Hen of the Wood

Bar, Eatery

55 Cherry St
Burlington, Vermont, 05401-8458
United States

(802) 540-0534 | map

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Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 35 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We may have bailed on the work conference’s adequate buffet to come back to the hotel for lunch (read: Heady cans), and got talking about dinner plans as ones do. Was toying with Winooski play, but Michaela just threw out Hen of the Wood like it was no big deal (sure, ‘cause you can easily get a din reservation there day of, ha,... except she did). Sounded like a fine idea, uh huh. She gets points for this one. Located right next to the right next to the hotel...

Justin and I arrived and set up barside a half hour before mealtime reservations, as agreed upon by all and adhered to by no one else (and were forced to drink without them). ‘U’ shaped woody plank bar with vertical wood slat base & foot box; seating for 17 on mounted swivel chairs 3 sides ‘round. Bar island is a cooler with booze atop. The barback holds tiered booze glowlit on mirrored panels. Tubed and boxed boozings & wines atop over a shorty shelf with glassware, copper cups, & pieces of play.

Seating out across the room past the bar area and penned to one side. There are roughly a dozen and a half tables & leather booths, some on shared benchings. We have been seated. We are 6, so it’s much roomier than had we been the 8 expected. To the rear, 2 sections of open kitchen seating barside for about 8 in all (Why hello, big wood fired stove). People mulling around back there, they be grillin’ and chillin’. And down the hall, a private little room with seating for a bunch; those guys seem to be having some good fun, or more fun than me, anyway. As such, I hate them.

Wood plank pillars, floorings and dark walls (they may be green but maybe not). Wood slat plan ceiling with angled boxings throughout. Squared dangle rack with filament bulb bowl lighting, drop spike lampings, sunken spots, & pan lamps over the rear seating bar kitchen. A mounted fish, buck print, corner wood stove, a window with some sides of beef a-hanging, and down the hallway, a super cool wall map of Chittenden County from 1857. Partially badass, no. Totally bad ass, yes.

6 beers on tap; 5 of them Vermont offerings (Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, Lost Nation Oktoberfest, Zero Gravity Hug Your Farmer Gruit, Queen City Yorkshire Porter, Hill Farmstead Edward, which just replaced the Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D’ete Aux Framboises), and regional Connecticut player (Evil Twin Low Life).

And nearly a dozen and a half cans & bottles; craft fun ($8 Heady topper cans, Evil Twin, Stillwater, Jack’s Abby, Mystic, Bruery, Allagash), and imports (Fantome Hiver, Dieu Du Ciel, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Le Trou Du Diable, and Cantillon, the entry reading “ask your server what is available”. Much to my surprise, they had the Classic Gueuze, 375’s for $20. And not surprisingly, nearly 100 wines.

I drank the Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, Hill Farmstead Edward, and more than my share of the 2 Cantillon Classic Gueuzes for, ahem, the table.

Apps for the table; grilled octopus (sunchokes, scallions, ginger), beef tartare (oyster Sauce, tarragon, chips), smoked bluefish (salt-roasted Kennebec potatoes, buttermilk, WIN!), and 2 of the 10 cheeses; Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (because I love), and the Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise. And entreed with the hanger steak (chioggia beets, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, radicchio). The steak was more rare-medium-rare than medium-rare, and as such, was a bit tough to cut through, and honestly, was 2x the price and only ½ as good as the hanger steak at St. Anselm (Brooklyn, yo). I am giving dessert some serious consideration, specifically the apple crisp (Scott farm heirloom apples, vanilla ice cream, & caramel) and oh, hey, can I get a double espresso, please? Damn, that crisp was mad crispy good desserting.

The menu is a bit eclectic and may not be approachable to some, but all in all, a very good meal. Would like a revisit (and a look in on the Waterbury location, too). Good goddamn drink! Server was polite, attentive, and I could change some of my many wicked ways for her. I am sooo going back to the hotel to chill, I need a down night after last night and what will be coming tomorrow, no doubt.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DMC43
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I had such a great meal and experience here. Really well crafted meals. Excellent regional cheese menu. Tap list is on point and not overwhelming. Bar staff is knowledgeable, courteous and kind. If I had one night to spend in Burlington, this is where I would dine.

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Photo of JLK7299
3.65/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 2 | food: 5

Very high quality food. small beer list but they did have Heady. You do have to make a reservation about 3 weeks in advance if you want a seat. Didn't know that but they made up a table just for my wife and I so they were great about it. Expensive but worth it. But not for beer purposes.

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Photo of ADKbeerguy
4.81/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Photo of Mattybuchs
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 5

To be sure, this place is an upscale restaurant, not a beer bar. The food is mostly locally sourced and spectacular- definitely head and shoulders of other food I've had in Burlington. Their ethos of choosing quality local products extends to their small but nice beer list. I had an Edward and a Heady Topper with my meal. It would be possible to pop in for an appetizer and a beer, and you'd surely enjoy it. It's not cheap, but the food is worth it and the beer prices are certainly in line with other places in Burlington.

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Photo of jcoleMA66
4.76/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Resuin
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of user785335
4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of eluvah
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Place is comfortable but a little dark. Sat at the kitchen counter, chefs were very nice. Waitress was attentive and gave some recommendations on cheese and apps. Very good beer selection. The food was outstanding. My one complaint is that it was a bit pricey for the amount of food, especially the apps.

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Photo of jfitzbrew
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.54/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Hen of the Wood Burlington, Vermont
4 June 2016

General thoughts: Charming place that's warm and cozy and nicely decored. I wasn't fond of the lighting above the bar (it seemed a little "trying" for my tastes, but it worked as far as ambiance lighting goes) but the ceiling more than made up for it (plus it has an acoustic sound-dampening benefit, which is needed). If you can get me upfront with something in the decor that's a good sign because that means it's not just cookie-cutter, which then means there's been thought put into everything else as well, and most likely money, because the last place that restauranteurs want to spend their last dollar is the extra-mile of decor.

Service from the get-go was very good, if not exceptional. I felt like a valued guest rather than just someone waiting in queue; and I also felt as if everything was casual and friendly, and there was none of the NYC "I work here and you don't so I am in charge", but rather a heartfelt "What can I do for you?".

Perhaps there could have been a little more attention paid during the meal, but in all honesty for me I prefer to be left a little bit alone (I do not want to be poked at or pampered, I'm very English in that way), and I thought that it was a little bit more casual-formal (as is the whole place overall) which worked better than if it had been any more stiff. I hate feeling that person, or persons (sometimes several), waiting behind me and watching for the right time to replace my fork. So, for my tastes I'll call it "right on".

Overall it was one of the best meals I've ever had, although don't read too much into that as I've had many great meals across the globe; and where it stands, I don't know, but just the fact that it even makes the list, AND that it was memorable really does say a lot now, doesn't it?! To top that off, apparently there's not another good restaurant in or around Burlington? Really? I'm no snob, I can live with whatever (pretty much, and I did think the pizza at Folino's was pretty damned great!), but there are levels, and Hen of the Wood reaches that higher level. They do that with the highest quality ingredients (clearly), and the highest quality preparation (also quite clearly - I love the open kitchen).

I felt that the menu choices, although limited (which I'm all for because it makes it easier for the kitchen to choose the best ingredients, and allow them to get everything done 'just right'), were actually fairly varied (at least for 2 people who could share) - 8 small plates and 5 large... almost all of which seemed tasty to me... not bad!

I didn't visit for the beer, I couldn't really have cared less about that at the time - there's so much beer in Burlington I wouldn't be surprised if you turned on the tap one day and IPA came out! - but I had an Edward from Hill Farmstead while waiting for my table, and then a Heady Topper before starting (which was probably a mistake), followed by white wine. There were other interesting beers available as well, and there is a bar area, so you could just stop in for a beer without having dinner - which is really another great part of the place, it's just very relaxed and non-pretentious, just like Vermont itself. The bar area has a life of it's own away from the dining.

I'll return, and I'd recommend it without second though.

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Photo of Cooker_stp
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of socon67
4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Food is absolutely incredible. Beer options include Heady Topper cans, Hill Farmstead, Zero Gravity, and other locals. Service was solid as the server could make suggestions. It is an upscale restaurant and not necessarily a beer destination. But this place is serious about beer as they are with their wonderful food.

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Photo of zotzot
3.7/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.5

Very nice restaurant
Not really a beervplace

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.53/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of SpoiledInVT
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

If you're strictly going for beer, this may not be THE place to visit, but it is certainly an amazing place to visit. Their beer selection, while small, is certainly delicious. 6 taps with local beers such as Lawsons, Hill Farmstead, Lost Nation, Zero Gravity, and the ever delicious Duchess du Bourgogne tossed in the mix! About a dozen or so bottles varying from Jacks Abby to Cantillon really round out the list. Since this isn't a food review, I won't go into too much detail, but holy f'ing smokes is the food good. There's something mighty special about eating $1 oysters and sipping on a delicious beer. I'll be back again oh-so-soon.

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Photo of Ltspdmn
4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of BranfordBound
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

Went here Sunday night and we were walk-ins so they seated us at the kitchen counter. Turns out this is better than sitting at the tables. We got to watch the staff cook all the meals. I drank some Focal Banger and we split some apps tapas-style. Had beef tartare and grilled octopus along with a cheese plate with local cheese. Service was solid. Beer selection was pretty decent, but it's clearly a wine-centric place. Overall the food was very pricey, but it's an upscale restaurant meant for special occasions. I would go again for the food and wine, for sure.

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Photo of bostonbeans
4.76/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 5

Photo of SABERG
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

We have been on two occasions, each time the experience was delightful.
In Burlington for Vermont Brewers Festival. We were able to get bar seating, brewers from Brasserie Dunham
and Trou Diable were in the house supporting a tap take over.
The pairings of food and beer offerings were well thought out. Fresh oysters and barrel aged saison were excellent.
The service was exceptional. the feel was a bit subdues but, I like that element.
What a fine dining establishment, with great service and a great depth of offerings.
Worth seeking out.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Photo of rodmanfor3
2.33/5  rDev -47.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 3

The food is good but a bit overpriced. And everything is overly salted. Not a great taplist.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

As a beer spot alone, this isn't a destination. But if you are looking for a combination of great food and great beer, this is the place to go in Burlington. The tap list generally features a HF tap as well as Sip of Sunshine and usually one or two other really good local beers. There is also a great bottle list. Fairly pricey (food-wise), but you get what you pay for.

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Hen of the Wood in Burlington, VT
Place rating: 4.44 out of 5 with 35 ratings