Restaurant recs in Southern/Central Vermont
i have always had good luck with tj buckley's in brattleboro. it's fairly pricey, but worth it. definitely call for reservations as it's very small, and takes cash only. has 5-6 tables in an old diner car.no written menu, because it changes weekly an reflects local produce availability. i checked and couldn't fin much here on it, although i've heard that people have mixed feelings about it. there's usually one meat, one fish, one poultry and one veggie entree, sometimes more. intimate place that is nice for lingering. it's always closed monday & tuesday, sometimes wednesdays as well. i'm sure you can catch reviews from other sites.
If you stop in Brattleboro, I think you would like Peter Haven's much better. At TJ's you get what the chef cooks that day, not much variety. And if you get an early reservation, there is not much time for lingering as the chef is ready for the next guest.
A little further up Rte 30 you also have the Four columns Inn and The Old Newfane Inn in Newfane VT.
My new favorite is Alici's Bistro in Brattleboro. It's a real gem. The staff were so thoughtful and eager to please, and everything I ordered was terrific. I had a spinach-mushroom salad with honey-goat cheese vinaigrette, the fillet mignon, with grilled asparagus, and bleu cheese au gratin potatoes. Dessert was a delicious, light, maple creme tart. Alici's has fine wines, coffees, and a great martini bar as well. I would be happy to try any of their dishes (except the escargot, duck or beef carpaccio -- i won't eat them anywhere though).
Also, Curtis' Barbeque in Putney is OUTSTANDING; A total Vermont roadside dining necessity. Curtis' is outdoor dining, with plenty of shelter if needed. Orders are taken at a window in an old, beat up, bright blue school bus, and the ribs are grilled for hours, on a huge, open grilling table beside the bus, by Curtis (of Macon, GA) himself. Very popular on sunny weather weekends, and open from 11 - 'til dusk, seasonally. It's hard to miss: on the east side of the road, Rte 5, about one block into Putney, from Brattleboro. Then take a drive further north, and sample the Putney Corner Creamy ice cream shop, on the right side of the Putney Diner (also seasonal).
My husband and I dined at Alici's Bistro last night for an anniversary dinner. It was a really nice meal with outstanding service. A few glitches here and there but we realized that our waitress was the only one handling every single table and she kept a smile on her face and a positive attitude all throughout our time there. She really was awesome, her name is Sarah.
We started with cocktails (one martini, one mojito) both very good, however, it took us so long to get them that we were already done with our bread/hummus/oil/olives starter. I have no idea why the bartender or the busboy couldn't deliver our drinks (they are made downstairs at the martini bar), but our first course arrived before we had our cocktail. Because the first course that arrived wasn't what we specified to be our first course, we sent it back and asked for the cocktails to be brought first and then the oysters that we ordered. Our waitress apologized and was happy to correct the situation.
The oysters rockefeller were tasty and delicious.
Next course was the chilled cucumber dill soup for him and the spinach and mushroom salad for me. The goat cheese vinaigrette was amazing. I ordered a glass of viognier to go with my salad and it was really nice. SO wasn't as fond of the cucumber soup, but I tasted it and thought the yogurt was a nice, tart addition. His favorite cucumber dill doesn't have yogurt, so I think he was just being jaded - it really was tasty. Almost along the lines of a mild raita.
Since they were out of the salmon entree, we both went for the pasta of the day which was a sirloin tips/mushroom/onion fresh egg fettuccini. Great flavor and a large portion, we both had leftovers. It was nice to see that the sirloin tips were cooked to a medium, not well done. We paired this dish with a merlot by the glass, another nice accompaniment.
For dessert we had ruby port, maple macchiatos and shared a berry tart. All wonderful. The berry tart was so refreshing and bright and fruity tasting, there was no cream filling it was all fruit and crust and a perfect ending to a heavier pasta dish.
All in all, just really nice food, earnest service, fantastic atmosphere and views. We already made reservations for my birthday dinner next month.