• Grab a bite at The Barn tucked away in Pawlet
    By Steve Peters
    Rutland Bites | June 19,2014
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    photo provided
    When I consider the quintessential Vermont dining experience, I envision mountain views and rustic charm. I hear energetic folk music and the clinking of pint classes. I taste farm– fresh veggies and local meat bursting with flavor. In the winter, I'm warmed by a crackling fire and in the summer, I'm delighting in my surroundings in outdoor seating. Little did I know, I was imagining The Barn.

    To city folk like myself, The Barn, nestled in the Mettowee Valley of Pawlet, is a bit of a hidden gem. To locals, it's the go-to place whether for a quality meal or to grab a drink and enjoy some music. From Rutland, it's a leisurely 45 minute drive down Route 133 that's nothing short of picturesque right now.

    If you are heading from Rutland, be sure, unlike me, you're not already famished before leaving; otherwise it might seem like quite a long drive. If coming from Manchester, however, it's just a quick 25 minute ride.

    Although I was skeptical that a good restaurant could be found in a place that felt so far off the beaten path, my doubt dissipated upon walking in the door and stepping into the cozy tavern. I was surprised to find that the expansive two floor dining room was already well booked by the time we called that afternoon. Yet we were still able to make a reservation downstairs in the tavern, and that was just fine. At first we were concerned that we'd be limited to just the tavern menu, but were happy to find that the restaurant menu is also offered downstairs.

    We didn't want to miss out on one of the great features of dining at The Barn $13 entrees. I'm not sure how they do it, but all of the menu entrees — everything from Filet Mignon and New York Strip to sea scallops and broiled haddock — are just $13. The entrees are decent sized portions too, not downsized to reflect the reasonable price, and include rolls, a potato or rice side and seasonal vegetables. For just three dollars more, you can add a field greens salad and get a taste of their house made Maple-Dijon dressing, which I recommend you do.

    Outside of the staple entrée selection of beef, chicken, seafood and pasta, The Barn offers dinner specials at more expected, yet still fair prices. You'll also find dinner salads and a nice selection of appetizers, if you're not seeking such a filling entrée.

    I ordered the Chicken Mettowee, one of their classics. In this dish, two pieces of chicken breast are layered with prosciutto and cheddar cheese then coated in a basil cream sauce. The result is a perfect balance of richness and earthiness, and it couldn't be more fitting for a place called The Barn. A crispy baked potato and side of thin, fresh asparagus stalks made for a good pairing.

    If you're looking for a wide selection of on-tap brews, this may not be the place for you. They do, however, carry an extensive selection of bottled beers, and some good finds too. Blue Point's Oatmeal Stout and Magners Irish Cider were happily enjoyed at our table. A reasonably priced wine menu and a well-stocked bar are also options.

    I love living in downtown Rutland and having the ability to walk almost everywhere I need to go, but it's always nice to get out of the big city every once in a while. Pawlet and The Barn are just one of the many short drives I've found very much worth the while. When you venture out of town, dining out becomes more than just a means of satiating your hunger and turns into an experience to discover somewhere new. With summer almost upon us, I imagine several more leisurely drives and fine meals are in my near future. I look forward to sharing my finds.
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