Richmond’s Relaunched Kitchen Table Doubles Down on Comfort Food | First Bite | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Food + Drink » First Bite

Richmond’s Relaunched Kitchen Table Doubles Down on Comfort Food


Published February 20, 2024 at 1:39 p.m.
Updated February 21, 2024 at 10:07 a.m.

Beer-braised boneless short rib, sweet potato purée and fried Brussels sprouts - DARIA BISHOP
  • Daria Bishop
  • Beer-braised boneless short rib, sweet potato purée and fried Brussels sprouts

Given how high many of us register on the stress-o-meter these days, the approach of the recently reborn Kitchen Table in Richmond seems sensible —comforting, in fact.

Along with its dinner menu of classics such as poutine, mac and cheese, and grilled steak with fries, the restaurant in the historic checkered brick building stocks an entryway cooler with reheatable soups, casseroles, and other take-and-bake offerings. In January, the Kitchen Table started serving an elevated homestyle Sunday brunch, with Saturdays coming soon.

That all adds up to more meals that can simultaneously feed your body and soothe your soul.

The Kitchen Table's new executive chef, Craig Anthony, 37, and his partner in life and business, pastry chef Sam La Croix, 31, may have taken the restaurant in a new direction, but they continue what is becoming a tradition at 1840 West Main Street — a kitchen led by a chef couple. They follow in the footsteps of chefs Lara and Steve Atkins, who founded and steered the elegant Kitchen Table Bistro through a 19-year run that ended in late 2021.

The Atkinses subsequently sold the building and business to a group of silent partners, who then worked with married chefs Chelsea Morgan and Tom D'Angelo to open Vermont Fine. That restaurant closed last July after just nine months, with the chefs citing hiring challenges and burnout.

For the restaurant's next iteration, the ownership group decided to reclaim the Kitchen Table name. They hired a team, starting with general manager Adam True, 51. As True told Seven Days last summer, "bistro" was purposely cut from the name to emphasize that "the cuisine is going to be more homey and accessible."

Seasonal salad and house-baked rolls - DARIA BISHOP
  • Daria Bishop
  • Seasonal salad and house-baked rolls

True, Anthony and La Croix agreed that their goal is to create a destination for the Richmond community with an approachable, affordably priced menu of eat-in and take-home options. To make families feel more welcome, the Kitchen Table offers $10 kids' meals, which include a drink and a scoop of housemade ice cream.

During several visits over the past few months, I found the current version of the Kitchen Table to offer generally well-cooked, unfussy food in cozy quarters. It makes no claims of wowing with culinary creativity or opening new gustatory horizons. But if you're craving familiar dishes prepared by professionals, the restaurant may be your new kitchen table away from your kitchen table.

Among the highlights I enjoyed across a day's worth of meals were a flaky buttermilk biscuit ($4 as a side), which a brunch companion declared so buttery it needed no butter; a takeout container of velvety, rich potato-cheddar-ale soup ($10), rewarmed at home for lunch; and a juicy burger elevated with house garlic pickles, a house-baked roll and crisp hand-cut fries ($18) that we ordered one evening at the bar.

Then there was La Croix's Matilda chocolate cake, which almost deserves its own meal designation.

A slice of Matilda chocolate cake - DARIA BISHOP
  • Daria Bishop
  • A slice of Matilda chocolate cake

At $14, the towering wedge of pudding-moist cake with satiny Italian buttercream, all sheathed in dark chocolate ganache, begs to be shared or tempts diners to gluttony, evoking the cake scene in the Roald Dahl book for which it is named. But if you "can take a whole piece down" solo, we won't judge — general manager True copped to doing just that.

True also runs Chicken Charlie's in South Burlington, another restaurant owned by the Kitchen Table partnership. He got to know Anthony when the chef was moonlighting at the rôtisserie chicken spot on top of his job as assistant director of operations for Winooski's Waterworks Food + Drink. Before Waterworks, Anthony worked for 13 years at Mirabelles Bakery, where he and La Croix met. A New England Culinary Institute grad, La Croix previously worked at Hen of the Wood in Burlington and, most recently, at Burlington Beer.

All three are New England natives: True and La Croix grew up in Vermont and Anthony in New Hampshire. Their shared experience grounds the menu of familiar, uncomplicated fare, ranging from Caesar salad ($14); to a grilled rib eye with roasted garlic and herb butter, grilled asparagus, and choice of fries or sweet potato purée ($34); to take-and-bake mac and cheese ($20) or French Canadian tourtière ($35).

"It's homey," La Croix said. "This is Vermont comfort food."

I ate my first meal at the new Kitchen Table last fall, about a month after it opened. We perched at the bar, which has been my favorite place to eat in every iteration of the restaurant over the past 20-plus years.

My husband and I inhaled the burger, plus a bowl of the crispy, sweet-tangy fried Brussels sprouts ($10), which I later learned are first fried and then sautéed with a maple-Dijon sauce and a little bacon before being laced with lemony aioli.

Burger with house garlic pickles and hand-cut fries - DARIA BISHOP
  • Daria Bishop
  • Burger with house garlic pickles and hand-cut fries

We also shared the substantial seasonal salad ($14), laden with roasted sweet potato and fennel, Vermont goat cheese, and toasted pepitas and dressed with a well-balanced maple-cider vinaigrette. Paired with a Hill Farmstead Brewery Edward ($8) and a raspberry-peach spritz ($12), it all made for a perfect bar supper.

For our second dinner, in mid-November, we sat in the front dining room and ordered a multicourse meal, starting with a repeat order of that very good salad and a crock of caramelized French onion dip ($15). The evening began well with the delivery of two warm house-baked rolls, but it slid a little sideways from there.

The dip arrived piping hot, fusing the best of the soup mix classic with the irresistible cheesy crown of French onion soup. But, disappointingly, the grilled baguette accompaniment promised by the menu had been replaced with soft, fresh slices, which did not complement the dip nearly as well.

My husband enjoyed his beer-braised boneless short rib, presented with sweet potato purée and a side of the fried Brussels sprouts ($32) — though, to my taste, the plate delivered an overabundance of soft, sweet and rich elements.

My housemade pappardelle with Italian sausage, broccolini, and roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato sauce ($24) was a muddle of textures and flavors. The delicate, fresh pasta was too soft from overcooking; the broccolini, disconcertingly, was finely chopped into the sauce. The dish came garnished with unnecessary slices of toasted baguette. (Maybe that's where our dip accompaniment had gone!)

Chefs Craig Anthony and Sam La Croix - DARIA BISHOP
  • Daria Bishop
  • Chefs Craig Anthony and Sam La Croix

Dessert raised my mood again. A fluffy New York-style cheesecake ($12) was cradled in a homemade graham cracker crust, dolloped with apple butter, and sprinkled with candied pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Although that cheesecake is currently off the menu, I recently tasted and strongly recommend the sticky toffee pudding à la mode ($14) that has taken its place. The sweet, crusty-topped, soft-centered date cake is balanced beautifully by La Croix's excellent espresso ice cream and a swirl of bittersweet coffee caramel.

We returned a couple of weekends ago with friends for the new brunch offering, which starred those fine biscuits solo and under sausage gravy ($16 with two eggs and hash browns). Housemade corned beef hash ($6 as a side) was finely diced and cooked crisp. Lacy-edged pancakes ($12) had extra loft from stiffly beaten egg whites folded into the batter. Every dish calling for eggs, including the perfectly creamy, soft scrambled eggs (part of the $12 "the Usual" combination), features eggs from Richmond's Farr Farms, a couple of miles down the road.

Our table also ordered the cheese grits special ($15), prompted by a departing diner who proclaimed them to be "Oh, God" good as we crossed paths in the entryway. They were rich with dairy, nutty with corn flavor and, thankfully, gluten-free for my friend, who has celiac disease.

That almost made up for the fact that she couldn't share the ethereally light raspberry cream brioche bun ($8), one of the brunch pastry specials. For those with dietary considerations, the menu is clearly labeled, and many dishes have vegan and gluten-free modifications.

Because one cannot fully experience brunch without sampling the house Bloody, I ordered the Bloody Brunch ($14), which came loaded with bacon, celery, dilly beans and half a hard-boiled egg. It was almost a meal unto itself.

Although we were stuffed, I was obliged to think ahead for work purposes. From the take-and-bake cooler, we selected the cheddar-ale soup and another container of rigatoni Bolognese ($22). Both provided satisfying hot meals over the next couple days, along with a hearty serving of comfort.

The original print version of this article was headlined "A New Leaf | Richmond's relaunched Kitchen Table doubles down on comfort food"

Related Stories

Related Locations

Speaking of...



Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.