A breathtaking meal in "the prettiest small town in America"
Back in the early '90's while teaching the late night classes at the erstwhile New York Restaurant School and French Culinary Institute, we used to frequent a then brand new late night chef's hangout, Blue Ribbon, in Soho. It was loud, boisterous and fun and the food was always incredible. I hadn't eaten there for years, but always knew of their astounding food and party atmosphere ~ if sometimes elitist service.
Imagine my surprise - when on a ski trip to Killington and a day trip to explore Woodstock, Vt we stopped in for dinner at the picture perfect Woodstock Inn (after my having enjoyed an amazing sandwich there for lunch the previous day). The menu was very "un-New England" though they go out of their way to source local purveyors.
After the first bite of the Beef Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade, Crispy Parsley & Challah Toast (why did this seem so familiar??) I had to know who was in the kitchen. I got into a conversation with the front of the house manager (who had worked in Mario Batali's kitchen for 3+ years) who told me that they have a "team of chefs", That a couple of years earlier, the team from Blue Ribbon (yes, THAT Blue Ribbon) had come up to the Woodstock Inn to revamp their restaurant. WOW! And revamp they did!
Well, the meal - from start to finish - was nothing short of breathtaking. The simple Farmer's Salad with grilled vegetables, mizuna, goat cheese and a yummy balsamic vinaigrette - which we split - was enormous and tasted like spring. I had perfectly roasted cod with grilled fennel and supremed sections of orange and lime; my husband had the Bavette Steak with a peppercorn & cognac sauce that was so rich in demi-glace it almost made your eyes roll backwards in your head.
They brought us a fabulous, at the same time light and rich dessert of blackberries and orange slices poached in a vanilla ginger syrup with buffalo milk yogurt. Oh, yum!
I think I need to go back today for lunch for the Duck Confit Salad with mizuna, oyster mushrooms and roasted potatoes.
Dinner here is everything wonderful about Blue Ribbon without the noise, the crowds and the pretension.