For one of our last dinners in Vermont we went to Mary’s Restaurant at the Inn at Baldwin Creek. Mary’s menu uses ingredients sourced from small local farms as well as their own garden. They serve dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, and Sunday breakfast. Mary’s Chef, Doug Mack, was a founder and first president of the Fresh Network, an organization that encourages farmers and chefs to form partnerships. Needless to say, I was excited for the meal.
Once seated, we were presented with some crackers and white bean olive oil spread. Both were delish.
This was followed by Mary’s rustic, home baked bread. I could have made this bread my entire meal. It was delightfully crisp on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Slathered with butter, it was a slice (or several) of heaven.
To start, I had the summer salad: watermelon, feta and pine nuts over fresh-picked garden greens, drizzled with honey-herb vinaigrette. I wanted more watermelon in my salad, but enjoyed the fact that it came in tasty little globes, reminding me of my childhood when I used to make fruit salad with my mother’s melon baller.
Dave’s dad ordered the beef speidini: olive oil and herb marinated beef and bread skewers paired with rosemary skewered cherry tomatoes. I’m not a fan of things skewered on rosemary, but the dish was beautifully presented and my father-in-law seemed happy with the meat.
Dave and my mom both went with the cream of garlic soup, voted “best soup in Vermont,” by Vermont Magazine. I didn’t have any, but the consensus was that it was good but heavy. It was a bit too creamy for my mother, but right up Dave’s alley, though he couldn’t finish it, a rarity.
Moving on the entrees. My mother and my mother-in-law had the sea scallops: grilled scallops and grilled red onion-tomato relish with lemon-garlic vinaigrette; sided with couscous salad. I found the presentation of the entrees to be quite artful, as evidenced by the scallops. The portions were also quite generous.
Dave and his dad both had the flank steak: Boyden Farm flank grilled and sliced; served on mashed potatoes with pepper-onion relish and bruleed Jasper Hill blue cheese. Dave described the meat as tender and the vegetables as flavorful. The blue cheese, which comes in a large chunk that is falling apart thanks to the brulee, paired excellently with the meat.
I went with beet gnocchi: tossed with chopped beets, crispy sage and walnuts; sage brown butter. I was a bit disappointed. First off, I found it too oily. Second, the gnocchi itself lacked flavor, though I did enjoy the pieces of roasted beet that came mixed in.
Dessert didn’t have many takers, we were all quite full. Dave’s dad ordered the crepe with strawberry and chocolate sauce. Somehow I think that orange was involved too, maybe in the crepe.
Dave went for the peach shortcake with fresh whipped cream. Again, I was a bit disappointed. The shortcake lacked flavor and was way to spongy to be called a shortcake. The peaches were stunning in their own right, but weren’t enough to redeem the dessert in my opinion.
All said, the ingredients are the star at Mary’s. Set in the corner room of a cozy inn, it’s the perfect spot for a nice quiet dinner with family. You can even take a stroll in the garden before dinner and see where some of you meal comes from. It was worth the 35-minute drive from Waitsfield.