Thank you to everyone on this board who helped with recommendations in Manchester. Though we went last month, I wanted to post a review of where we ate before it got too late.
First lunch was at Sushi Boat - recommendation of a friend who is here often. Very fresh rolls, and yummy standard sushi restaurant food, including shumai, edamame and seaweed salad.
Dinner at the Dorset Inn was highlighted by the cozy fireplace table we had, and the tomato-fennel soup and beet salad first courses we ordered.
We really enjoyed the cheddar fondue at the Marsh Tavern at the Equinox, including the hot pretzel nuggets for dipping.
Dinner at Gringo Jack's was a nice surprise. We had trepidations based on some reviews on chowhound, but figured those might be out of date - and we really weren't looking for much. But they have fresh and addictive chips, excellent salsa, fresh guacamole with plenty of cilantro, a strong Hornitos margarita and the BBQ brisket tacos were perfectly balanced between tangy, spicy and sweet.
Another good lunch spot, this time for great sandwiches and hearty, beefy chili, was Ponce.
All of these places were solid and recommended for good meals. The highlight of the trip though, from an eating perspective if not the whole thing, was Silver Fork. Chef Mark French and his wife Melody run the most delightful, cozy, and lovely 6 table restaurant, plus 6 seats for bar eating. I've never seen my wife take so long to decide what to order - each of us could have had five first courses and five main courses. We settled on tuna tartare for her (with the most yummy warm plantain "chips" you could imagine) and tuna carpaccio for me (accented by capers and onions). For our mains, my wife had a veggie bake of sautéed eggplant and other veggies, roasted garlic and goat cheese. I had Wiener schnitzel (owing to the chef's five year apprenticeship with a German chef). Probably the best I've had anywhere. Dessert was chocolate mousse served in an almond brittle cup. We devoured everything. Wine was matched to each dish by Melody, who runs the front of the house and tells stories of the couple's moves from Baltimore to KC to Toronto to Puerto Rico to St. Louis to Manchester, all working in hotels and restaurants. The town is lucky to have them and we'll be back this way just to eat here.
Sushi Boat, 4971-3 Main Street, Manchester, VT (www.sushiboatvt.com)
Dorset Inn, 8 Church Street & Route 30, Dorset, VT (www.dorsetinn.com)
Marsh Tavern, The Equinox Resort, 3567 Main Street Rte 7A, Manchester, VT (www.equinoxresort.com)
Gringo Jack's, 5103 Main Street, Manchester, VT (www.gringojacks.com)
Ponce, 4659 Main Street, Manchester, VT (www.poncebistro.com)
Silver Fork, 4201 Main Street, Manchester, VT (thesilverforkvt.com)