Waterbury , Vermont
Tel: 802 244 7300
Concierge.com's insider take:
Just as some of France's Michelin three-star restaurants are found in the most obscure country towns, so, too, has Hen of the Wood outshined its humble surroundings. Opened in 2005 in the town of Waterbury (a tourist trap for Stowe-bound skiers) and housed in a 19th-century grist mill, Hen of the Wood defines Vermont farm-to-table dining. Chef Eric Warnstedt, formerly of Burlington's Smokejacks, now forages for the freshest local ingredients and cooks them with co-owner Craig Tresser. Down a double set of stairs, the rustic-elegant dining room mixes exposed beams and fieldstone walls with white linens and tea lights. Servers are professional—not the distracted college students of some other Green Mountain eateries—and subtle, allowing the cuisine and boutique wines to sparkle. Hen of the Wood's menu changes with the season, but if Warnstedt is cooking up smoked LaBelle Farms duck breast with mustard spaetzle, don't miss it. And save room for the artisanal cheeses and the desserts (like lemon-curd tartlets) crafted by Mystic Pie pastry whiz Laura Nedich (877-588-7437; www.vermontmysticpie.com).
Open Mondays through Saturdays, seatings from 5 to 9 pm.