboro. I finally got a chance to have dinner there this past weekend. I've been wanting to try this place for a while now.

    If they stay consistent I think that the two best restaurants in Brattleboro, Peter Havens and T.J. Buckley's has some serious competition. Alici's Bistro gets good marks for food, ambiance and service. The owner Musa Alici has opted to present a very limited menu. Apparently he is trying to avoid the pitfall of spreading himself too thin. Mr. Alici refers to himself as "The Mad Turk". He might be mad but he's also very talented.

    The joint is nicely decorated and the attention to detail is apparent. There's an upstairs dining room and a bar downstairs as well as an outside deck that has live music on certain nights.There were three of us for dinner. I started with escargot cooked with white wine, garlic, butter, crème fraîche and served with toast points. My brother-in-law got the Maine crab cakes which were served with organic mesclun greens and spicy aioli. My wife opted for the Bistro Dip consisting of spinach, artichoke and spicy pita chips. I think the dip would have been a better selection for a "whole table" kind of thing as opposed to an individual starter. But it was good nonetheless. All the appetizers were given two thumbs up by our party.

    As a main course I went with the rack of lamb. When our server asked how I wanted it cooked I said what I always say when I order lamb, "tell the chef to cook it the way it should be cooked". That way I always get my rack of lamb cooked perfectly. The lamb came with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked asparagus. The "mashed potatoes" were closer to "whipped" but they still tasted great. My wife got one of the two specials of the evening, grilled sea bass. It was a generous portion of fish but I can't remember the sides that came with it. I was too busy devouring my lamb to notice what she had for sides. Bro-in-law got the grilled filet mignon served with blue cheese au gratin potatoes and asparagus. He and I also shared a full order of that night's homemade pasta which is described as "fresh pasta at the whim of the chef". The chef's whim on Saturday was fresh fettucine in a garlic sun-dried tomato cream sauce topped with three grilled shrimp. It was heavenly. The chef made his rounds of the tables that night. When he came to our table he wanted to know which person had such confidence in him to allow him to cook the lamb as he wished. He also got a kick out of the fact that three people ordered four entrees. I told him I do it all the time. By the way, many entrees come as half orders with a not quite 50% reduction in prices.

    Alici's has an extensive and reasonably priced wine list. We got a bottle of George Debouef Beaujolais for the grand sum of $19.00 (according to the tab). It was listed on the wine list as costing $21.00, still reasonable. Our server, Graham, guessed that the wine list price reflected the tax. Their bar is referred to as a "martini bar" and sure enough they mix excellent martinis and other martini-like drinks as well, along with all the other usual suspects.

    I highly recommend Alici's Bistro for a fine dining experience and I will surely be back there. It's a little out of the way so I hope "The Mad Turk" can make a go of it.

    1. l
      littlej Jul 19, 2008 09:03 PM

      I actually made a mistake about 39 Main, it is not closed yet, but did hear that most likely it will be closing. I think The Marina must cost too much to heat in the winter or maybe it just does not do the amount the business it does in the nicer weather. I have been to Alici's 3 times. I loved their escargot, but the last time we went they changed the way they prepared it and it was as good. I am not a fan of crab cakes but I hear that their's are good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: littlej
        o
        OHfresser Jul 21, 2008 07:50 AM

        Can you worthy chowhounds suggest an upscale restaurant in Brattleboro where I can host a party of 14 on Saturday night two weeks from now? We have a reasonably broad range of tastes.

        1. re: OHfresser
          Jimmy Cantiello Jul 21, 2008 08:11 AM

          Wow, 14 people is a pretty big party. I would suggest my favorite Brattleboro restaurant, Peter Havens, but since the place is kind of small I'm not so sure they could handle that big of a party. Maybe if you contact Thom, one of the owners and a very engaging fellow, well enough in advance, he could set something up for you. Here's the website.

          http://www.peterhavens.com/

          1. re: Jimmy Cantiello
            o
            OHfresser Jul 21, 2008 11:46 AM

            Looks promising. Thanks. I'll tell Thom you sent me.

            1. re: OHfresser
              Jimmy Cantiello Jul 21, 2008 12:52 PM

              While Thom would surely recognize me I doubt if he would connect the name to the face. One of the reasons I like Peter Havens is that he makes it a point to approach each and every table to explains the evening's specials and he usually returns at least once during the meal to make sure everything is alright.Very personable guy. Hell, everyone in the joint bends over backwards to accommodate.

      2. Jimmy Cantiello Jul 19, 2008 05:22 AM

        Sorry to hear this. I've never been to Capers but intended to try it in the near future. I guess that won't happen now. I had a really good experience the one time I went to 39 Main. Sorry to see it go. The Marina is okay in it's own way but I'm less than devastated to hear it won't be open for the winter. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to trying Alici's Bistro the next time I'm in Brattleboro. My wife and I stopped there a few weeks ago for drinks and it looked very promising for dinner.

        http://www.alicisbistro.com/Home.html

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jimmy Cantiello
          javaandjazz Jul 20, 2008 10:02 AM

          Jim,
          Was 39 Main the restaurant we went to?

          1. re: javaandjazz
            Jimmy Cantiello Jul 21, 2008 03:11 AM

            Yep, that's the one.

        2. r
          RichK Jul 19, 2008 03:42 AM

          Capers was hit and miss over the last several months, never knew when it would be open etc. 39 Main changed with the new owners, charged $$$$ for small portions.
          While the Marina is not top quality, it has a loyal following and I am surprised about them closing for the winter. I am sure the oil prices etc have something to do with it.

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