Alice Eats: NECI on Main's Restaurant Week Déjeuner à la Française
Back home in Connecticut, my friends and I favored lunch at a now-shuttered French bistro called Le Figaro. Steak frites at 11:30 a.m? Hell, yeah.
Now that my hometown celebrity chef Jean-Louis Gerin is at the helm of the New England Culinary Institute, a wonderful piece of home is here with me in Vermont. And just for Vermont Restaurant Week, he's imported an elegant bistro lunch to NECI on Main that I wish my childhood friends were here to share with me.
For $15, diners choose two of the three listed courses from chef Andre Burnier's bill of fare.
A different "wholesome, single-vegetable soup" changes each day as the second appetizer option. Tomato was the offering that day and it was simple, comforting and flecked with garlic as well as the requisite basil. A big, grilled crostini lolled in the potage, soaking up the red broth. The flavor of the char on the bread was so enticing that I gobbled it up, despite the fact that I'd already partaken of the bread basket with three different types of home-baked breads, including a satisfyingly sour, sturdy whole-grain loaf.