By Lettie Stratton
When I awoke Sunday morning to find only a few packets of Quaker instant oatmeal in my cupboards, I was more than a little disappointed. After arriving at Barkeaters the same evening, however, I was thankful that my empty cupboards left me hungry enough to devour three appetizers and two entrees that were presented to me and my dinner companion. It was quite a spread to say the least.
Our feast began with UFO Pumpkin beer, which happens to be one of my favorite parts of the autumn season that is now upon us in full force. After a few sips our server appeared with two steaming bowls of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup topped with a dollop of nutmeg crème fraiche and chopped green onions. Recently I have been sampling nearly every butternut squash soup in the city of Burlington and surrounding areas, but this one easily tops the list. Creamy and smooth with deliciously rich flavor, it was just what I needed to warm up on a chilly evening.
Between spoonfuls, we coined a new word, “Adirondacky,” to describe the ambiance. Perhaps “rustic chic” is better suited, but whatever your vocabulary preference is, it’s undeniable that Barkeaters provides a comfortable and cozy oasis from the chill that often threatens to dampen your spirits this time of year. Plaid valances hung on birch curtain rods while the forest green and burnt orange walls were decorated with canoe paddles and renderings of Adirondack wildlife. With subtle lighting and candlelit tables, it felt like my fellow restaurant-goers and I were gathered around our own individual mini campfires.
Once we had all but licked our bowls clean, a plate of golden brown Coconut Shrimp with sweet and sour mango chili sauce appeared, followed by the flatbread of the day—gorgonzola, caramelized onions, ham, and apples. All this and the main attractions were still to come.
I ordered Barkeaters’ Grilled Vegetable Quesadilla, which featured grilled zucchini, summer squash, multi-colored bell peppers, black bean hummus, baby spinach, and cheddar in a flour tortilla with a garden salad on the side topped with maple cider dressing. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.
My companion for the evening had the Ravioli du Jour: artichoke and roasted mushroom-stuffed raviolis in a mushroom, caraway, and bourbon cream sauce, garnished with Vermont chevre. We put up a valiant effort and ate as much as we could, but after three delicious appetizers, much of our entrees came home with us to be enjoyed at a later date.
Just when I was convinced I couldn’t possibly eat another thing, our server brought out house-made chocolate bark in birch canoe, which, as I understand it, is a Barkeaters tradition. Full stomach or not, I never say no to chocolate and embraced one last indulgence before walking out the door.
Barkeaters is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 am-9 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am-8 pm. Wednesdays are local burger and local beer nights at the restaurant. From 4:30-9 pm, enjoy a LaPlatte beef burger and a local draft beer for only $10. Reservations are recommended. Call (802) 985-2830, visit www.barkeatersrestaurant.com, or head over to 97 Falls Road to have your very own “Adirondacky” culinary experience.