Having just moved to Vermont, we heard about the Barnard Inn, and about Will and Ruth, who came from SF, where we had just moved from...we knew their restaurants and thought "what a great idea" so we drove 2 hours round trip in the dark.
What a major disappointment!
First, we couldn't find anyone to help us--we had to search all over the Inn and finally realized that we were to be seated in the very crowded tavern with probably over 30 people milling about with drinks and, of course, being very loud. Granted, there was a party there that moved into the dining room but it was a rocky start.
Than, looking at the wine list, my heart sank--some of the most unimaginative wines I've ever seen, some from vinyards in California that I knew was not good. Ordered a European red bordeaux, a modest success.
Then, the waitress kept apologizing for the slow service--it was crowded and few staff were on hand--so my obvious question was why they wouldn't have anticipated this...it took FOREVER to get anything we ordered.
Our waiter was fine, but honestly, very inexperienced (an art student) and really knew nothing about the food.
On top of that, it was so dimly lit and the menu in such small font, it was impossible to read (I still don't know exactly what I ordered).
The food and choices were, shall we say, uninspired to say the least...steak with fries, fish with veggies, chicken with potatoes. Yes, the food was good, but really nothing special.
There was a party of children--and they later decided to run all over the restaurant playing hide and seek--the staff tolerated this at the discomfort of the dinner guests.
To top this off--TWO large german shepards were allowed to roam all over the tavern and into the kitchen--a MAJOR violation of health regulations...licking the floor, licking the guests, and where where the owners? Nowhere to be seen...OK, I know it's vermont, but this is not only a health regulation but who the hell wants to see large police dogs roaming around .
By dessert, we had had enough, and begrudgingly drove the 1 hour home--a large waste of money and we were largely disappointed in what could have been a nice experience. I though if we came back and ate in the dining room, perhaps it would be better, but given what we saw and experienced, I doubt it.
I read the other reviews here. For the prices, Barnard Inn is really nothing worth driving for.
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