The Lincoln Inn in Woodstock is among the most European of the little inns in Vermont, and not just because chef Jevgenija Saromova hails from Latvia. She and innkeeper partner Mara Mehlman describe the property as a ďrestaurant with rooms.Ē Thatís a model common in the European countryside, and often signals great dining. Think, for example, of Maison Troisgros, one of the pioneers of modern French cuisine.
Woodstock isnít Roanne, of course, and Jevgenija Saromova (or Chef Saromova, as she prefers) isnít Jean or Pierre Troisgros. Not yet, anyway. But she has impressive classical culinary credentials and a personal style unique in northern New England. She worked in top restaurants in Italy, France, and England before joining Mehlman in Vermont. The two women have applied the model of the French ďaubergeĒ to an 1875 farmhouse with six charming, carefully decorated rooms and green lawns that roll down to the Ottauquechee River.
A native Californian, Mara first dreamed of living in Vermont when she took a Vermont foliage bicycle tour. Years later, she purchased the property, thoroughly renovated the building, and re-opened the inn rooms in July 2014. It became a gastronomic destination when Chef Saromova arrived from England a few months later. The women clearly love Vermontóskiing in the winter, kayaking in the summeróbut they have no intention of replicating traditional New England fare.
ďWeíre not about maple syrup and cheddar cheese,Ē says Mara. ďThis is fine dining.Ē
Chef Saromova explains. ďI donít like boring food plates,Ē she says. ďI like to combine textures and flavors.Ē
Lincoln Inn & Restaurant at the Covered Bridge, 2709 W. Woodstock Rd., Woodstock, VT 05091; 802-457-7052; www.lincolninn.com.