The Restaurant Week

In 1992, a small number of enterprising restaurants in New York City coordinated efforts to create the first of what would become “Restaurant Week.” These pioneer restaurants offered a lunch-only $19.92 prix fixe menu from Monday through Friday of the one week, and its great success has since altered the promotional schedules of restaurants throughout the world. From the entire country of Brazil to the city of Bangalore in India and almost everywhere else, diners can find opportunities to choose from specially priced menus for a limited time each year.

Each town’s, city’s, county’s, region’s and country’s Restaurant Week promotions are different. Some events last for only a few days, others are many days or only week days and may occur more than once a year. Prix fixe prices vary, also. There are Restaurant Week events that coordinate with area festivals or have  programs such as cocktail competitions, beer tastings or cooking exhibitions. The size and shape of the Restaurant Weeks are as varied as the places where they occur.

The original format for Restaurant Week may have changed as it expanded around the world, but in NYC the 3-course Prix Fixe remains the only available special menu even as the number of weeks it’s offered has increased.

With homage to the original NYC promotion, SoVT Restaurant Week offers a Prix Fixe 3-course menu at many fine dining restaurants in the southernmost Vermont counties of Bennington and Windham. The twice-yearly event is scheduled when it may be less crowded by seasonal tourism but still a beautiful area to visit. Many of the restaurants are part of some of the most remarkable New England inns while others are located in historic rural towns and small cities. A full list of participating restaurants can be found at the website

The Sprint 2014 SoVT Restaurant Week promotion features 3-course lunches for $20.14 and 3-course dinners for $30.14 between April 25th and May 4th.

The Spring 2014 SoVT Restaurant Week promotion features 3-course lunches for $20.14 and 3-course dinners for $30.14 from April 25th to May 4th.

Visit and “Like” our Facebook page for updates on all the information you need to plan your meals at the SoVT Restaurant Week!

Where Cocktails Come From, and Where They Go

It’s Springtime and we’ve introduced a new cocktail menu. To say our customers appreciate it would be too formal and too mild; let’s just say that people are drinking it up!

What makes this cocktail menu so successful is that it reflects the trend in cocktails. An urban trend realized in rural Vermont.

The reason cocktail trends originate in cities is a simple one. Change comes from the young, the young mostly live and play in the city and the city has more restaurants and bars than, well, anything except ATMs. Most importantly, young urbanites won’t drink a cocktail just because it’s new; it has to be good and it has to fit within their generation’s larger trends of fashion, lifestyle and personal expression. It has to be fresh and unique and edgy, just like they are.

The Fellini Bellini, served on Mother’s Day 2012.

When it was time to update the Brasserie L’Oustau cocktail menu from cold-weather potions to more sprightly spirits for warmer months, we requested recommendations from as many reliable sources as we could find – servers, bartenders, managers, friends, journals and professional publications from far and wide. We discovered that pear and peach are this year’s cutting edge flavors so we included the Bella Pear Martini and Fellini Bellini. If someone likes a cocktail with lemon or lime, we have the newly inspired Ipanema Caipiroska and Leblon Caipirinha. After all, we like to add a little crispness to the warm summer breezes at Brasserie L’Oustau.

The cocktails do more than reflect the weather and trends of the day; they need to coordinate with the menu. In May, when the New England weather more consistently turned from winter to warmer, it was time to redesign the lunch and dinner menus and we incorporated ingredients that would be in season and welcome during the Spring and Summer. The lighter, sweeter, more aromatic dishes of Spring replaced the heavier comfort foods from colder months. It was a perfect time to bring the cocktails into the light as well with fruit purees, acidic touches and carbonation.

Our outdoor tables are a perfect place to dine during the warmer months, and we look forward to the pastels and bubbles of our seasonal cocktails adding a touch of celebration to the fresh Vermont breezes, warming sunlight and seasonal menus.