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Plate manages the neat trick of being just the type of restaurant most visitors hope to find in a classic New England town like Stowe. It's right on Main Street, in a Vermonty storefront with big glass windows so guests can gaze out to the white steepled church. The menu walks the line between comfort food and creative concoctions, offerring burgers and matzoh ball soup for those who just want a hearty, simple meal; and more high falutin' offerings like artichoke mousses or juniper-brined pork with mustard spaetzel for the adventurers. The one given is that the food will taste decadent: the chefs here have a generous hand with cream and butter, make much of the menu a full-throated treat. An expert staff behind the bar sends out well-balanced cocktails, and the wonderfully friendly waitstaff make toddlers and grandmas feel equally at home. Best of all: Plate is significantly less expensive than Stowe's other fine-dining options. A winner!

Tip: Plate is so in demand, the owners don't take reservations for groups of less than 6 people after 6pm (it opens at 5pm). On many nights, the bar will be bustling with diners chowing down there, as others wait in an impatient line out the door. So come early or get ready to wait.