Because the restaurant had not yet opened when I visited the hotel (it's slated to welcome diners in late August 2013), colleagues and I joined Hotel Vermont General Manager Hans van Wees for dinner at the original Hen of the Wood. On Monday evenings, the Waterbury restaurant serves a mix of smaller plates perfect for sharing, so I sampled everything from salted and buttered radishes to grilled octopus. Three of my favorite dishes are pictured above:
- Lobster, Spring-Dug Parsnip & Pickled Rhubarb with Crispy Ham;
- Fried Oysters (which paired perfectly with Heady Topper, the world's best-rated beer, crafted at The Alchemist Brewery, also in Waterbury); and
- Crispy Pork Belly, Ginger, Pickled Strawberries & Cilantro.
Warnstedt is renowned for serving the best of what's fresh from Vermont's farms and gourmet food producers. With their shared commitment to local vendors, Hotel Vermont's partnership with Hen of the Wood should be a perfect marriage.