The summer is settling in, and we’re all starting to take a deep breath of fresh air and feel that Vitamin D run through our systems. It’s time to stretch those toes and get back to the outdoors that were not so inviting for a few months there.
We know the Mad River Valley is gorgeous in the winter, with some amazing slopes at Sugarbush. But we recently felt the heat of the pavement, the mugginess that is Penn Station, the bustle that is Manhattan and decided to head to Vermont for a few days of decompression and beauty.
Vermont is generally associated with great outdoors, beautiful scenery, and incredible mountains…but we happen to know a little secret. There’s more to this state than great hiking. The small town of Warren, Vermont in the Mad River Valley is foodie heaven. Walk around the quaint main street and you’ll find NYC/NJ transplants everywhere…Chef Adam Longworth of The Common Man is no exception.
A Vermont Native, Adam spent a long tenure at one of our favorite NYC restaurants, Gotham Bar and Grill. Working with Chef Alfred Portale helped Adam curate and cull the skills necessary to be the fantastic, innovative Executive Chef that he is today. In addition to working in kitchens in London, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., he has traveled and continues to travel extensively in Alaska, China, Japan, Singapore, and Europe for inspiration, the influence of which can be seen in his creative, unique and constantly developing cooking style.
The Common Man’s other half, Lorien Wroten, is a more recent Vermont transplant. Lorien can be seen flitting about the dining room with a sincere smile for every guest, stopping to welcome regulars and ensuring every diner is enjoying their feast. In 2009, after many combined years working and living in restaurants owned by others Adam and Lorien were looking to branch out on their own. The couple was instantly drawn to the rustic beauty, simple charm, and endless access to outdoor activity provided by the Mad River Valley. Chef Adam and Lorien, are working hard to re-energize this Vermont dining institution…and they are succeeding with flying colors.
The Common Man is anything but common. Sited in a 19th century barn, the dining room is elegant in its simplicity. With hand-hewn beams framing an open hearth fireplace, the 100-seat restaurant is inviting and intimate.
The shrimp Rueben starter is unlike any Rueben you’ve ever had – a perfect bite of house-made kraut, house-made thousand island, pastrami spiced smoked shrimp, and rye bread create is oh so satisfying. Move on to the smoked salmon salad with a creamy lemon dressing that you’ll want to lick out of the bowl (but don’t), and then the season summer menu features a Halibut entrée with roasted potato, tomato, cauliflower, fennel and a caper white wine emulsion. It’s light, bright and absolutely delicious. The menu changes constantly, as is part of the charm and appeal of a Vermont farm-to-table menu, and Chef Adam is always innovating. In the winter you might find a more refined ‘NYC’ menu, while in the summer you’ll get a glimpse into the creative process and maybe be the first to try basil-crème brulee ice cream (because there was crème brulee custard leftover, so what else would you do but make ice cream?). The actual ‘intended’ dessert of a semi-traditional crème brulee is pretty spectacular too. Don’t try and share, you’ll devour your own serving instantaneously.
The Common Man is inviting enough to feel like you are home, with an elevated dining experience to satisfy your palate. It’s the perfect marriage of small town hospitality and world class cuisine.