The Belted Cow Bistro’s chef/owner, John Delpha, earned his culinary stripes in some of Boston’s best kitchens. These days he has full reign over the local ingredients in his own kitchen, while partner Caitlin Bilodeau runs the dining room–an excellent combination of beautiful food and relaxed yet top-notch service. Seating options include a cozy alcove or a 14-seat communal table, where Delpha and Bilodeau encourage sharing. Now, I believe in generosity, but there was no way I was going to share even one delectable bite of my pork “sliders” appetizer (served with spicy kimchee slaw and a ginger-scallion relish). Not to mention the butternut-squash soup, delicately enhanced with a whisper of maple syrup, or Delpha’s unique take on surf-and-turf: perfectly seared, expertly seasoned sea scallops atop an earthy-sweet parsnip purée. Tuesday-night guests may indulge in the chef’s award-winning barbeque. The menu changes often and seasonally as well, so be sure to check the Web site for the latest offerings.
The Belted Cow Bistro 4 Park St., Essex Junction, VT 802-316-3883; beltedcowvt.com