Restaurants & Bars

River Garden Cafe, East Burke, VT

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River Garden Cafe, East Burke, VT

Justin Kerber | Aug 7, 2000 11:11 AM

I had dinner and Sunday brunch the following day this weekend at this killer little place in an off the beaten track town in the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont. My wife, Hope, and I found it on a cross-country ski trip in the winter of '98, and we've been back 3 times.

All the food is made with really fresh ingredients. The ownership and wait staff don't seem to have much turnover. The place is attractive, with gorgeous flower gardens and funky salt and pepper shakers. A decent local microbrew, Trout River, is on tap at the bar.

Their bruschetta changes daily but it's always excellent -- we've had it with tomato salsa and with spinach, garlic and goat cheese. The artichoke dip is a perennial favorite. Be sure to try the maple-balsamic salad dressing (everything in VT winds up with maple somewhere). I had a grilled halibut with citrus butter for dinner; Hope had NY strip steak, medium rare. We finished up with excellent berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

For Sunday brunch, we started with a cinnamon roll - easily the best I've ever had - and both had huevos rancheros. They were excellent, on a lightly toasted tortilla and with jalapeno that commanded some respect. We nearly had to be rolled out the door, and the whole brunch, plus juice and coffee, came to slightly less than $20.00.

East Burke is on VT Rte 114, off U.S. 5, which is in turn off Interstate 91, just past St. Johnsbury. Burke Mountain is a great area for cross country skiing in the winter. BTW, we've stayed at the Inn at Mountain View Creamery, which is a wonderful, quaint inn, with its own books, quaint painted wooden floors, super friendly staff, magnificent view of the mountain, and great service, but the breakfast in their restaurant, Darling's, is only OK. We've never been inspired to try their dinner when River Garden Cafe beckons. I've also heard good things about the wildflower B&B and the Cutter Inn, in the area.

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