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Side Dishes: Vermont Thrush Restaurant opens in Montpelier


Published November 7, 2012 at 7:00 a.m.

Where can you get pot stickers à la A Single Pebble, River Run Restaurant’s barbecue catfish breakfast and the smoked burger popularized at short-lived Clean Slate Café? At Vermont Thrush Restaurant, which opened on Monday at 107 State Street in Montpelier, the site most recently home to Clean Slate and previously to the beloved Thrush Tavern.

It’s thanks to former Thrush Tavern owners Paul and Tom Rumley that Sarah Moos and Cameron Moorby’s new restaurant carries that familiar moniker. “We’re so grateful they gave us the name,” says Moos. “They had a copyright on it, but honestly, we wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much notice without having that name.”

Perhaps, but both front-of-house specialist Moos and chef Moorby have noteworthy names on their own CVs. Both worked at the Kitchen Table Bistro, and Moorby began training with A Single Pebble’s chef-founder, Steve Bogart, when the younger chef was in high school.

It was Bogart’s role as an unofficial consultant to Vermont Thrush that led to Moorby’s inclusion of once-popular Washington County dishes on the menu. But most of the fare is all Moorby’s own. The dinner menu, for instance, features lobster cakes with Thai peanut dipping sauce and hot clarified butter; peppers stuffed with smoked tofu and dressed in creamy vegan cashew sauce; and poutine with hand-cut fries, Maplebrook Fine Cheese curds and house chicken gravy.

When it comes to recreating the original Thrush, Moos says, “We can’t bring back the prices, but we can bring back the drinks.” House cocktails include old-school tipples such as Grasshoppers, Stingers and Old Fashioneds. Moos also promises “a good selection of vodkas, scotches and bourbons and good artisan beers on draught.”

In addition to daily dinner, Vermont Thrush serves weekday lunches with chalkboard sandwich specials and daily soups — one vegetarian, one meaty. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday, too — ensuring that diners will have plenty of opportunities to grab tastes of Montpelier, past and present.