Sometimes, the stars are aligned just right and you enjoy a dining experience that is the perfect blend of atmosphere, fine food, and quality service. Such was the occasion on a beautiful, clear, starry night, the kind for which Vermont is famous, when we made the trip to The Castle in Proctorsville, just three miles southeast of Ludlow.
The Castle was built at the turn of the last century for Governor Fletcher. It’s remarkably well preserved with plastered ceilings, most of the original light fixtures, and all of the magnificent original woodwork. It’s so impressive today that I cannot imagine the impact it had on its visitors over 100 years ago. It’s worth the trip just to look around and admire the European craftsmanship.
The food is phenomenal. The portions are “King-size” so go very hungry and plan on taking home tomorrow’s dinner. For Appetizers we enjoyed Smoked Trout and Salmon Napoleon, Seared Portobello Mushroom with Cheese Filled Ravioli, Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta, and Sauteed Jumbo Crab Cake.
For the Soup course we had Wild Mushroom Consomm├¿ New England Lobster Bisque, and Baked Onion Soup.
Salads included Grilled Chicken Breast and Crumbled Blue Cheese; The Castle Caesar; Pear and Grapefruit; and Grilled Shrimp, Red Onion, and Spinach.
The Beef Wellington was so tender you could – Carol did! – literally cut it with a fork. The French Rack of Spring Lamb was amongst the best we’ve ever eaten. The Pan Seared Tuna Fillet with wasabi herb sauce almost created a fight when it was time to take the leftovers home.
The desserts change nightly and depending on the anticipated crowd there are usually at least four from which to choose. We had CrΘme BrulΘ, Tiramisu, CrΘme de Chocolat, and an unnamed dessert which was a chocolate covered pastry shell filled with ice cream, fresh fruit and sauce. With piping hot tea and after dinner drinks, it was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
And then there’s Mindy. Mindy is one of those rare individuals who really enjoys what she does and does it very well. She made us feel immediately welcome, was knowledgeable not only of the menus, the wine list, and the history of The Castle, but she made a hell of a Chocolate Martini. She could have served us burnt burgers and soggy fries and we wouldn’t have complained about the food and given her a big tip. She was that good.
Then there’s Tom, the piano player, who greeted us almost as soon as we got there and played our requests all evening – and Alfonse, the CIA trained chef who came out of the kitchen to personally check on how we enjoyed our fantastic meal. We did go on a week night so I’m not so sure you’d have the privilege of meeting him on a busy weekend. – and Chris the manager on duty who was attentive during dinner, and after conducted a tour of the facilities – some of the gorgeous rooms, the SPA and plans for new condos being built right on the property.
Dinner is served from 5:30pm – 9:00pm. The restaurant is closed on Mondays in the winter, Sunday and Monday in the summer, though you should call just in case of additional hours during holiday periods. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 802-226-7361.