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“Wonderful meal”

Jessica's at Swift House Inn Restaurant
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Ranked #5 of 45 Restaurants in Middlebury
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Route 7
Description: A meal at Jessica's Restaurant is always memorable. The recently updated dining room is a reflection of the casual comfort and style of this New England country inn. Jessica's Restaurant is located in the Swift House Inn in Middlebury, Vermont. Jessica's is just two blocks from downtown Middlebury, set in an 1814 stately home, surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens. Jessica's casual atmosphere is the perfect place for an dinner for two, or a celebratory dinner for four to forty! Come early and enjoy our bar; Tom, with his more than 30 years of bartending experience, can fix you a cocktail or help you choose the right bottle of wine. We have won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for our wine list for six straight years! We also have local beers on tap including Switchback, from Southern Vermont; and two brews from Middlebury, Wolaver's Organic India Pale Ale and Otter Creek Seasona.
New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Wonderful meal”
Reviewed 2 July 2014

I was looking for a reasonably priced but somewhat special restaurant for a birthday dinner. We made a reservation the day before for 6 and were placed in what ended up a private room. The decor is lovely - B&B/victorian style. The service was excellent and the menu had a wide variety of price ranges so we could all eat well and keep the cost to about $100 - not bad for 6. We did not order drinks, or desserts, but even my teenagers left well fed. The vegetarians in the group thoroughly enjoyed the Mushroom ravioli. The lobster bisque - a special that night was one of the best I have ever had. We look forward to visiting again.
The only possible bad thing whihc was incredibly minor was that our server told us the veggie of the day was bok shoy and when the plates arrived, it was haricot vert. And they were delicious.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank foodhiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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125 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    24
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    1
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“3 out of 4 isn't bad...”
Reviewed 29 June 2014 via mobile

We arrived early and could not be seated - no problem; we just hit the bar and sampled one of the three local brews on tap when seated, instead of a packed dining room, we were seated along the edge in a room with three other full tables and four empty tables in the middle. It became clear they were simply understaffed as it took some time for our order to be taken, drinks delivered, and bread to arrive (the latter after three reminders). The poor waitress was running all over the dining room. The menu does not appear to have changed in the four years since John visited. It also advertises that local farms and their food are highlighted, but it is clear from the menu that it is hard to find a complete entree featuring locally produced food. Three of the four entrees were good, although the ravioli was over-sauced. The medium-rare burger came well done (although the steak did come medium rare - how do you get the steak right and the burger wrong?). The fries were barely warm and were soggy and flavor-less. They did offer to cook another burger, but the wait for our entrees was long enough for me to be concerned that I would be the only one eating. I passed and they didn't charge for the burger - nice touch (especially since half went back to the kitchen for the chef to see). Not sure we will return as there are plenty of other options in the area.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vermont25, Owner at Jessica's at Swift House Inn Restaurant, responded to this review, 9 July 2014
We missed on this occasion. There is never a good excuse for slow service, we just were not on our game and have discussed this night's service as a team. Compounding it with an improperly cooked burger never helps. I am happy to say that Chef Rob seldom misses the temps on his meats and the staff reacted properly with their attempts to remedy the problem. Our menu changes both seasonally, with availability of products and the Chef's interest in keeping the menu and himself fresh. There are staple items and signature items that stay and rotate on the menu. The menu is always changing. Our menu is currently 30% bigger than four years ago; comparing the two there are only 3 items the same as they were 4 years ago. We take advantage of as many locally produced products as we can, which vary significantly by season in Vermont. We stand by and will continue to support the 37 local purveyors with whom we are partnering!
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Dayton, Ohio, United States
Level 6 Contributor
385 reviews
253 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“Entirely satisfying!”
Reviewed 19 June 2014

We're lodging at the Swift House while spending a few days enjoying the good life in Vermont (review to come after we check out!), and so this highly-rated in-house restaurant had to be on the itinerary. We were not disappointed; everything was competent, and the food was on a par with the finest places we've dined.

We arrived at our reserved time and the place was not quite full--but it was a gorgeous evening and we requested a table on their porch. It was full, but we were given the option of waiting maybe 15 minutes while on table finished desserts, so we got a couple of glasses on wine from their bar and lounged on their screened-in side porch, wife reading their USA Today while I admired the immaculate grounds. It seemed like only a few minutes until our table was open.

We'd skipped lunch so appetizers were in order. She had the chicken liver pate, and my sample of it was toothsome; a perfect baguette toast slice thickly topped from the little jar of pate, with my application of a little dijon and a halved cornichon on the side--the flavors were BRIGHT (caps intended). Mine was fried calamari; technically proper, but the sort of calamari dish I delight in because it was an adventure. The rings themselves had a fresh lemon flavor and that was delicious, and there was a savory dipping sauce, but the real joy of the plate were some sweet pickled red onion rings, which paired with a similar-sized calamari ring provided a perfect bite every time.

My wife's entree was mushroom ravioli, and she cleaned the plate. I had already determined that I was going for the saltimbocca, first time I'd tried this classic. It was a delectable pork tenderloin wrapped in bay leaves and Prosciutto da Parma, nicely sauced. The sides were white fingerlings, oven-roasted but not quite as caramelized as I might have done them, and asparagus, restaurant cut (but conservatively, no woody bottoms!) and steamed to the height of flavor.

The only flaws were a few cases of dropped utensils by the wait staff, which was otherwise faultless, and a half-bottle of Malbec that was, sadly, two-note in flavor profile (I won't blame Jessica's for that, they didn't make the wine).

In all, there I was on a pleasant June evening with the Vermont sun descending while I got a top-notch gourmet dinner after a pleasant day of sight-seeing. A taste of the good life--no, make that the very best life!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank TR26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Middlebury, Vermont
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A lovely dining experience”
Reviewed 8 June 2014

Jessica's is an excellent option when looking for a special restaurant in Middlebury (parent's weekend anyone). The service, albeit slow at times, is warm and accommodating and many menu items are truly excellent. The scallops, pan seared and seasonally paired with an appropriate sauce (butternut squash and candied pecans in the fall), are tender, buttery, and perfectly cooked. One is always given a choice of side, either rice pilaf or mashed potatoes, of which the rice pilaf is a wonderful option. Desserts like the maple creme brulee and banana bread pudding are fantastic, perfectly portioned and beautifully presented, not to mention delicious. In fact the bread pudding is so fantastic I would assert it may be the best in the area, velvety in texture and complemented by a buttery caramel sauce.
The only drawbacks to Jessica's is that the food, although not served in large portions, is generally rather heavy in nature. The creamy ravioli might be better replaced with an additional fish dish or lighter pasta option (an excellent pesto with grilled chicken might be interesting). All that being said, Jessica's is a lovely, well run establishment and always a reliable choice for a nice dinner out.

Recommended items:
pan seared scallops
maple creme brulee
banana bread pudding

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Madeline S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canandaigua
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Marred by Service Issues”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

We dined at the Swift House graduation weekend, another big night that can test a restaurant's mettle. I made the reservation 2 months prior, and confirmed the week before. We had a part y of 8 and were given a dining time of 5:30.
Of course a large party is hard to organize, especially if they haven't seen each other in a while. Our waitress immediately announced that our table would be "turning over" and we should be expeditious. This made my husband mad and put us under pressure to "get out". We ordered drinks, and when we asked some questions about the menu, the waitress again notified us that our table had a time limit, and we needed to get our orders in. This now became what I would consider unprofessional.
We therefore skipped appetizers and salads and went straight to the main course. After we had finished, dessert menus were brought. No offer for more wine when our bottle was finished. I guess we had eaten quickly enough to be able to order dessert, and we paid our bill with the mandatory 18% tip and left.
My suggestion would have been that the owner inform me at the time our reservation was made that it was a busy night, and did we mind a time limit ion the table, giving me the option then to take the table or pass on the experience. The way it was done was very rude and frankly ruined our enjoyment of the excellent food.
We all enjoyed our meals, but some of the sides listed on the menu never arrived, and the waitress didn't do more than a cursory check. I also thought the main dishes were much better in quality and execution than the desserts, so don't get one if you are full-or being hurried out of the restaurant.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank SnowyandSniggles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vermont25, Owner at Jessica's at Swift House Inn Restaurant, responded to this review, 3 June 2014
Thank you for your comments on your dining experience. I apologize for our mistakes that evening. When you made the reservation I should have told you that we most likely would be using the table later that evening for other guests; however, the server should never have said this to you! It is not her job to do so, and it has never been our procedure to tell the guests that we are using the table again, or that they need to hurry, etc. I have discussed this with the servers and the dining room manager so that it does not happen again. Thank you for your feedback; it helps us to improve our service.
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