One of our favorite restaurants, less than a 30-minute drive from Brattleboro, is Burdick’s. This easy-to-like dining venue is in Walpole, New Hampshire, one of the prettiest and most historic villages in New England. If you need a reason to take a ride, this walkable town of about 4,000 residents, right over the state line from Bellows Falls, will reward you with a fabulous lunch, dinner or brunch.
Burdick’s dining room provides a beautiful and comfortable setting with appropriate lighting and tables spaced safely apart. For those of us who like sitting in the bar area of a restaurant, Burdick’s offers that as well. In the warmer months, the restaurant has outdoor seating both on its front porch, as well as under a tent that has been added as a result of COVID.
Wherever you choose to sit, Burdick’s is about the food. Starters are thoughtful and excellent.
A dish we have never seen elsewhere is the Togarashi, a roasted sweet potato broiled with mentaiko mayo, crispy shallot and garlic chili oil. Dating back to the 17th century, Togarashi is a Japanese spice mixture that usually contains seven ingredients. Mentaiko is most often the roe from cod which is very popular in Japan and Korea. The combination works incredibly well and is a wonderful way to start a terrific meal. Maybe it all tastes better because of an icy Tanqueray martini (no vermouth) with a lemon twist, but we think it would be fabulous anyway.
Other tantalizing appetizers include Burdick’s very popular French onion soup with gruyere, roasted marrow bones with sea salt and toasts, New England oysters by the half-dozen or dozen, a salad of bacon, watercress, avocado and tomato, an arugula salad with chevre and an assortment of fine cheeses. Starters generally range from $9 to $17.
Burdick’s offers an expansive selection of entrees with something for everyone. One of our favorite’s is Ken’s salad, consisting of grilled salmon on a bed of bibb lettuce with avocado, parmesan cheese and lemon vinaigrette. Priced at $23, this salad is always delicious, satisfying and healthy enough so we don’t feel too guilty about the upcoming dessert. Incidentally, the salad is named after part-owner Ken Burns, the legendary filmmaker, who moved to Walpole in 1979 and has been involved with the restaurant since 2001.
Other main course choices include beef Bolognese, duck ragout, trout, braised rabbit, lamb stew, quiche lorraine or florentine, omelet with pomme frites, chicken salad with potato straws and garlic-lemon aioli, mussels mariniere, steak frites, oven roasted chicken and a vegetarian plate composed of assorted seasonal vegetables. A whole roasted fish is often available for dinner on Friday and Saturday.
In addition, there are numerous sandwich choices such as a lobster roll, whole belly clams on a torpedo roll and two different, but very tasty, burgers. We like the bistro burger, which comes on a challah bun, but consider the BBQ Roadhouse burger, accompanied by pork belly, bacon fried tobacco onion rings and apple relish.
There are also three main course salads including a lobster salad, a nicoise salad with grilled rare tuna and a panzanella with a lemon vinaigrette. Most entrees are priced between $17 to $33. Having dined at Burdick’s numerous times, we can attest to the quality and consistency of the food. We have tried many different appetizers and entrees and have always found the food and the setting to be outstanding. Hats off to talented head chef Wes Babb. Service is friendly, attentive and accommodating.
Desserts are not to be missed. It’s worth eating kale for a week if it allows you to enjoy desserts at Burdick’s. We usually order two and share. Try the flourless chocolate torte served with whipped cream. It is dense and decadent. A glass or two of Graham’s tawny 20-year port at $10 is a meal ending treat when matched with a trio of cheeses or a chocolate delight. You can’t go wrong with the dark chocolate mousse, the creme brulee, tiramisu or the house-made ice creams, always a special indulgence. All desserts are worth the calories, especially with an espresso, a latte or a cappuccino.
Sunday brunch, served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is so delightful. There is a dim sum menu with awesome steamed buns, including gyoza, which is a pork and cabbage dumpling with chili oil. A real treat for your taste buds. Also fun are the scallion pancakes with ginger and sesame. In addition, Sunday brunch offers brioche French toast, eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, waffles with berries and whipped cream as well as some of the other appetizers and entrees previously mentioned.
Burdick’s has a fabulous after-meal drink menu with top-notch brandies, digestifs (make believe you’re in Italy and linger) and dessert cocktails. Similarly excellent is their smart wine list. For a white, we recommend the Sancerre (perfect for lunch) priced at $13.50 for a glass or $55 for the bottle. For a red wine, we like the Chateauneuf-du-Pape available only by bottle, at a reasonable $63. Subject to a $20 corkage fee, guests may bring their own favorite wine which can be taken home, if unfinished. The wine selection is vast, including champagne, rose and at least 15 beers, including currently trendy Allagash Belgian White and Lawson’s Little Sip IPA. On Wednesdays, Burdick’s offers half off on most bottles of wine. Maybe your designated driver can have a sip.
After you’ve finished this wonderful meal, make your way to the chocolate shop next door. Although no longer part of the Burdick’s restaurant, the artisanal chocolate selection, headed up by renowned chocolatier Michael Klug, is not to be missed. Each piece is made by hand without the use of molds, creating delicacies that are a gastronomic feat. These works of art, which have been drawing acclaim for decades, are also available at Burdick’s Chocolate shops in Boston, New York, Chicago and D.C. Bring some home for yourself or someone you love. The shop is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Restaurant at Burdick’s is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Best to call 603-756-9058 for reservations.