Eater.com is the site to consult when searching for the best culinary destinations around your city. This past Monday, restaurant editor, Bill Addison, posted his list of New England’s 38 Essential Restaurants. Thanks to the rise in up-and-coming chefs in Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; and of course, the dominating cuisine scene in Boston, these locations dominate the list.
But Vermont proved to be quite the dark horse, with five fresh, progressive establishments of its own!
400 Pine Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Located in Burlington’s hip South End, ArtsRiot has been a long time in the making for cofounders PJ McHenry and Felix Wai. The concept is upscale bar food with a French twist. Menu items include Panko Fried Duck Egg, Beef TarTare, Black Garlic Chicken Ramen, Sweet Corn Ravioli, and some of the biggest, fattest cheeseburgers you have ever seen. Oh, they also have incredible housemade desserts created by executive chef, George Lambertson.
92 Stowe Street
Waterbury, VT 05676
Hen of the Wood was established in 2005 to provide a “true Vermont culinary experience” in the heart of Stowe. The owners are committed to using only the freshest farm-to-table ingredients and finest cheeses from local farmers and artisans. They consider their menu “simple, uncomplicated and down-to-earth” with options like Grilled Octopus with Sunchokes, Scallions & Ginger, Maine Lobster with Parsnips, Picked Apple & Crispy Ham, and Hen of the Woods Mushroom Toast with House Bacon & a Poached Farm Egg. There is also an entire page of fresh, local cheese options!
52 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
KISMET means fate, or good karma, and this chef-owned and operated restaurant prides themselves on spreading good vibes through their food. The farm to table restaurant offers menus created with whole foods, and the chefs are happy to accommodate special diets including vegan, paleo, and gluten free. They offer a fabulous weekend brunch and a superb dinner menu Wednesday through Saturday. They also have an extensive menu of custom designed cocktails to choose from.
46 Main Street
Winooski, VT 05404
Located in the unsuspecting suburb of Winooski, Misery Loves Co, is the brainchild of chef-owners Aaron Josinsky and Nathaniel Wade. The ever-changing dinner menus focus on turning familiar favorites into unrecognizably wild versions of themselves. In spring, try the free-form lasagna with homemade nettle leaf pasta ribbons, layered with ricotta, and covered in mushroom broth. In summer, look for Vermont-caught crawfish served naked on stoneware plates. They also serve weekend brunch and a wide array of creative cocktails.
95 Middletown Road
South Londonderry, Vermont 05155
Owned and operated by local couple, Chloe & Wesley Genovart, their extensive food and drink menus take advantage of Vermont’s distinct seasons. The SoLo Farm & Table website declares:
“Our menu is constantly changing, dictated primarily by the seasons, what we are pulling out of our own gardens, or what we have sourced from local farmers and growers. All of our meat is sourced locally, sometimes as local as just up the street. We buy whole animals and butcher everything in house utilizing the entire animal for a variety of applications. It is not uncommon to see a whole lamb hanging in our walk-in cooler or better yet being carried through our doors during service. Fresh fish is sourced from small purveyors and fisherman who have small client lists and very high standards. We love pasta; so you will always find some on our menu. All of the pastas are made and rolled by hand, here, by us. These are the mainstays of the menu. The consistent thread that holds it all together is above everything else, quality, sustainability, locally sourced and of course it has to taste good.”