Archive for August, 2013

whetstoneA friend and I from here in New York frequently visit Brattleboro a few times a summer, but we’d never been to Whetstone. Last night, we were set to meet an old friend of his from school and the friend’s wife and his son/her stepson. We would have gone to Three Stones but they’re closed on Wednesdays, and La Marina was booked, so we all went to Whetstone. Well…

The first issue was the parking. There was none available in the full lot. At 6:10 on a Wednesday night. Which we took as a sign that the place must have been packed to the rafters because of the food and ambience. So we all parked on Main Street and walked back. It was a surprise, therefore, to discover a nearly-empty dining room by the bar. OK. Well, we sat down, and after about fifteen minutes our waitress Thea arrived. Lovely young lady, filled our waterglasses (even if she had to go back for a second pitcher to fill two of them) and handed us the menus. It all sounded very appetizing, both the food and the beers. My friend and the wife ordered North Coast on tap, which they both seemed to enjoy. The friend and the son had Cokes, which I guess even Whetstone can’t ruin.

Then came appetizers after a half-hour. I had the Caesar, which was OK at best; I’ve had better and I’ve made better. My friend had Duck Nachos, which were palatable but would have been more so if the duck wasn’t served in tiny morsels. Wife had Drunken Mussels, which she enjoyed well enough, and onion soup, which was also so-so. Friend had a Whetstone Salad and son had a side salad, both of which they said were fair. At this point, another bright-eyed young lady named Krissy appeared, informing us that Thea’s shift had ended and she would be our server for the remainder of the night. Fine, no big whoop.

Entrees began to arrive thirty-five minutes later with my friend and his friend’s overly-sauced Eggplant Parmigiana, and then Krissy dropped the tray carrying son’s Cioppino and wife’s Mac and Cheese. Wife ended up with it all over her purse and son had blue cheese dressing on his legs. Waitress apologized and ran for more portions after setting down my Alligator Tacos, which survived the spillage. I love alligator, but only tail and only well-deep-fried. The alligator was raw. I mean, more raw than Eddie Murphy’s standup act in 1987. When she finally appeared again with a cheery, “How IS everything?” I told her I wasn’t the type to complain, but there was no way I could eat this, to which she apologized and asked me if I’d like them to cook it a little more. I said no, I think I’d like something else. She disappeared again, and about twenty minutes later an owner appeared and apologized, they were comping us for the raw gator and anything else I’d like to order. So I ordered a very simple flatbread pizza. Krissy tried to convince me to get something more expensive since it was on the house, but I said no, a flatbread pizza would do nicely. (I might have ordered the steak, but I’m sure if I’d ordered medium-rare it would have arrived well-done). She brought it twenty minutes later along with son’s Cioppino and wife’s Mac and Cheese. Well, the pizza was as scary as anything you’d get at Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale AZ; burnt bottom, doughy middle. Yuck. Wife more or less enjoyed her Mac and Cheese, but kiddo HATED the Cioppino, which was served in a very spicy (and watery) Fra Diavolo-style sauce on a bed of wide noodles.

Half an hour later, Krissy returned to ask us if we’d like dessert. I opted for Gelato, which I figured was safe. The only flavor they had was vanilla, not my first choice, and it was good enough, but I was perplexed by the presence of the whipped-cream topping. Kiddo had the Pint of Mousse, a mix of milk chocolate and white chocolate mousses in a pint glass, which he seemed to like. Everyone else ordered coffee, which was watery and substandard.

I might give this place two stars if it wasn’t for the fact that I accidentally left my sunglasses at the table when we left, and when I went back to get them, they’d vanished. Nobody had seen them, nobody knew where they were, and I’m sure somebody’s wearing them right now. Probably Krissy’s boyfriend, since we barely left a tip.

I give this place maybe a year at the outset to still be in business, unless Gordon Ramsay can work a miracle. Don’t go until then.