by Alice Levitt
1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, 985-8498
We all need a taste of luxury now and then. Usually, in those cases, we assume that those meals will be stressful on the wallet. But smart diners know that even at the finest restaurants, meals earlier in the day can cost a fraction of rich dinner prices. To give both me and my billfold a treat, I indulged in brunch at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
We were led through the grand entrance to a table for two just below a painting of the original homeowner, Lila Vanderbilt Webb. It had taken me weeks to get a reservation, and the joint was indeed jumping. Our server warned us from the beginning that the kitchen was backed up and it would take 15 to 20 minutes for our food to arrive.
That ended up being more like 30 or 45 minutes, but good conversation in opulent surroundings is really the goal at Shelburne Farms. I wasn't in a hurry.
And the food was worth it. The veal and pork terrine was tender and smoky — perfect for a Sunday picnic in Provence. It was bathed in tarragon Hollandaise that had just a whisper of anise flavor. Eggs were poached perfectly and lent an extra layer of creaminess to the plate, which also included microgreens and an herb crostini. It was a delicious plate, but for $13, the portion was more like an appetizer than a hearty breakfast.
The lamb shoulder had no such problems. There was enough to share to make up for the meager terrine.
Like practically everything else on the plate, the tender, braised lamb never left the farm itself. Perhaps that accounted for its fresh, ungamey flavor. Of course, the rolled roast's filling helped, too. Chèvre and fennel combined for a tangy, creamy, licorice swirl.
Beneath the lamb, a pool of sharp cheddar grits made for a hearty, satisfying accompaniment. On top, a sizable pile of scrambled eggs were light and frothy as could be. Sandwiched in between a slaw of cucumber, apple and onion added a welcome shot of acid and crunch to the proceedings.
Our server also brought a thick, almost black, homemade blueberry jam to spread on the O Bread. We paid and left without realizing there was dessert, only discovering it when we saw other diners enjoying. Next time we'll indulge, as if our brunch weren't already indulgence enough.
Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to email@example.com.