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Side Dishes: New Japanese restaurant in St. Albans; Gordon Ramsay visits Vermont

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In the last three years, 133 North Main Street in St. Albans’ J.C. Penney Shopping Center has been home to Betty’s Beef & Seafood and Jem’s Place. Last week, that space saw a complete departure from that homestyle American trend — the opening of Yama Japanese Restaurant, which specializes in hibachi-style dishes, says Mike Li, translating for owner Baoxing Chen. Diners shouldn’t expect a Koto-style show, warns Li. These hibachi steaks are cooked in the safety of the kitchen. The sushi, including several different eel rolls, is already getting high marks from customers, claims Li.

— A.L.

*****

Gordon Ramsay, the fiery British chef who has made his career as much from revamping failing eateries on camera as from his culinary prowess, traveled to Windsor’s Juniper Hill Inn earlier this month for an upcoming episode of his “Hotel Hell” television series.

A century-old, 28-room mansion, Juniper Hill Inn has been known for its somewhat formal vibe.

No longer: After Gordo’s visit, the inn has a brand-new bar, Blue Bar, with a tavern menu filled with comfort-food dishes such as country pâté with Mapleland Farms maple mustard and a porchetta sandwich with fennel slaw, according to innkeeper Robert Dean. New chef Giulian Jones is also carrying an approachable farm-to-table menu into the more formal Madelyn’s Dining Room, with pan-seared trout and red-wine braised lamb shank among the fare.

“He is a power to be reckoned with,” says Dean of Ramsay. “He is directed and insightful. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

A producer for “Hotel Hell” says the episode should air sometime this spring on the FOX network.

— C.H.

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