Nearly everywhere, the era of prime rib carved tableside, popovers and Parker House rolls is a bygone one. In Rutland, however, retro dining elegance returns in mid-August with the opening of Lagasse’s Hearthside Grille at 37 North Main Street.
Chef/owner Scott Lagasse got his start in the restaurant biz working in the same historic building when it was Royal’s Hearthside. “I used to ride a dinosaur to work,” jokes Lagasse, who has been a chef for 35 years. In the ensuing decades, he plied his trade at hotels and country clubs, as well as at his own restaurant, Lagasse’s Steakhouse, in Brandon. Most recently, Lagasse was food and beverage director at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New Hampshire.
All five dining rooms in the building have fireplaces, and Lagasse has removed the “nasty carpet” in favor of hardwood floors. The effect is rustic New England and matches the food, some of which is prepared according to the same recipes used at Royal’s when it opened in 1962.
The aforementioned prime-rib dinner comes with Caesar salad, also tossed tableside, as well as fresh, local vegetables and mashed potatoes flavored with roasted shallots, rosemary, whole butter and sour cream. All the meat is hand cut and aged on site. A dessert cart includes community requests such as bread pudding and cheesecake. “A lot of the old favorites,” says Lagasse. A tasty blast from the past, indeed.