The Brasserie L’Oustau style and menu, explained in an earlier article, can be traced to ancient French breweries; the proprietors would have developed menus to serve customers sampling the beer – the “Hops” in the title of this article.
The “Skitch” refers to the Brasserie L’Oustau bar itself which had been owned by reknowned musician and composer Skitch Henderson in New York City. Although the address or business name can’t be confirmed, the bar was purchased at auction in the late 1980s by the family who constructed our building, thus making the “Jump” to Vermont. Word creativity aside, the bar is one of the more salient features of Brasserie L’Oustau and fully dominates the eastern half of the restaurant’s interior.
Skitch Henderson came to visit his relocated bar before his death in 2005.
The handsome mahogany bar features three tall backboard mirrors separated and framed by stained glass oval sconces, and the carving details are bold enough to be noticed but not distract from its expansive top. It is truly a beautifully balanced piece of furniture.
The wood has been maintained and repaired over the years but it has not been refinished and retains its antique character and proof of years of appreciation. We look forward to adding many more years of appreciation and would love your help.
A detail of the base of the bar and brass foot rail.
It sits on your lap, touches your mouth and greets your greasy fingers with abundant appetite. A linen napkin is soft and pure and willing to embrace and forgive; its whole purpose is to absorb your every gastronomic misdirection, absolve you and hold all evidence on a folded square of fabric then removed.
If you’ve never considered cloth napkins before perhaps now you can; the quality of your dining experience really does depend on them.
Even before you sit at a restaurant table the napkin influences the impression you have of what is to come. The napkin may be folded like a swan gliding on a plate-lake in one restaurant, a tulip bursting from a water glass vase in the next, or lightly nesting the flatware in a simple fold in yet another.
Glassware, linen and tableware – silverware, candle, salt and pepper, etcetera – are all an indication of the type of meal to come. Casual dining might have paper napkins around a simple fork and knife on a bare table; fine dining could poise soft linen in tall stemware at place settings of 6 or more pieces. In all cases your expectations of the meal begin with the napkin.
Brasserie L’Oustau folds its linen napkins simply to reflect the casual and respectful spirit of the brasserie. We take you to the table where you will settle and easily enjoy your dinner and our hospitality. There is no pretense or posturing about our brasserie experience and the simple napkin fold indicates you are at a comfortable restaurant with good food, service and community.
The simple fold of the linen napkins at Brasserie L’Oustau make it easy for diners to settle themselves and continue on to their biggest challenge: deciding what to order from our extensive menu.
There is one exception to our “keep it simple” paradigm; the bread basket nestles sliced baguettes on linen with an “artichoke” fold. Sometimes we like to shake things up a bit.