Vermont's Windham Hill Inn For Serious Foodies

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Acclaimed as one of Southern Vermont’s finest restaurants, Windham Hill Inn has earned a well-deserved reputation for its eclectic menus with creative flourishes. The restaurant is part of a quaint and authentic resort, which is true to New England style in that it is oozing with charm inside and out.
Be sure to also check out our standalone review on the inn as well, an amazing luxurious getaway in the middle of rural Vermont, which is ideal for rest and relaxation or weekend romance. While the inn may be remote, the restaurant sit sin the main house and is off-the-charts for quality, presentation and service. In other words, there’s no need to leave the property to eat well. Extremely well!
Guests can choose between an a la carte menu, with premium appetizers, fresh salads and savory entrees or for the ultimate splurge, you can try their signature six course tasting menu where each course is paired with the finest selection of wine.  Salad and soup options include a little gem salad, pickled red onion, capers, crostini and roasted garlic, a winter green salad with apples, candied walnuts and shaved gruyere and a Parsnip Bisque with brown butter and fried sage.
The presentation is exquisite and their attention to detail is top notch, from remembering your name every time you walk through the door, choosing the perfect table depending on your personality and needs to the service and the dishes themselves.

While I was tempted to go for the oysters on the half shell, I had to remind myself that I was in the middle of the glorious Vermont mountains, not a seaside resort in Maine. If you want to stay on the light side however, aside from their fresh salads, they offer a delicious cucumber kimichi with pickled ginger, cilantro, scallion and sesame oil, the Twin Diver Scallops with fettuccini, fennel and chili and a Beef Tartar with Capers, Olives and Anchovies, Horseradish Aioli and Crostini.

If calories aren’t a concern, you’re not a vegetarian and are a serious foodie, then go for their seared New England filet mignon served with broccolini, celery root puree and a cabernet-demi glace sauce. Fish lovers will appreciate the grilled amberjack and sesame bok choy and sticky rice crusted seared tuna, which they prepare with carrot and coriander puree, marinated cucumbers, olive salsa and Harissa Aioli. We ended up going for a tasting style menu so we could try out the wide array of dishes they had to offer, starting with the Beef Tartare, which they served with an Austrian rose. I’m not a fan of rose in general and found myself quietly thinking that I wish they would have paired the tartare with anything other than Rose but Dan, the wine steward nailed it. The pairing couldn’t have been more perfect!


I found myself trusting Dan more and more as he continuously surprised me with his pairing recommendations. Next came the Maine Lobster Salad over cucumber kimchi, grilled pineapple and coconut emulsion, which he served with a white burgundy (2011 Maison Roche de Bellene Vieilles Vignes from Bourgogne France). Whoah Nellie Dan, what did you say? I wasn’t listening as carefully by the time the traditional cornbread and chorizo stuffed with local “Cavendish game birds” quail showed up. Yum!!
Their Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon is by far one of the best foie gras I’ve had in a long long time. It holds a candle to restaurants in Paris and Montreal, including Bistro L’Aromate and Pied de Cochon (see our write up on Montreal food). The chef sometimes prepares it with caramelized fennel, huckleberry jam, citrus supreme and a toasted brioche.
They also serve it with poached pear, honey-mison Zabaglione and roasted Marcona almonds. It was so good I could have easily returned night after night for a week and ordered the same dish. The foie gras was paired with a Chardonnay d’Arenberg from Adelaide Australia. At first, I was convinced they made a mistake on the label – it was the sweetest Chard I’ve ever tasted, so much so that it could easily be mistaken for a dessert wine.  Its perfectly sweet flavor cut the richness of the foie gras beautifully and frankly, my palette is still doing cartwheels weeks later.


This was followed by a scrumptious rabbit sausage and a confit pork belly, served with bacon and dashi broth. The latter was unusually prepared given our remote Vermont location. Tossed over udon noodles, it was served with pickled mushrooms and a poached local quail egg (see below). While it was on the salty side (well spiced however), the White Rhone Blend from Paso Robles was once again a great choice for a wine pairing, enough to leave my head spinning and my mouth smiling ear-to-ear.




Before the red meat arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by the Burrata with Roasted Winter Squash served with Orange Blossom Honey and Mushroom Conserva.


Then, alas, the meats arrived, starting with their renowned five spice seared Holland Deer Farm Vermont venison loin, served with black pepper spaetzle, braised red cabbage and Huckleberry Demi Glace, followed by a pan roasted Tamarind Duck Breast, which they served with sun choke puree, roasted mushrooms, watercress and citrus salad and a orange tamarind sauce. They paired the venison with a Mourvedre Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol France (1998) and the duck was served with a 2010 Chateau L’Argentier Cinsault, Vielles Vignes Languedoc from France.




Other entrees for foodies taking notes, include a Pan Roasted Misty Knoll Chicken, Smoked Fingerling Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon with Madeira Wine Jus, a Sweet Potato and Vermont Blue Cheese Ravioli with Thyme Roasted Parsnips and apples in a cider cream and the Pan Roasted Wild Striped Bass, with sesame bok choy and sticky rice over miso broth.

While we may have overdone it a bit given the numerous luscious choices and the fact that we were planning to hit Stratton Mountain’s ski slopes the next day, we somehow ended up tasting a couple of their desserts as well. Their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake, served with lemon curd, macaroon and granita was so light and ‘airy’ enough, I somehow didn’t have as much guilt as I would have had we splurged on a dark chocolate souffle, except that…..we ordered one of those as well.



Below is the flourless chocolate torte, served with a mint ice cream and sea salt.



Names you should write down and seek out are the magicians behind our evening: David Crone, the Executive Chef and Daniel Pisarczyk, the Restaurant Manager and Wine Steward. Our waitress Amy was also top notch so if she’s still there when you pop by, ask for her.

You should also note the suburb service and care that innkeeper Kayja Matthews gives to Windham Hill Inn’s guests, whether that be for a full blown experience at the inn or only for dinner at the restaurant. Her background is of German descent and there is a wonderful German-infused influence in both the restaurant and the inn.



Below is a private dining room guests can reserve in advance, also in the main house.



Windham Hill Inn is located north of West Townshend Vermont on the road to Windham, approximately 1 1/2 miles from Vermont Route 30.

Note: I was hosted by the Windham Hill Inn but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I LOVED this place and can’t say enough positive things about my experience at the inn and dining at the restaurant …..and the service was out of this world.

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