Elixir Restaurant Review
There’s nothing better than spontaneously discovering a dining treasure in a rural area. It usually happens like this; I’m driving somewhere far from home, I forgot to eat before I left, my stomach is screaming so loud passing traffic can hear it, and I know I must placate the demon before said stomach finishes consuming my body and moves on to my soul. Out comes the iPhone, up pops the Yelp app, and I am ready to hit whatever food haunt shows up first.
And that is how I discovered Elixir Restaurant in White River Junction, Vermont.
Located in a circa-1930 train depot, on a Main Street that looks more like the ghost of a small town than an active downtown community, Elixir has all the cool elements I love; a brick and slate interior that crackles with history, fab design details, and a tight menu that fluxes with the seasons and gets straight to the point.
Elixir has a decent wine menu, a moderately creative cocktail list, and a host of locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients in their dishes. Which, if you’ve ever clocked any time in Vermont, you’ll know the locavore scene is an aggressive one. There is no shortage of amazing organic farms, CSA’s and artisanal food crafters in this state. Vermonters are PASSIONATE about their food.
As I was being seated, I prayed to the gods that my hostess would not strike up a dialogue with my whiny stomach. I sat down, cracked open the menu, and saw truffles, truffles everywhere. Jackpot!
I love truffles to such a degree that I’m fairly certain I could give wild boars a run for their money foraging up those little morsels in the forest.
The first items I ordered were a glass of Malbac and Truffle Fries with Shallot Aioli. Great flavor, and the aioli was so tasty I wanted it served in a glass – with a straw.
My only frustration with this appetizer was the dimension of the fries – they were quite thin and not cooked enough to be crisp. This meant they broke from their own weight when I picked them up, and I had to resist the urge to stuff fist-loads of them into my mouth to get the sensation that I was actually eating FRIES.
With a slightly tamed digestive system, I moved on to the next course; Truffled (yes, more truffles. now, please) Chicken Liver Mousse with crispy capers, chives, and a crusty baguette. This was by far the one dish that made my mouth the happiest. Loaded with umami, the only words that come to mind when trying to describe this appetizer is… meat butter. I will leave it up to you to decide if that is a good thing.
Next up was Elixir’s Summer Salad; baby greens, toasted sunflower seeds, local Piermont cheese, and marinated blackberries tossed with a ginger-beer dressing – light, refreshing, and texturally interesting. I am curious what the blackberries were marinated in, and my only disappointment was the dressing – I expected a distinct kick from the ginger beer, but was left with no kick at all.
My entreé selection for the night was Seared Sea Scallops. Served on a bed of arugula and crispy black bean-English cucumber salad, the sea scallops had a good temperature, a good sear, and good tenderness. My favorite part of this dish was the coriander-grapefruit emulsion. Divine!
And then for my downfall, the stupid mistake I make every time I eat at a new restaurant that pleases me; dessert. I know I am full, I can feel myself slipping into a food coma. But I just have to try one more thing.
Because gluttony is my favorite deadly sin.
The dessert menu had the predictable standards; creme bruleé, some decadent chocolate thing, a fruity tarty something something, and a cheesecake. I opted for the cheesecake for one reason, and one reason alone: rosemary. Savory herb in a cheesecake? Want. Now. Elixir’s lemon-rosemary cheesecake was topped with a blueberry compote and was of a reasonable size. What a flavor combo! My happy palate is happy yet again.
I rolled out of Elixir fat and happy that night. I will definitely make it a stopping point the next time I find myself both stupidly ravenous and in the area.