Credit where credit is due.
A few nights ago I attended a dinner sponsored by investment advisors, including my friend The Broker. (I always wonder what clues he would leave for Batman. Holy hedge fund!) The dinner was held in a private room at Juniper, the restaurant at the relatively new Hotel Vermont on Cherry Street in Burlington, Vermont. The Broker assured me that the vegetarian offerings would be far better than what I had at Kismet. He was right.
The aesthetic of the place was based on modern spare design with local, natural materials. The servers were professional in demeanor and casual in clothing. A bright green “Keep Calm and love Vermont” t-shirt was the uniform.
The menu has snacks, appetizers, “shares” appropriate for just that, sandwiches, and regular entrees. I saw roughly ten things that I could feel good about, which is stellar vegetarian fare for most conventional restaurants.
Half Pint Farm greens, beets, sharp provolone, watermelon. A decent salad of a good size. The watermelon seemed odd but actually worked.
Eggplant caponata, vegetable crudo, Castleton crackers. Good, dense caponata in a big ramekin. Plenty of scooping items. Castleton Crackers rate a “meh” on my rigorous cracker scale, but I don’t blame the management for trying to keep it local.
Hemp seed whole grain burger, arugula, carrot ketchup. An actual restaurant-made veggie burger with an interesting flavor and texture. The carrot ketchup was also interesting but not socks-knocking. It needed a little something to make it more than just orange. I liked having the arugala on the side so I could choose my level of greenery. The bun had some real texture and crust.
Lemon tart. Tart lemon custard in a shortbread-ish crust. Slightly difficult to attack with a fork, but tasty even as it crumbled. Strawberries and blackberries as well as whipped cream on the side. A success.
My dinner companions seemed satisfied with their meaty entrees. However, my main point is that vegetarians will not be disappointed at Juniper.