Last month, after living in Vermont for 15 years, I stopped in White River Junction for the first time. I’ve driven past it numerous times on my way from here to there, but never had a reason to stop. Having experienced dinner at Como Va, it won’t take me long to make a return visit.
Como Va is directly across from the railroad station at 1 South Street. There is nothing overtly Italian about its appearance. The decor is bright and cheery, yet unassuming: brick walls, wooden tables and chairs, white linens – quite restive in spite of the coming and going of the trains which are visible but not audible. They add excitement without being intrusive. There was a selection of wonderful music playing – it was neither opera nor Frank Sinatra. Six weeks after the dinner, and constant banter in the office about marvelous mussels and attentive service my most prominent memory is that of really wonderful food. Como Va defines itself as “an Italian dining experience”. Howard Haywood, the owner/chef, is a wonderful, soft spoken, teddy bear of a man. I’m pretty sure he’s not Italian. In fact, he told us he trained in Paris after the CIA, that’s the Culinary Institute of America, of course, NOT the Central Intelligence Agency. So, what makes Como Va Italian? The food! Risottos, polenta, pasta!
We ordered from the Spring Menu, beginning with Mussels prepared with Ginger, Garlic, Scallion, Roma Tomatoes, White Wine & Butter AND Carpaaccio, Sliced Raw Beef, Truffled Organic Potatoes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Shaved Parmesan & Micro Greens, AND Mista Salad, Tender Greens, Marinated Vegetables, Balsamic Vinaigrette, AND Polenta Lasagne “Quattro Formaggioö, Four Cheeses, Spring Vegetables & Sweet Red Pepper Puree. Angelica, who usually picks out mussels from any dish and gives them to Martin, tasted one “just to be polite” and then proceeded to “horde” them to eat as the finale of each dish. Martin was a bit peeved, especially when she stabbed him in the hand with her fork.
We chose two Pasta dishes: Linguini Vongole E Salsiccia û Baby Clams, Linguica Sausage, Arugula, Garlic, Olive Oil, & Chile AND Mushroom Trifolata û Assorted Mushrooms, Garlic, Basil, Housemade Tagliatelle, & Truffle Cream. They were both superb, as I’m sure the other pasta choices will be , when we return. Will it be the Linguini Pomodoro, Rigatoni with Slow Roast Chicken, or Butter Poached Sea Scallops? We will have to go back several times!
Fantastic Specials and Entrees we enjoyed were : Horseradish Crusted Rack of Lamb, Creamed Spinach “En Crouteö & Sauce Primavera – superbly prepared! Seared Duck Breast with Potato & Shallot Hash & Mushroom & Thyme Risotto – delicious! Cartoccio û White Fish, Shrimp, Scallops, Mussels, Tomato Saffron Broth & Housemade Fettucine, Baked in Parchment – the fish was so moist and so delicious we speculated that even the parchment would taste great! The Four Cheese Risotto with Roasted Vegetables was so creamy and rich, it was almost like dessert. The ultimate comfort food!
Everything was heavenly. Patti, the hostess, was our server that evening and took great care in answering our many questions, ably filling our drink orders, and recommending some wonderful wines to enhance our meals. Howard came out to check on our progress, and since it’s impolite to speak with a full mouth, we just emitted embarrassing sounds of blissàala When Harry Met Sallyàbut we weren’t faking it.
It was truly decadent to order dessert after the fantastic food we had already consumed Decadent is Good. Desserts are prepared just up the street at The Bakers Studio except for the trio of sorbets, Mango, Raspberry, and the Grapefruit , which were house made , and had also served as a palate cleanser between courses. We finished with a Lemon Tart and a Chocolate Truffle Cake.
Como Va is open for Lunch Tuesday û Saturday 1130am û 200pm and Dinner Tuesday – Sunday û 500pm û 930pm
The menu changes seasonally, there are daily specials, and they are happy to accommodate your special requests. Please call 802-280-1956 for reservations or if you would like to inquire about catering.