Three Penny Taproom - Montpelier, VT
Had my birthday dinner in the new dining room at Three Penny Taproom on Main Street in Montpelier. We'd never eaten there before, never stopped in for beer (we don't drink) either. I was a bit disappointed by how small the menu was, but it wasn't awful. I was expecting it to be a bit larger since they expanded from just a pub to having a full dining room and they added a real kitchen, too.
The dining room is fresh and clean and bright. And echoy. It's a little loud when it's full. It's on the small side, but not uncomfortably so. Not what I'd called a good space for romance, but nice for a friendly get together and lingering over some great beers (I've heard they have great beers). Service was pleasant, though a little quirky.
For apps we ordered the cucumber gazpacho ($3) and chicken livers with mustard ($5) to share. She misunderstood me and brought me two cucumber gazpachos. Since my husband doesn't usually like soups and he was just going to taste mine, it was more of a "big deal" than it might otherwise be, but in the end I didn't mind too much because I enjoyed the gazpacho. I felt it was a little bit under seasoned, but I like a lot of salt with my cucumber. It wasn't bland, but I'd have preferred a bit more salt (there is no salt on the tables and I wasn't going to ask for any). It was around two ounces of soup in each serving, and with it being so nice and light, it was a nice app.
The chicken livers (5 of them) with grainy country mustard were perfect. Not overcooked at all, from local chicken (named Belinda, Tillie, Enid, and Carly, I'm kidding, I didn't ask the names ;D). They were lightly breaded with Red Hen bread crumbs and deep fried. The mustard pairing was really a good one, and I'm going to have to remember that. I have livers in the freezer in fact... I let my husband have four of them since I had a second gazpacho.
My husband and I both ordered a single patty burger ($8, the double burger is $11). Also local beef. I got cheddar and he got blue cheese. He opted out of the pickles and I had them on mine. We were able to get them cooked to order, which was lovely. We both got them medium rare, and they were perfectly cooked. They were really good burgers, though they were on the small side, served on perfect little buns suited exactly to their size. I think they might have been maybe three ounces? I'm trying to recall exactly but it's been a few days. They were served with absolutely wonderful fries (and they offer malt vinegar, NO where offers malt vinegar, I was so happy). Thin and crisp and home made. A very large serving of them, as well. I think a normal person (I've been surgically altered and don't eat as much at a sitting as a regular person) might still have found this meal perfectly satisfying. I was unable to finish my fries.
There were no desserts in the offing, and I might have saved room for one if there'd been a special one, but as it was we stopped for cake from Shaw's, which is fine. I LIKE grocery store cakes, too. :)
Total bill for us was $25 before tip. Like I said, neither of us drink alcohol and we just had water with the meal, so not bad for a birthday dinner out. :)
I suspect that part of the thing with the menu is that it's designed to pair well with various artisan beers or fancy wines, neither of which do anything for us. :) I do recommend this place highly, though. Anything I found lacking was more personal preference than something they did "wrong". :)
I'd understood from a 7 Days article that I'd read that now they have a -real- kitchen, and were going to be expanding their menu. Maybe they're trying to come up with good recipes, fresh, local, that pair well with their beers and such. :) Next special event, I'm going back to Salt, though. :)