Far from skunked!
BY BY HALEY MORRIS AND ANNA PAYNE, THE DARTMOUTH STAFF
Published on Friday, March 30, 2007
Tucked away on a side street in Hartland, Vt., Skunk Hollow Tavern manages three distinct in-house settings, and caters to frat boys and families alike. The Tavern opens to a combined restaurant and bar scene whose low ceiling, exposed beams and jaunty fireplace foster a cozy but casual atmosphere. The upstairs dining room, albeit somewhat spartan, nonetheless emerges more refined thanks to the exchange of Christmas lights for formal table linens.
While the employment of what looks to be the Tavern's original flooring certainly deserves appropriate admiration, the restaurant's beer selection probably draws more frequent applause. Skunk Hollow provides an abundance of cheap local brews on draught. The Tavern's price range, from four-dollar pints to seven-dollar pitchers, will rightfully strain the liver and not the wallet.
Seventy-three percent of Dartmouth students know better than to drink on an empty stomach! Skunk Hollow Tavern helps Dick's House live up to its claim by offering delectable contemporary cuisine with classic character. The menu appeals to the full gamut of taste and appetite. Although patrons can choose to munch popcorn, the chance to indulge in the Tavern's innovative transformations of traditional pub fare should not be missed.
We skipped the snacks and started with a specialty appetizer. Skunk Hollow dazzled us with its dolled-up version of stuffed button mushrooms, which benefited from their unique menage a trios with brie and pear.
According to the waitstaff, the soup at Skunk Hollow Tavern is its forte. The du jour selections, served most commonly as first courses, are alternatively suitable as a cost-effective entree as well. The carrot and dill soup we sampled was the perfect respite from the evening chill. The flavorful accent of the dill complimented the natural sweetness of the carrot, making for a strong ensemble. However, we were slightly alarmed by the large vegetable chunks that our spoon overturned.
The other entree, a pork stir-fry, arrived large enough to share. A satisfying combination of salty and sweet, the dish reveled as a playful panoply of meat, Mandarin oranges and peanuts. The plate's grilled asparagus seemed to have been added as an afterthought but was pleasantly charred and delicious in its own right. The Skunk Hollow menu also includes everything from fish and chips to a bacon ensconced filet mignon.
Celebrate the Tavern's dedication to preventing drunk driving (read: the explicit warning signs decking the walls are not for decoration) by rewarding yourself and your designated driver with a treat! Nothing says thank you for being sober like one of Skunk Hollow's homemade desserts. From a Heath Bar Cake to a house-prepared coffee chip ice cream to amaretto mousse, the Tavern makes a decadent, lasting impression.
Check Please! One meal at the Skunk Hollow Tavern and you will wish that you could be a regular! We certainly do. A combination of excellent service, original food and creative atmosphere makes the Tavern well worth the trip. This perfect seasonal escape is open Wednesday through Sunday
Scenes of Vermmont
a review by Joanna Daneman
The Skunk Hollow Inn is located at Hartland Four Corners about 20 minutes south east of Woodstock and about 30 minutes from White River Junction and Dartmouth College. If you were worried that it serves a specialty dish of a black and white small game animal, rest assured. Despite the name, nothing but the most appetizing odors emanate from this popular establishment .
The decor downstairs is like that of many popular trendy Eastern college town bôites ; wood floors, tables packed together, and a bar. Upstairs it is more sophisticated; colonial inn-style with pink walls and candlelight. Very soothing. Depending on your mood, you can enjoy a lively club atmosphere or a quiet, romatic dinner. Along with a varied menu, there's a little something for everyone at this inn, which accounts for it's popularity. There's live music on Sundays and Wednesdays.
We visited the restaurant on a rather hot evening this summer. Since appetites are fickle in the heat, we chose a variety of appetizers and first-course dishes rather than a full dinner. We started with two soups, both specials that night. I chose a salmon gazpacho, my dinner companion the fish soup. As luck would have it, I didn't like fish swimming in gazpacho and he is not fond of curry, the main seasoning of the fish soup. This was clearly a case of "right soup, wrong diner" so we switched. I enjoyed the mildly spicy curry broth and the chunks of fish. My companion, whose diet preferences have a lot in common with a North Atlantic seal's, was quite pleased with the cold salmon and tomato-based version of this famous Spanish soup. We continued with salads, then ordered several plates of stuffed mushrooms, ordinarily an appetizer on the menu. The mushrooms were not packed with sawdust-like breadcrumbs. These tasty morsels were filled with melted Feta cheese and sun-dried tomato bits. They were delectable. We concluded our a-la-carte evening with chocolate mousse, which was standard issue. But I'll be back for some more of those 'shrooms, you can bet on it.
Skunk Hollow Restaurant & Tavern
Hartland Four Corners
Tel: (802) 436-2139
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
On to the Tavern...What a wonderful place! The atmosphere is casual. The downstairs is a social, pub atmosphere - long tables mixed with smaller tables all packed together on wooden floors, with music playing and general good vibes. We asked to eat upstairs. It's a little quieter and the best part is - there is no electricity in the dining room! You eat entirely by candlelight! With the pub sounds downstairs and the colonial surroundings upstairs - you feel practically transported to another time. No matter whether you eat downstairs or upstairs - you can choose from basic pub fare or an elegant 4-course meal. They have numerous wines by the bottle or by the glass to choose from, many at reasonable prices. As it was our anniversary, we splurged on the nicer menu options - but were pleasantly surprised to discover that dinner for two, with appetizers, main course, wine, coffee and two large desserts that we couldn't finish was a reasonable $79 plus taxes and tip! Not bad for a romantic and delicious meal by candlelight! We will definitely find our way to Skunk Hollow Tavern again!