Unless you have come to ski Okemo Mountain, you have never heard of Ludlow, VT. You wouldn't drive through it - it's not on the way to anywhere. But tucked into this uber-quaint New England town is an absolute gem of a restaurant. One that is definitely worth our "special journey" of a two hour drive east.

The restaurant is run entirely by Abby and Rogan Lechthaler. Rogan is a chef without formal training but has clearly learned intensely along his journey. His food is delicious and gorgeous, but moreso...smart. Each dish exudes a chef with solid fundamentals throughout. "House made" is everywhere - cured meats, pastas, breads, ice cream. He makes it all. And it's outstanding.

Abby runs the front of house on her own with immense passion and generous southern hospitality befitting her light Mississippi accent. She is passionate about the restaurant, very knowledgeable about wines, maker of outstanding cocktails and most of all - fully committed to making your experience memorable. Even with just 4 tables, taking care of everything from explaining the menu and drinks, making the drinks, bringing the dishes, clearing the tables, keeping waters filled...it's a herculean task for one person and one which never cause her joy to waver.

The food here is certainly Michelin-worthy. A plate to be sure, but possibly 1 star. It's excellent and portioned quite generously. I have only one qualm - the descriptions of each dish often teased bold flavors which never fully arrived. The shrimp pasta most of all - it was quite bland. A punch of salt or hit of lemon would have brought it to life. (Where was that chili flake?) His homemade pasta is perfection! And the ingredients were cooked perfectly as well. Our spring pea soup had espelette (pepper) oil, but it didn't render much spice. Great soup! But would have benefitted from the little kick that was promised.

That said, this is outstanding cooking. The quail was the star - best I have ever had. And quail is not an easy bird to cook properly. Stuffing it with salami to counteract its tendency to be dry is a brilliant choice. Carbonara was on point, with light, pillowy house-made gnocchi. Desserts were all outstanding.

I'm so glad I finally got here. Reservations are quite difficult with their limited seating. (Be online right at midnight the first of each month!) I can definitely see why. 

If you're in Vermont, detour to Ludlow and enjoy an outstanding meal and even better experience.

This place is not to be missed.


What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.

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Replying to Steven Smith