By: Janet Kalandranis
I have a crush. On a restaurant. On a chef. On some food, some local food. Oh, and it’s really good food. You know, the kind of food you dream about and can taste even without taking a bite. Yea, that kind.
It comes from Rye Tavern, from a Chef who is so unbelievably authentic that you just want to hug her in thanks. To thank her for supporting a cause and realizing that it is important to talk to farmers, it is important to eat local and it can be one of the best-tasting food experiences ever. And it’s not just a trend for Chef Joanna Farrar, but instead a belief by the whole team. Because if they are going to play in this “local” idea, they’ve decided to come with their A-game.
You travel down bumpy Old Sandwich Road where Rye Tavern is located and there are two things that come to mind 1)Local food must mean I have to sacrifice location and 2)I’m definitely on the wrong road. Luckily, both of these thoughts are incorrect. This cute historic house is adorned with a great outdoor patio (great for warmer weather, obviously!), a gorgeous wood bar and did I mention the garden in the backyard. Yes, a garden. One where the restaurant is still pulling produce to create, cook and serve on your plate.
And then there is the greenhouse down the road and the local farmers that help Rye Tavern truly serve a local menu. A menu that is creative and refreshing and changes every 4-6 weeks. Because that’s what you have to do if you’re truly serving local. And local it is with at least 60% of the produce being local as well as the majority of meats, poultry and fish. Oh, and this is not an easy feat. But Rye Tavern got in early and they are partners with their farmers continuously working to bring local from farm to plate every night (and brunch on the weekends). So I had to try it myself because I’m always a disbeliever…and I was kind of hungry.
Arugula Salad – Local produce tastes different. This salad had the most amazing oranges and roasted red peppers I’ve ever tasted with a light dusting of cranberry vinaigrette. Entirely new flavors in a salad that made me think, “Yes, I can eat salad for every meal.”
Grass Fed Local Hamburger – I adore local meat, but it’s hard to find at restaurants. And sometimes when you do the burger falls flat. Not at Rye – it was juicy, tender and accompanied by the MOST addicting truffle fries ever.
Trout – An overflowing plate of light and flaky fish topped with a rustic tomato sauce, pork sausage and freshly-picked kale. I can’t even believe this dish exists!
Grilled Pork Chop – like how it was meant to be treated with a rustic cranberry relish, jalapeno polenta and fresh spinach all cooked perfectly. It’s like a whole new world of pork.
Apple Cranberry Crisp – OK this was the cutest dish ever. The warm crumble with the cold ice cream and the farm fresh cranberries, heaven.
And why does the team at Rye Tavern think local is so important? Because it’s a way of life for this group not a passing trend they want to follow. And that friends, is how to eat local in a very local spot.
Submitted by Janet Kaladranis.