You’ve already driven by this new restaurant more than you might think. Montpelier is located at the front of the new Hotel Madison, and is now open for business with breakfast, lunch, and dinner being served in an intimate atmosphere. The executive chef of Montpelier, Michael Collins, had previously worked in five-star restaurants throughout the country. We caught up with Michael to get a taste of his vision of Montpelier, and had the pleasure of meeting his culinary team in the back. He tells us that his team is the key to his success, and after trying a few of his dishes we completely agree.
First, a little bit about the vision. Montpelier makes a point to source all their food locally, and Collins has personally visited farms in the area to pull in the best beef, dairy, and seasonal food. This means a menu that offers seasonal plates and high quality ingredients. In addition to the dining menu, they also have a bar area with local beers and wines at the ready. The bar reflects the intimate atmosphere of the restaurant, to which Collins thanks local valley cabinet makers. Private space can be reserved as well for meetings, special events, or parties.
If you walk into Montpelier from Main Street, you will be met first with a lovely coffee shop. They use the new Harrisonburg coffee roasters Chestnut Ridge Coffee for their brews, and offer light food options for the go. Once 4pm hits, the space also transforms into a wine bar. This space will host wine tastings as well as offer pairings with their wine. Come spring, they will be adding outdoor patio seating so you can relax with your coffee or wine under the shade.
During our visit, we decided to try a few of Montpelier’s dining menu dishes ourselves, and we were blown away by the flavors. The appetizer, a smoked brisket over nacho chips with smoked queso, beans, avocado, and chilies, was brought out on an impressive log serving board. This is unlike any nacho appetizer I have ever had. The smoked brisket was tender and had a unique bbq tang, and the size alone makes this an excellent appetizer for a large group. However, this didn’t stop us from almost finishing the entire plate ourselves while our entrees were being prepared.
The two entrees we tried were the open-faced blackened salmon and the prime beef pastrami on rye. Salmon is a delicate dish to prepare, and it is clear that Montpelier put time into perfecting this. The smoked flavor of the salmon combines wonderfully with the soft character of the fish. This dish is served with market greens and toasted whole-grain bread. With the second dish, pastrami on rye, I can safely say this is the best pastrami sandwich I have ever tasted. They pile on the meat, which is wildly flavorful on its own, and top it with cheddar fondue, slaw, and a fried egg. I will absolutely be coming back again to grab another one of these.
The prices are very reasonable, only in the $10-18 range for most of their dishes. We have nothing but high praises to give, and are excited to try more. Montpelier is quite a versatile place, set up for a full dining experience as well as on-the-go travelers, private events, a place to quietly work, or to have an evening drink.
You can check out the menu below or visit their website.. Highly recommended.