Bites Nearby: Vintage
A lunch to linger over, and a great value.
Vintage Restaurant in Market Square is fine dining American cuisine. The familiar dishes are served with creative flourishes to enhance them: lobster macaroni and cheese or a grilled filet mignon with a port wine glaze from their dinner menu; the poached pear pizza or the buttermilk chicken BLT from their lunch menu. Add to this an atmosphere designed to relax diners, with plenty of natural light and earth tones, and enthusiastic service, and Vintage is an ideal destination for a lunch or dinner to be lingered over.
I visited Vintage during lunch on a Thursday afternoon, occupying a table for one in a wide-open dining room. My server, Nate, was friendly if unrefined and his casual confidence put me enough at ease to ask for recommendations. I settled on the soup of the day, a Manhattan style corn chowder with prosciutto, and the Vintage burger. For an appetizer, I ordered Vintage’s asparagus fries.
The music piped into the dining room didn’t serve the experience well: the mix of popular music from the early nineteen-nineties clashed with the stately elegance of the decor. But it remained at a reasonable volume and I stopped noticing it as courses arrived, and they arrived at well-spaced intervals.
The asparagus fries were a generous portion of thick asparagus spears lightly breaded in panko and gently fried, tempura style. The asparagus boasted tender tips and meaty stalks, green and crisp. Served with them was a garlic and lemon mayonnaise, a lemon aioli, with a nice tanginess, softly peaked. It stuck well to the asparagus spears, its sweetness drawing the saltiness out of the tempura batter. I could have finished the plate of them, but spared a few spears, and some room for the chowder and burger yet to come.
The bank of broad windows where Vintage’s modest dining room faces South Main Street fills the room with natural light even on an overcast day. The rich mahogany floors and the olive accent wall at the front are muted by the spill of light, and the orange and copper accents, as on the table-tops and in the decorations, turn the well-balanced sight-lines back to the business at hand: the food, and one’s dining companions. Nate was an attentive and capable server, checking in enough to keep me engaged but not so much that my lunch was interrupted. Only two other dining room tables were in use while I visited, and I was left wondering whether dinner service was as easy to maintain.
The Manhattan style corn chowder was a delight. The tomato broth was delicate, with a subtle sweetness and little curling slicks of the tomatoes’ fine oils. The corn was fresh, milky and sweet and, sharing a palate with the crispy prosciutto, left a pronounced smokiness in the broth. The perfectly cooked potatoes were of good size and clung to the flavor of the prosciutto.
I ordered with the Vintage burger a glass of an Australian shiraz, and it was brought a moment or two before the burger, presumably for it to aerate, a nice touch. The Vintage burger is a hand-made patty sharing a bulky roll with premium bacon, cheddar, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions. I ordered the burger cooked medium and it arrived medium-well, at best. It was most likely an oversight or a miscommunication, as everything else in my lunch was cooked perfectly, and attention to detail was evident throughout my visit.
Lunch for one at Vintage:
- Asparagus fries: $9.00
- Soup of the Day (Manhattan Corn Chowder): $5.00
- Vintage Burger: $11.00
- One glass of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz: $8.00
Total bill: $35.64
A great value for a well-rounded delight at lunch-time.