As soon as we pulled up to the parking lot at Taste of Burlington, I knew we were in for a special evening. It was one of those days that you wait for all summer to enjoy, and the best part was that it was still May! With perfect temperatures, bluebird skies and a nice cooling breeze, I couldn’t imagine a better start to my dining experience. And this was just the beginning!
As soon as we walked into the restaurant, I was instantly impressed by how much heart and hard work went into creating the perfect dining experience. I was first greeted by the animated and warmly energetic music of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. I have always been a firm believer that one of the telltale signs of a great restaurant is their choice in musical selection. Taste of Burlington did not disappoint in the least! During the night, each member of our group commented at least once on the music and how the choices helped emphasize the mood and energy throughout the entire evening. With exposed brick and huge wooden beams throughout the restaurant, Taste of Burlington has the look and feel of a beautifully renovated uptown loft. A large freshwater fish tank and brilliant colors in every direction only encourage your desire to explore every corner of this unique restaurant. As you do, you will certainly notice the vibrant abstract artwork beautifully adding to the ambience of the environment. After further inspection, I was told that all of the artwork was done by chef/owner Rick Benson!
As I made my way back to the entrance û I’m every hostess’ worst nightmare, wandering around, and generally going places where I’m not encouraged to go – we were greeted by an extremely friendly young lady who innocently asked whether we would prefer to sit indoors or outdoors. On a night like this – what a loaded question! After much deliberation we decided that it would be a crime to ignore the beautiful sunset and made our way outside where a well lit tent housed our table. Let me take this moment to say something that definitely should have been made clear at the very beginning. When talking about restaurants, it’s very common to hear that age old adage – Location, location, location! Well, I’m here to tell you that Taste of Burlington holds the trump card in that category! Located directly on the waterfront, across from a beautiful park with loads of benches to sit on after your meal, it is impossible to have a better location! Downtown Burlington is just a few blocks away, as are many area lodging options, such as The Sheraton, and The Hilton. Back to our dinner!
Since this seemed as good of a night as any to have a good time, we decided to start with a few drinks. Taste of Burlington’s drink menu is not only extensive, it’s delicious! With an extremely well rounded Wine List, and an incredibly creative cocktail menu, it is impossible to make a bad choice! Amongst the four of us, our favorites were; Leo’s Killer Kool-Aid (Cranberry, Midori, Amaretto and Absolut), Champlain Sunset (Absolut Mandarin, pineapple rum, orange and pineapple juice, grenadine), Dave’s Mango Madness (Cuervo Gold, Peachtree, Triple Sec, mango and lime juice) and how can you go wrong with Burlington’s own Switchback Ale? After we had made our appetizer decisions, our excellent server Narayan, brought us a beautiful basket of fresh, warm, delicious Artisan bread. The perfect warm-up to our meal, we then started with a wonderful Roasted Vegetable Soup, which with the addition of several strips of homemade tortilla chips really created a fun balance between the salty crunch of the chips and the spicy, fresh vegetable flavors of the broth. An Organic Mixed Baby Greens and Veggies Salad was next, and was served with an exceptional blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette. Anyone who has been to Burlington before knows of our famous Magic Hat Brewery, so when I saw Magic Hat Ale Battered Onion Rings, I knew that I had to give them a try. Served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, I have to say that these are the new bar to which I am going to measure Onion Rings from now on!
After sharing several more appetizers and I’ll admit a few more cocktails, our dinner orders arrived. Two of the members in our group ordered the same meal, which for review writing purposes can be a little problematic, however, after seeing their meals – Maine Diver Scallops with Shrimp, served over a bed of lemon-thyme risotto and a garlic white-wine butter sauce – who could blame them? With scallops the size of mountains and Shrimp that put their name to shame, the smiles on our two dinner guests faces was just about as large as the sunset across the lake. Balsamic Marinated Grilled Beef Tips was the meal of the evening for another member of our party, and if a side of asparagus and fresh baby carrots topped with a balsamic demi-glace wasn’t enough to silence our friend for the next while, a side of what he described as “The best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had!” was certainly enough to seal the deal! As for myself, I wanted to try the Tibetan Sheffield, VT Seitan and Vegetable Stir Fry that I had heard so much about. A friend of mine had eaten at Taste several days earlier and she had mentioned that the Veggie Stir Fry was simply out of this world! Served with an orange scented basmati rice and mushroom soy glaze, I would have to agree! The vegetables were fresh and crisp and their flavor was exceptionally enhanced by the mushroom glaze! And if it didn’t seem to you like we stuffed ourselves sufficiently, we found that we still had room for some spectacular deserts! Surprise, surprise! While all of the choices that we had were excellent, the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee was the overall group choice of the evening!
Finally, we had to call it quits! We had eaten so much that we were almost embarrassed! Narayan seemed to understand however and didn’t make us feel bad in the slightest! As we prepared ourselves to depart from our new favorite location, we discussed how we wished more evenings could be like this. With great service, spectacular food, and a location that puts all others to shame, it seems that Taste of Burlington has the right recipe for the perfect evening! As Narayan came back to the table to present us with the bill, we saw that in place of after dinner mints, Narayan carried a plate with fresh chocolate coated strawberries! What could we do? When it comes to Taste of Burlington, I guess you always have room for a little more!
Taste is open at 5pm seven nights a week. Please call 802-658-4844 for reservations or info on catering services.