The village of Wilmington, Vermont is the type of place you think of when you want to get away from it all. Wilmington, located in the Green Mountains in the southern portion of the state, screams small town, and in many respects that’s a very good thing.
Along Route 9 East in Wilmington, sitting atop a lush undulating hill, there is an elegant and stately white Victorian mansion surrounded by beautiful trees that come to life during the fall with bright oranges, fiery reds and vivid yellow hues. Take a drive up the hill and you’ll come to a stop at the venerable White House Inn.
Once inside, you have your pick of three separate dining areas: the main dining room serving continental cuisine, the more relaxed Black Dog Tavern or you can dine al fresco just outside the doors of the Black Dog Tavern (where you can enjoy either the Tavern menu or the dining room menu).
After stumbling upon White House Inn by happenstance, we decided to have a romantic meal in the main dining room. The evening began with appetizers that sounded deliriously, well, appetizing. The Lobster Ravioli, the chef's hand-made ravioli selection of the day, was a plate of al dente perfection. The ravioli was wrapped around large chunks of succulent lobster meat and topped with shaved parmesan cheese. The dish was swimming in a vat of sweet butter, but it was almost too much to handle and gave the pasta a slide-down-the-throat feel.
The Chef’s Daily Salad Special was aesthetically appropriate for the celebratory occasion—Independence Day. The patriotic salad was piled high with mixed greens, strawberries, goat cheese and blueberries—red, white and blue in all its glory. It was a decidedly refreshingly crisp summer salad to mark the 4th of July.
The lobster frenzy didn’t stop at appetizers. For an entrée, there was the Baked Haddock with Lobster in a white wine lemon butter sauce generously piled high with delectable sautéed Maine lobster. A mound of mashed potatoes completed the plate. While the dish may sound and look unassuming and rudimentary, the flavors said otherwise. The fish was flaky, well seasoned and juicy. On a more subtle but no less luscious note, the mashed potatoes were slightly lumpy but that texture merely added to the sublime taste.
Another entrée, the Wiener Schnitzel, was medallions of veal lightly breaded in a white wine and lemon butter sauce (obviously a favorite sauce of the chef as it appears in three entrées on the menu) alongside a crispy potato pancake and asparagus spears. While pleasing to the palate, the Wiener Schnitzel was adorned with a bit too much lemon to be wholly enjoyable. Although a scant greasy, the potato cake was indeed crispy and added a much needed dose of texture to the dish.
Overall, the food at White House Inn was palatable without being overwhelming. While not the most awe-inspiring meal to ever cross the lips of man (or woman) (and certainly not the worst), it made for a wonderful special occasion dinner and is worthy of a return visit.
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