Café Sora Arrives at SVAC
The Southern Vermont Arts Center is situated on one hundred pristine acres of field and forest in Manchester Village. Its campus offers a first-class cultural experience in a traditional New England setting with a rotating calendar of member and guest exhibitions and a summer performing arts schedule that includes everything from classical music to modern dance.
Visitors enjoy on-site walking trails, Vermont’s largest sculptural park, and two museums; the historic Yester House and the contemporary Wilson Museum. At home in the Yester House is a charming café that’s worth a trip for the atmosphere alone. Go for a midday meal and a self-guided gallery tour, or book a table for dinner before a show.
The restaurant, Café Sora, is a collaborative enterprise by friends Chie Addington and Katsuko Lord. The two hail from different parts of Japan — Hiroshima and Saitama — but have in common their families’ passions for cooking and community. Because of that, the menu is a personal introduction and loving tribute to homestyle Japanse cuisine.
Lunch is served.
We booked a table for their first seating. Selected fresh springs rolls, a sparkling Spanish wine, and lunch plates. These were elegant, manageable dishes served with miso soup and o-toushi, a petite Japanese treat. We said yes to Ginger Pork in a housemade sauce with perfect rice and an Asian Slaw. We said yes to tempura with shrimp from Earth & Sea Market and amazing Japanese Sweet Potatoes. We said yes to the Café Sora sushi roll filled with shiitake mushrooms, cucumbers, and carrots. Salmon teriyaki for the kiddos. And dessert — a scoop of Wilcox vanilla ice cream from a dairy farm down the street. No pretention here!
The Ikebana floral arrangements. The charming staff and outgoing chef. The excellent, unfussy dishes. We expected a nice, change of pace lunch date and were surprised with a complete sensory reset. Who knew?! And after the meal, a browse of the current shows and a stroll of the grounds had us plotting our return.
If you go.
Make reservations. Café Sora serves lunch from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm Thursday through Saturday and on Sunday, from 12:00 until 2:00. They serve dinner on performance nights so if you’ve got show tickets, call for a table.