Brattleboro, VT – Ken Flutie didn’t realize how his love and passion for food would change him when Italian grandmothers took him under their wings and taught him to cook the old-world or classic Italian way.
Born and raised in New York, Ken Flutie worked in restaurants as a line cook and sous chef with classical to traditional training during college, but when he first started working in retail (his professional career for thirty years) after graduation, the “Nonnas” (term of endearment which pays tribute to all the women and the women they learned from), who taught Ken to cook the Italian way – with passion, flavor and love. The Nonnas took him under their wing, made sure he knew how to cook and enjoy classic Italian home-made foods. Flutie kept his recipes and love of Italian cooking personal by serving family, friends and sometimes catering events until after he retired in 2005 from the retail business working for Phillips Van Heusen/Calvin Klein when he became a professional chef.
Ken and his partner Paul Faust moved from Naples, FL to Brattleboro, VT in 2005. Where Paul had been managing art galleries for nearly twenty years. They opened the Blue Moose Shoppery (gift shop and gallery) In 2009, The Café Lotus, situated behind the Blue Moose, was for sale and Ken and Paul decided to apply his cooking skills in the Café business by offering excellent choices of hand-made sandwiches, salads and breakfast offerings while being available to assist in the shop. People loved his sweet treats, salads, sandwiches and Panini with their choice of tea, espresso or coffee.
The idea of opening for dinner percolated in Ken’s mind and the Café evolved into a Bistro with Ken beginning to serve his classic Italian recipes a la American or “Ken” style in the evening. Ken’s philosophy of flavor being the highlight with his American chef background encouraged him to interpret the classic Italian dishes, simple, in season, from market to plate. His “Nonnas,” who represent 110 generations of grandmothers, would be proud of him now. The menu offers “new comfort” cuisine or familiar comfort foods with a modernized and refined twist. Without fanfare or much buzz, Ken opened the evening dinner menu in October, Wednesday – Saturday, 5-9pm.
The ambience is “Trattoria”, less formal than Ristorante, but more so than Osteria. It is distinctive with candlelight so as Ken says, “the food can speak for itself.” Ken as created Red Snapper Aqua Pazza, his Signature Seafood Special ???, which Red Snapper AP described “Who knew a piece of fresh and a zesty water broth could ever be so good.” All items are a la carte and range from a Portobello sandwich, Pulled Pork sandwich and hamburger to Flat Iron Tagliatelle, and all the pastas in between. His home-made egg pastas in the Sacchetta, Paparadelle, or Agnolotti remind patrons of dining in Italy. Ken’s Polpettini (meatballs) are a beef, veal and pork combination, which was named after his Great-grandfather “Big Pops” favorite dish. The Romaine and Ken’s Chopped Salad (includes garbanzo beans and Genoa salami) are abundant portions while the Mixed Green Side Salad is a popular choice. Ken speaks of his food as “simple, fresh, natural and local as possible without sacrificing the quality.”
“Whether it’s food or wine, I think of Italian food as passion with big flavor. Eating out should be more than just getting food. It’s a dining experience, form the wine selection to dessert. The entire meal has been planned for you with the flavors and ingredients in mind.” All the sauces, entrees and desserts are made in house. Ken and his Beverage Manager have chosen the wine and beer to coordinate with each dish for the full dining experience, but easily allows for all individuals to enjoy their own selection. The wine list includes at least twelve red wines (including choices of Cabarnet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir) and ten white wines (with choices of Chardonnay as well) complement the dinners. The Craft Beer list offers an Italian beer as well as regional beer.
The Blue Moose Bistro now offers a new Lunch menu with table service and a selection of wines. The different lunch and dinner menus offer a plentiful choice of old and new world wines for $ 6 and $ 7 per glass/$ 28 per bottle respectively, regardless of the winery, so patrons will feel comfortable exploring more wines with the food choices. The lunch menu includes some of the home made pastas as well as appetizers and desserts along with their infamous Panini and the best burger, ever.
Blue Moose Bistro is open for dinner Wednesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. -9 p.m., Lunch is open Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Reservations can be made at 802.254-6245 but are not necessary. www.bluemoosevt.com
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