Side Dishes: Resto Openings and Updates
Quatre, which means "four" in French, is how many times one Burlington eatery has reinvented itself since it first opened on the corner of Battery and Main, as Greenstreet's. The restaurant, which closed abruptly on April 18, is reopening with the same name, Quatre Bistro , confirms spokesperson Melissa Stuart. She also mentions that visitors will see the same smiling faces in the dining room and the open kitchen, save one: Chef Frank Pace is no longer on staff.
Even though it's got "bistro" in its moniker, you can kiss the cassoulet goodbye. Instead of French fare, Quatre is going to serve up pub faves and fried foods from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The menu will include burgers, cheese sticks, potato skins and buffalo wings. To match the grill cuisine, the owners have stocked the dining room with flat-screens and the bar with macro-brewed beers on draft.
Look for upcoming "theme nights" and free wings from 5-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. And don't be surprised if this now-American restaurant with the unpronounceable French name keeps on tweaking things.
He worked at the House of Blues and served as corporate chef in charge of new restaurants for the Walt Disney Company, but now Steve Sawyer has come home to roost. The 35-year-old chef, who grew up in Rutland and earned a culinary degree at Johnson & Wales' Providence campus, is opening Table 24 in his hometown next month.
The eatery, named after its location at 24 Wales Street — formerly the home of a Mexican joint called Candeleros — will be an "upscale casual" restaurant and rôtisserie with 140 seats and a "substantial-sized bar," Sawyer says. Diners will nosh on comfort foods such as prime rib and chicken cooked over hardwood, as well as steaks and fish. "The flavor profiles you get from cooking over wood are amazing," the chef enthuses.
Another focus? Offering up lots of vino that customers can easily sample to see what they like. "We're certainly going to be doing a stronger 'wine by the glass program' than Southern Vermont is accustomed to," Sawyer suggests.
Jon and Lucie Fath, owners of Toscano Café Bistro  in Richmond, aren't going anywhere, but they have hired a new chef, 27-year-old Joe Ianelli, to head the kitchen at their cozy Mediterranean eatery.
"Joe was our original sous chef when we opened five years ago," Jon explains. But the budding chef left his hometown to get a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and took a job at the upscale Salish Lodge outside of Seattle. There, Fath boasts, Ianelli cooked for Microsoft bigwigs — maybe even Bill Gates.
Now that he's back in Vermont, "He's bringing in beautiful specials," Fath opines. The Faths and Ianelli are working on tweaking their brunch menu; the Mother's Day brunch, to include classics such as steak 'n' eggs and lobster ravioli, is a sign of things to come. The dinner and dessert menus will "evolve as summer comes along."
Fath says he has confidence in Ianelli and his other kitchen staff, including a NECI intern and a staffer who previously cooked at Chez Henri  Restaurant and Bistro in Warren. "We are really excited about having them in the kitchen," he says. "And when we're out front with the customers, we have a lot of confidence that the food is just as nice."
National franchise Nothing But Noodles  — a transcultural carb celebration which, oddly enough, also serves lots of things that aren't noodles — opened in late April in Dorset Street's Blue Mall.
Managing Partner Eric Filkowski opted for a "soft opening" rather than a media blitz: "I'm not big on making 400 enemies and spending the next month trying to please them," he explains.
What are the hottest dishes so far? "I'm selling a lot of spicy Japanese noodles; the stuffed shells are a very popular item, and so is the 'Southwest Chipotle,'" Filkowski says. That last one is a creamy fettuccine dish spiced up with hot pepper. Noodle-free best sellers include the cucumber salad and the barbecued chicken salad.
"It hasn't been without its bumps," Filkowski admits of the opening. "But people have been pretty psyched, and I'm happy with what we've got for traffic."