Thursday, June 5, 2014
River Stones Tavern, Quechee VT
We recently traveled north, up to the beautiful state of Vermont, for a quiet dinner at River Stones in Quechee. It amazes me that, after traveling all over the world, how often I don't get out more often to enjoy the wonders of New England. Stepping into the ornate, oversized doors made us feel as though we were entering a real tavern from a bygone era, far from the noise and rush of the city we are so used to. The tavern is comfortably rustic and filled with locals enjoying dinner, conversation and, as the night progressed, live music, a great spot to kick back and experience a meal on a weekend getaway.
We began with the White Sangria, a cold, fruity drink that quenched the thirst after the ride from Boston. It's about two hours but the scenery makes the time rush by, filled with green vistas and blue skies.
We began nibbling on the Charcuterie Platter. Onion Jam, fresh Vermont Cheeses and Paté accompanied warm, crispy slices of bread.
I went with the Slow Braised New England Beef With Garlic Mash and Horseradish Cream. It's so difficult to photograph the shiny surface that this picture does no justice to the tender, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Hearty and satisfying, it was excellent comfort food.
Dean went with the Grilled Hanger Steak With Crispy Potatoes, Maple-Glazed (of course) Carrots and Spinach. Again, exactly the kind thing one would expect on a plate of good country food.
We could not pass up the chance to sample the Baked Mac and Cheese With Four Cheeses (Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar and Parmesan). It was creamy and the pasta was well-done but we'd suggest more cheese flavor for a truly outstanding dish. Perhaps a sharper cheddar or an asiago.
This Rhubarb Crumble was spot-on, however. Flavorful, sweet, crispy and topped with a nice scoop of buttery vanilla ice cream, one of our favorite dishes.
The Parsnip Cake was a surprisingly excellent take on the more typical carrot cake, which I find can be mealy or overly chewy. Not this. I'd never had it before but became an instant fan, well-worthy of a stop just for this and a cup of coffee.
The deep pizza oven and it's fiery flames called to us. Although we did not have the chance to experience the pizza, we did see quite a few locals stopping in for take-out to start off their weekend.
I've described the place to friends as rustic-comfy with good, hearty modern American fare using fresh, local sources. Do stop in if you're in the area.
And if you have not been in the area then this scene should make you want to go soon. It's so quiet and peaceful, such a great antidote for the stress and strife, the traffic and tribulations of city life, which we love, of course, but do welcome an occasional break from. Wander into the General Store in Barnard for a great breakfast at the lunch counter, walk through the main street in Woodstock, amble under a covered bridge and enjoy the fact that you are in a place where people actually smile at you and say hello.
River Stones Tavern
6391 Woodstock Road
Quechee, VT 05059