Earth at Hidden Pond – Restaurant Review | Condé Nast Traveler



Tell us about your first impressions when you arrived.
A fire crackles year-round in the gargantuan fireplace at one end of the dining room, which is marked by all manner of natural elements—cross-sections of wood (or “pickles” as they’re called here) pattern the walls. A preserved apple tree strung with lightbulbs fashions the central chandelier. A breezy, screened-inn porch overlooks a serene pond and fire pits. Candles flicker at every turn.
What was the crowd like?
There’s nothing subdued about Earth’s dining room vibe; diners come to have a loud, good time. Even so, the food is as much the point of an evening here as a good time, and is at the center of this locovore’s haven.
What should we be drinking?
One sip of the Goose Rocks Gimlet (a meticulously balanced mixture of Clock Farm Vodka and house-made lime cordial with a smattering of slightly spicy ground pink peppercorn) and you know these bartenders aren’t messing around. Drinks are made from local ingredients whenever possible, and created around what’s available in the property’s gardens. The wine selection is equally well thought-out: It brings in robust selections from vineyards in Argentina and Chile one minute, and the Middle East (particularly Lebanon) the next.
Main event: the food. Give us the lowdown—especially what not to miss.
With dishes like handmade ravioli bursting with lobster, crab, and Boursin cheese, Executive Chef Joe Schafer proves he knows the rules well enough to break them. The dish is a creamy, salty, sweet marvel. Ditto his fried heritage chicken, a format for two that employs fruity local tomatoes and peaches, luscious Buratta and tangy peach gastrique to carry through every light-yet-crispy bite. The kitchen emphasizes its partnerships with area farms such as Tibbits’ Edibles, Browne Trading Co., Clover Leaf Farm, Chick Farm, and its own Hidden Pond Gardens.
And how did the front-of-house folks treat you?
Earth has its good days and its bad days. On one visit, everything was spot-on. Our server was well aware when we needed more wine, ready with answers about how the specials were prepared, and arrived almost instantaneously with a napkin after a water spillage. But other nights we saw some lapses, like plates not being cleared and a half-hour passing before we were shown a dessert menu.
What’s the real-real on why we’re coming here?
This is a place for celebration as well as one that can handle big groups (I had my 20-person rehearsal dinner here). On any given night you’re likely to find couples returning for annual anniversary dinners or simply ecstatic to be here for the first time.