Meals with Wheels rolls into Bennington

Okay…we’re sorry for those of you with an aversion to driving north, but Bennington Station is yet another fine restaurant in the Bennington area that you should all check out. Having gone through a long period of ownership and managerial changes, Bennington Station reopened its doors this past August after being closed since October of 1996. This reopening has been a long time coming, and we think it was well worth it!

Situated in a 101-year-old wood and stone Richardsonian train station, Bennington Station is quite charming. Mac, using his Geoscience expertise, figured out that the blue marble stone came from West Rutland. The restaurant is very spacious and has a good deal of glass, both inside and out, which unfortunately made the dining area we were in a bit chilly.

The evening was immediately off to a good start when we saw French Onion Soup on the menu for $2.95. Mac, Andrew, and one of our guests ordered it and were treated to exceptionally great bowls of FOS. Andrew gave it two thumbs up (in between spoonfuls, of course). Mac thought it had a great rich body, but was lacking slightly on onions. Nevertheless, he gave it four stars as the cheese was melted on the entire outside of the crock.

Our vegetarian eater avoided the beef-stock soup and instead jumped into alternative appetizers. “Unbelievable” was the word used to describe a cheese quesadilla: deep fried with cheese, olives, sour cream, salsa, and jalepenos.

Bennington Station offers a rare treat to meat lovers and vegetarians alike: “Create Your Own Pasta.” Not a bad idea. Start with your choice of pasta and sauce for $7.95. Add vegetable toppings for an extra $1.25 each, meat toppings for $1.95 each, or seafood toppings for $2.95 each.

The pastas include bow ties, penne, spaghetti, angel hair, fettucine, and linguine. Sauce options include marinara, pesto, creamy pesto, garlic and oil, alfredo, creamy garlic, bolognese, and puttanesca. Additionally, there are over 15 toppings. Since we’re not math majors, we won’t tell you how many pasta combinations one might create, but suffice it to say that there are more than the Baxter pasta bar!

Described as “char-broiled top sirloin, sliced and served over toast points, topped with roasted garlic and shrimp scampi,” Mac ordered the Sliced Steak and Scampi for $14.95. Andrew, who had considered ordering the same meal, opted for mild variety and ordered the Chicken and Shrimp Scampi for $12.50. It is “sliced chicken breast and jumbo shrimp, sautéed and served with fresh garlic and oil, served over fettucine.”

One of our guests ordered the Filet Mignon for $15.95. It is a nine ounce cut wrapped in bacon. She thought it was “really good and not too dry.” Can there be a better endorsement? We think not. If we had a criticism of the entrees, it would be that their presentation could have been enhanced by adding some garnishes for color and variety.

Our last two guests both created their own pasta: one ordered bow ties with pesto, while the other chose angel hair with pesto. Both meals were apparently very good, as each was quickly devoured. All the dinners come with free trips to the salad bar, which was fairly impressive. The bread, garlic butter, and the olives were particularly good.

For dessert, the table split an Apple Cobbler, a Turtle Pie, and a Snickers Pie. Interesting names, no doubt…but were they good? Yes! The Turtle Pie has chocolate chips and pecans in a pie crust topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce: it was phenomenal. The warmth factor of the pie, in contrast to the ice cream, was clutch. The Snickers pie was a cheesecake with chocolate, peanut, and caramel.

The major downfall of the Bennington Station was the temperature of the water. There was a negative ice to water ratio (hey, we said we weren’t math majors), and the water was brutally warm. Also, the selection of soft instrumental jazz music failed to impress any of us.

Overall, Bennington Station is a great spot in Bennington for good food at a solid price. We suggest bringing a date here for a nice relaxed evening, or before a movie at the Bennington Cinema 7 just a few minutes down the road. We especially encourage you to make a reservation for one of the unique circular booths in the main dining room.

Hours

Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and optional brunch.

Directions

Take Route 7 North, straight into Bennington. Make a left at the first light onto Main Street (Rt. 9), Take your next right onto Depot Street. Bennington Station is dead ahead. Driving time about 20 minutes. Helpful hint: get gas before coming home…it’s cheaper in Vermont!

e-mail the Meals with Wheels staff at meals@wso.williams.edu