Alldays and Onions

“Alldays and Onions.” What kind of name is that? Andrew finds it “pretty tragic.” Mac stayed away from the restaurant for years, afraid of bad breath. Turns out it was the name of a British auto manufacturer in the early 20th century. Therefore, it’s still a bad name, but one should never judge a restaurant by its name. Had we done that, we may have never found out about this great restaurant in Bennington.

Joined by three friends, we went to Alldays and Onions over Winter Study break, immediately after watching a brilliant destruction of Amherst by Williams’ men’s varsity basketball team. (Great job, guys!)

Still in the spirit of things, Andrew immediately ordered an Otter Creek Copper Ale on tap without being ID’ed. Although he’s legitimately 21, it is always a pleasure to be trusted. Mac took the designated driver honors, and as is often the case, no one else joined Andrew in the festivities.

While we perused the sizable menu and huge, handwritten specials menu, we began to absorb some of our surrounding. Though Alldays and Onions is not about to be featured in Architectural Digest, any lack in atmosphere is made up by the incredible food. Chris Bell, an architecture contract major, abruptly ended his architectural critique as soon as the freshly baked herb bread arrived on our table.

Alldays features solid wood tables, attractive paintings, and a good deal of beaded-board wood paneling. The art-deco feel is tempered by the solid wooden chairs and live hanging plants. On the table, we were constantly impressed with the size and weight of the massive plates on which our food was served. Water was served in wine goblets and the ice-to-water ratio, as well as the refill frequency, were both top notch.

If we had a complaint about Alldays and Onions — it’s not often we give a three and a half wheel rating — it definitely would concern the music. Highlights of the bizarre mix of instrumental muzak included some lovely Baroque arrangements as well as the movie theater background music that accompanies the beginning of every Imax/OmniMax feature. We fully expected the lights to dim, our seats to recline, and our waitress to return with a microphone and say, “Welcome to Alldays and Onions. If you begin to feel dizzy…”

We began by diving into tremendously good house salads. Composed of a variety of lettuces and other greenery, the salad was well colored and featured a variety of shapes of vegetables. Mac’s Home Ec. teacher would have been proud with the diversity of this fine starter. A nice touch was the salt shaker and pepper grinder combo featured on each table.

By the time dinner arrived, Chris Bell had downed at least two loaves of herb bread and finished off a huge bowl of vegetarian black bean soup. “It was a symphony for the taste buds,” explained Chris, who, for those of us privileged enough to know him, sometimes tends to exaggerate a touch…but not in this case.

For the main course, Mac and one of our guests ordered the Pasta of the Evening off of the specials menu. Described as “chicken with bacon, mushrooms and spinach in a pesto marinara sauce tossed with tortellini pesto,” it was well worth every penny of the $14.95 price tag. Mac later commented that it was “possibly the best medley dish I’ve ever had.”

Chris, limited to the vegetarian fare, chose the Soba and Stir Fried Vegetables for $12.95. Chris had no complaints. Our other guest ordered salmon from the specials menu for $15.95. It was pan-seared with mushroom Dijon tarragon sauce. She was nothing short of “overwhelmed.”

Rounding out the entrees, Andrew ordered the Roasted Chicken Breast which was served with sauce made from lingonberries. Although lingonberries have a unique and interesting flavor, I wouldn’t rush out and buy them. His meal cost $14.95.

For dessert, Mac ordered the Devil’s Food Cake — standard chocolate fare. The rest of us split an Earl Gray Tea Cake which we ordered out of curiosity alone. It was well worth it, and we highly recommend it. The coffee mugs were white and covered with ads for local merchants. One minuscule detail that disappointed Andrew was the uncalled-for substitution of “Sweet and Right” for the better known “Sweet and Low.”

Alldays and Onions is a quality spot in Bennington for really good food, so get past the name, get a reservation, and get over there. You won’t regret it.

Directions: Route 7 North to Bennington. Take a right turn onto Main Street/Route 9 and head east. (it’s the first light). Alldays and Onions will be less than a half mile up on the right. Turn into the parking lot. 519 Main Street. Bennington, VT. 802-447-0043. Driving time approximately 20 minutes.

Hours: Monday – Saturday: Breakfast from 7:30-10:30, Lunch from 10:30-4:30

Wednesday-Saturday: Dinner from 6-8:30. Closed Sundays. Live entertainment on Wednesdays.