The Tavern at Graybarns is Excellent
The Graybarns Inn opened in mid-2017 where the old Silvermine Inn used to be. The Glazier Group has undertaken substantial renovations, and created six luxury suites from around $650 a night. More to the point, they completely redid the old Silvermine Tavern to the somewhat smaller and much more elegant Tavern at Graybarns, which opened last October.
The restaurant, unlike its sprawling predecessor with indifferent food, is a single room with around 20 tables and a crackling fire and excellent food created by Chef Ben Freemole. There is also a second smaller room for group events. Last night it looked like there might be a birthday party there, maybe a Sweet Sixteen party for about 15 young women.
It seemed difficult to get weekend reservations there because of the restaurant’s popularity, so we decided to go on a Thursday evening at 5:45. OpenTable gave us a choice of only a couple of early times, but in fact the restaurant was never more than half full, with about seven tables occupied. This may have something to do with how many tables the restaurant releases to OpenTable or who might be coming for later dining. However, even on weekends, the waitress told us you may be able to get a reservation by calling and asking if there have been cancellations.
Because of the foggy weather, we left and arrived early, and while we could have gone directly to our table, the hostess suggested we might want to have a drink at the bar before being seated. This was a great idea: the bar was warm and comfortable and just steps from the dining room. It was beautifully decorated, with the mid-bar pillar being some of the tavern’s original lumber. In addition to the conventional drinks, they have a selection kooky sounding cocktails, including “Greyhound” and “Corpse Reviver.”
When we were seated at our table, we were immediately provided with some wonderful, crusty bread and unsalted butter topped with a bit of sea salt (you can get it without the salt if you want). And, soon after we ordered we also got a lovely bowl of mixed olives to munch on.
The menu is not huge, but consists of 9 Small Plates ($13-$21) and 10 Large Plates ($19 to $36), plus $50 Strip Steak and a 40 oz Porterhouse for two ($130). While you can order a number of lovely things, you can also just order the beautiful Tavern Double Cheeseburger for just $19.
The menu varies daily, with their additions printed on the menu that day. We were both taken with the Crab Toast ($21) as an appetizer, served on sourdough toast with espelette pepper in the sauce, and topped with chives. The crab was plentiful and the mildly peppery sauce way more interesting than the usual creamy goo you might have had elsewhere.
For one main course, we ordered Duck Breast ($36) served with grilled radicchio strips, a bit of parsnip puree and parsley, along with some surprise sweet potato chips. The duck was tender, juicy and medium rare as we’d hoped, and the portion was substantial.
Our other entrée was Reginetti Pasta ($24) with short ribs sugo, rosemary and pecorino. This is the sort of dish where the short rib meat was in hiding under the pasta, so we include a close-up to show the featured meat as well. This may have been the winning dish that night: the flavors of the pasta, beef and pecorino harmonized so well.
The dessert menu was limited to just 3 items: Apple Crisp, Chocolate Mousse and Sheep’s Milk Triple Cream cheese, each for $9. We elected to split the chocolate mousse, and this was the evening’s only misfire. It was just chocolate pudding, with no liqueur flavor or anything else to distinguish it. Little different than the classic pudding I use in making a chocolate pie.
Even with the relatively small house that night, the noise level was significant, with some noise coming from the patrons and more from the bar area. If the restaurant had been full, it would have been quite a bit more so.
Our bill, with tax but before tip, including 2 drinks($22) and 2 glasses of wine ($32) was $187.18.We also needed to tip the valet parking and the coat check.
However, over all, this was a top notch experience with excellent and service and décor and excellent food and drink. We can’t recommend it highly enough.