My recent visit to Woodstock, Vermont was a transcending experience, thanks to the hospitality at The Lincoln Inn & Restaurant. Owned and operated by Mara Mehlman, who has a knack for hospitality and brings years of experience to this historic inn. The inn has six rooms, all with different decor and themes. The detailed and “little luxurious” touches in each room really express the detail and passion Mara brings to The Lincoln Inn.
As you enter through the front door, Mara happily greets you with a warm and welcoming smile. There is a lounge and sitting area with an array of new and older books, a chess table, TV, and high speed internet. Vermont is about a 4 hour drive from Manhattan, and I was delighted to be able to bring my mother with me on this weekday getaway. The rooms are beautiful and quaint, with elegant finishes, antique furniture, and beautiful art. If you choose a back room, you get to wake up to a beautiful view of the river.
In charge of the menu is Executive Chef Jevgenija Saromova, who is Michelin Star trained and amazingly talented. “She has had over twenty years experience as a professional chef. Because of the years Jevgenija spent cooking in professional kitchens around the world, combined with her natural inclination toward multi-sensory perfection, Jevgenija has developed her own culinary style unlike any others. Cooking is her passion, and like all artists, she looks to create beauty out of what the earth provides. Her food compositions aren’t just for satisfying the hunger of the body, but also to satiate the deeper soul. Jevgenija has arrived at the Lincoln Inn and Restaurant straight from England, and her one-of-a-kind flair for culinary innovation will take the Vermont food culture to a whole new level.” – LincolnInn.com
I was able to experience the Chef’s Table Dinner ($145-195.00), which is held in the Paul Newman dining room. Actor and philanthropist Paul Newman used to come to the Lincoln Inn all the time with his family, and would enjoy dining in the private dining room. Chef Saromova steps out of the kitchen every few courses to talk about her inspiration, answer questions, and see the delight in everyone’s faces as they taste her magnificent culinary creations.
Now, let’s talk about the menu this talented Michelin trained chef prepared, because it’s truly superb. I can honestly say that this dining experience was one of the best I have ever had. The food is locally sourced and globally inspired. Jevgenija is an artist that has mastered more than artistic plating and her food is absolutely outstanding!
We started with Citrus Marinated Salmon, Seared Tuna & Scallop with Confit of Navel Orange & Orange Froth. As a first course, this was ideal, especially when paired with a crisp and refreshing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The second course was Rabbit Loin & Prosciutto Ham with Butter Poached Main Lobster and Mascarpone Enriched Orzo. This I would say is certainly a globally inspired and delicious take on the classic “surf and turf”, except ten times better! Paired was a German Riesling that had a nice amount of residual sugar to it that complimented the course very well. Third was a lighter course of Beetroot & Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts. Chef Saromova designs and hand cuts all of the stencils she uses to plate the courses, and this maze inspired one was stunning. Paired with this deletable course was one of my favorite wines of the evening: a Hillinger Secco, from Austria. The sparkling Pinot Noir was elegant and beautiful, which complimented the earthy beets and creamy Vermont goat cheese.
Filet Mignon & Foie Gras with Shiitake Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Puree. The perfectly charred foie gras was a sensual experience, that of which is one I will never forget. This is by far the best foie gras I have ever had, and plated beautifully with a medium rare filet mignon. Paired with this course was an Oregon Pinot Noir; a great wine pairing that highlighted the savory, earthy, and seductive flavors on the plate. The fifth course was Roasted Rack of Lamb and Brined, Smoked & Braised Lamb Breast, with Cipollini Onions and Balsamic Glaze. A fun surprise was that Chef Saromova “pearled” the balsamic, which is a beautiful garnish technique that I am fascinated by. The lamb breast is cooked for 28 hours on site, in a smoker, then braised for 6 more hours. It is absolutely delicious. Paired with the lamb was a Rioja, which I was excited to see, because I find that tempranillo works well with lamb, balsamic, and onions.
Last, but certainly not least was Chef Saromova’s Dark Chocolate Delice with Mixed Berries and Strawberry Sorbet. This was a heavenly way to end such an incredible meal, and you can truly taste the craftsmanship and passion in each one of her dishes. Paired with the Delice was a Vermont Cassis wine that I really enjoyed. It was a unique pairing and a perfect one at that!
Vermont is beautiful all year round, and I recommend staying a night or two at The Lincoln Inn and Restaurant for a one of a kind dining and accommodation experience. You will instantly fall in love with the history, style, and decor of this lovely little b&b which is also right next to the historic covered bridge. It’s time to book your relaxing and romantic weekend away to Woodstock, VT; you’ll be very happy you did!