Golden Lamb Buttery

Dining with one's friends
and beloved family
is certainly one of life's primal
and most innocent delights,
one that is both soul-satisfying
and eternal.
//Julia Child

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend I had planned a really special dinner outing with some close friends. I don't even really remember where I found out or heard about The Golden Lamb Buttery, but after some research and stellar yelp-review reading, I knew it was somewhere I needed to try. Reservations are required and definitely need to be made somewhat far in advance, I would say at least a month during the prime summer months as they only serve dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings and space is limited. The attire is "Jacket & Tie Requested", so it is a night where you will need to dress on the fancier side for dinner which I think is really nice. It's always a bummer when you go out to a really nice restaurant for a special occasion and the guy next to you is wearing cutoff shorts and a torn up T-shirt. Knowing that everyone is going to take it seriously and be dressed up is a good break from the norm and something you can really appreciate! The only time people dress up for dinner nowadays is weddings, and even then I could write a book about what I have seen people show up in! Nick and I and our good friends Chris and Cristina all dressed up and were really excited for the night as we had no idea really what to expect.

Encouraged by my Step-Dad, Nick obviously had to make himself look smaller than me for a photo, but this time took it to the next level! Making Ashley look like a giant ogre since 2013.
Later on at dinner, we even received this lovely photo from my Step-Dad to further rub in the joke! These men think they are soooooooo funny.
The Golden Lamb dinner is a price fixed dinner at $75pp, which does not include drinks, tax or gratuity. You really have to go into it knowing that you aren't coming out for cheap, but you also have to realize that you are not just paying for dinner but for the entire experience, as well as supporting a local farm, history and agriculture. The evening starts around 7 but we showed up a little bit early at 6:30pm because we wanted to make sure we were there in time and didn't really know how the night was laid out. We made our way into the beautiful old barn (and yes, it smells like a barn... you are IN A BARN, a real barn) and made our way to the back while looking at all the decor and memorabilia along the walls. A hostess escorted us out onto a beautiful back deck overlooking the entire farm property and pond. Each group is given their own table for happy hour, where you can hang out and sip drinks and enjoy the scenery and company for as little or as long as you'd like. The timing of the night is entirely up to you and your party, as you have your own waitress and table to yourselves for the entire night. It was so nice not be rushed in any sense and to not feel like you were "hogging" a table or messing up their turnaround.
Some seating areas and couches/chair lined the inside of the barn in case you didn't want to be outside.

The view from the back deck is really serene and beautiful, and the grounds are beautifully kept. There are many animals such as sheep, goats, donkeys, and horses roaming and grazing on the property. Anyone who knows me knows I love animals of all shapes and sizes so I was really happy to be among them at the farm!
You look down across the fields to a quiet little pond off in the distance.
The golden lamb himself!
Coming in for their dinner!

Once the happy hour officially started we were greeted by our waitress, Robin, who was wearing very modest traditional clothing complete with a pink gingham apron around her waist. She was very nice and pleasant and after we were introduced she remembered each of our names on the first try and used them the entire night. This was another little touch and part of the experience as it's not often you go to a restaurant and are addressed by your name, it really makes you feel more human an appreciated, rather than just being another dollar sign. Robin then explained to us the outline and details of the night and quickly took our drink orders. Chris got an old fashioned, Nick got a pineapple and vodka, and I got a wine to start. She lets us know that cheese and crackers were out for the taking in the barn and just told us to relax and enjoy! We eventually ordered a second round and then she told us what each of the four entree options were for the night and let us ponder them for a bit. It was between Roast Duckling, Charteaubriand, Grilled Swordfish, or Rack of Lamb. We all discussed the choices and decided that we wanted to try and get different things so that we could try each of them. After putting in our orders we took a few photos on the deck since it's not everyday we looked that snazzy!

The happy hour was really nice and we had some great conversation and just enjoyed each others company. Chris and Cristina are getting married next April so we talked a lot about the wedding planning and all of the details that come with it. As I said before, the timeline of the night is run entirely by you and your party. You are welcomed and encouraged to stay at happy hour as little or as long as you want- whether it be fifteen minutes or an hour and a half, it's up to you. Robin also informed us that the hayrides would be starting around 7:30pm for the evening. I know you may be thinking- hayride? All dressed up? Dirty? But to be honest it was one of the best parts of the entire night.
We made our way to the front of the barn when we were ready, and you are very much enoucraged to bring your drinks with you for the ride! Each ride sat about 20 people, so we took our time and got on the second ride that went.

The hayride is pulled by a farm tractor and there are big cushioned bushels of hay for you to sit on. There are an abundance of fleece blankets in the middle that you can grab if you are cold or want to cozy up with your date. The breeze had died and it was a warm August night, so still and serene just after the sun had gone down over the horizon. 
The Golden Lamb hires an acoustic singer, this particular night it was Sue Lamb, and they come along on each hayride and sing acoustic songs while you are slowly driven around the farm sipping your drink and taking it all in. We saw deer out in the pasture, beautiful gardens, and even took a circle around the property owner's colonial home. She welcomed requests and sang a long of oldies and good classic songs that everybody loves. It was literally a blast and so cool. This was the moment where we were each like "okay, this is why we are here", it's such a unique and different dinner experience!

My handsome dinner date! Such a gentleman letting me wear his jacket so that I wouldn't get cold.

We can only be serious for so long.

The ONLY regret we have of the entire night is that this is the only picture we got of the four of us! The hayride was a little bumpy too so the older gentleman taking it did not have the steadiest of hands... Definite blogger fail. 
The lovely Sue Lamb singing away!
Gorgeous gardens on the property, and sprawling fields in the distance.

I love these two! Such great friends. You may remember I photographed their engagement session awhile back. Can't wait til the wedding!

I forgot to mention that the Golden lamb is pretty much in the middle of nowhere! It is in the Eastern part of CT not too far from the Rhode Island border. It took us about an hour from the Hartford area and is very secluded down many-a-backroad. Well worth the drive, though.
I was so sad that the hayride was coming to an end, I definitely wish it was longer or that we could have gone around again! I am sure they would have let us go on again if there was room but other people were waiting to get on as well, so sadly it was over.
This is the property owners historic home. it has been in the Booths family since the 1940's, and the dinner has been around since 1963. The inside of the barn has photos and autographs of tons of famous people and athletes who have dined at the Golden Lamb over the years. They have quite the repertoire of guests! From Barbara Streisand to Wayne Gretzky, many have visited the property over the past few decades.
My buddy! Chris and I have been friends for going on 4 years now!
Could my date be any more handsome!?

Back at the barn... sadly the hayride was over. A real treat for sure!
The next step is, again, totally up to you. You are free to go back to happy hour if you'd like, or head into dinner if you so chose. We had started to get a little hungry so we decided it was time to head in for dinner. Robin escorted us through the carriage house portion of the barn and literally, right through the kitchen, to the coziest and most quaint room off the back of the barn. The kitchen was unreal, SO CUTE, and completely from the 1940's/1950's. After having the meal I was literally AMAZED that it came out of that kitchen. Very small, not a stainless steel appliance to been seen, very basic and old yet well-weathered ovens and cast iron pots and pans from years of home-style country cooking.
We were seated at a large table right at a big gorgeous window overlooking the farm. There was so much character and homey decor to take in, and fresh flowers and candlelight at every table. The lighting was perfectly dim and the temperature perfectly warm.
Some of our table decor. Quaint, old-fashioned, and charming.

Dahlias and other wild blooms filled vases at each table. And our lovely view to the right.

We ordered a bottle of wine for the table and were excited for the meal ahead. While waiting to be served we were just poking around and looking at things when one of us happened to open up one of the drawers at our tbale. To our surprise, it was literally FILLED with money! The rest of us opened the drawers in front us and they were also all loaded with one dollar bills, honestly hundreds of them. They had all been signed or written on and tucked into the drawer as a memory and token of their time there. There were also a couple business cards, notes, and corks in the drawers as well.

We were so curious and ended up having to ask Robin about it. She told us that it all started about 20 or so years ago when a family of regulars randomly decided to write on a dollar and toss it in the drawer. They have been dining at the Golden Lamb ever since and sit at that same table every time they come. Over the years hundreds have followed suit and have left a memento of their night at the GLB. We felt honored to have been seated at that table and were so happy one of us had the curiosity to look inside the drawers.

 I love this picture of Chris and Cristina, totally in the moment and so happy to be there!

We aren't quite sure how this ended up in there as we would NEVER break the law and deface US currency! Someone else named Ashley and Nick must have been there in the past...couple of scofflaws.
So nice to be able to go on double dates with another couple and totally enjoy and appreciate each others company! Can't wait for dinner parties at the Toussaint's once these two are hitched.

And now came the time we had all been waiting for, the glorious four course meal! It started out between a choice of four soups- corn chowder, heirloom tomato bisque, chilled pear pineapple or chilled borscht. Three of us got the chowder and Nick got the Tomato bisque. They were both really good, filled with local veggies an herbs right from the farm and nearby. I was a bad blogger again and failed to take a picture until I was just about done scarfing it down.

Next up came the veggie courses. We could not believe how many veggies they brought out... five to be exact. They were all served family-style and you could have as much or as little as you wanted. I didn't want to fill up too much before the main course but I definitely wanted to try them all so I just had a bit of each. After talking to Robin about how amazed we were at how many veggies there were she told us that this was nothing, and that the original farm owner Mr. Booths had always requested at LEAST 7-9 vegetables at EVERY meal on the farm with his family. I can barely think of that many veggies let alone have them at every meal! There were chilled cucumbers, carrots in a yummy glaze, squash, peas and swiss chard. I'd say the cukes and carrots were my fave but they were all delicious and prepared in a unique way that you may not normally eat at home. Lots of fresh herbs and spices and sauces.
And then for the main courses! Cristina had the Roast Duckling, slow cooked all afternoon with onions, caraway and rice. An orange duck sauce was glazed over it. It was a huge portion and she had plenty to take home!

Nick and Chris both ended up getting the Mustard Parmesan Rack of Lamb. It came with creamed spinach, DELICIOUS mashed potatoes, and a balsamic chive sauce. Both agree that it was some of the best lamb they had ever had. Everything we ordered was cooked to perfection, exactly the way you had ordered it. You could easily see the difference between Chris's medium-rare and Nicks rare.

I ended up getting the Chateaubriand- a beef tenderloin cooked in a cast iron skillet with garlic and mushrooms. It was sliced thin and served with potatoes dauphinoise (fancy for scalloped), asparagus, a mushroom au jus and béarnaise on the side. This was also the BEST beef tenderloin I had ever had. Cooked so well it literally melted in my mouth. I can still taste it, so yum!
It was so romantic. Dinner by candlelight in a warm and cozy barn with your date. Not much better!

I loved the wood everywhere... from the floors to the walls and ceilings, and everything in between.
The timing of the meal was also really nice, enough time in between courses to let you catch your breath and digest a bit but never too long that you felt like you were waiting. As I said in the beginning of the post, the table is yours for the entire night. No one is coming in after you, and there is absolutely no rush. You can casually eat, sip your wine, and chat with your guests without feeling any pressure of having to finish up or get out of there to let others have a table. Last but not least they gave us our dessert option! Choices were between their famous chocolate roll, coconut cream pie, white chocolate blueberry bread pudding, and a hummingbird cake. I went with the blueberry bread pudding, and after we each tried a bit of each others, we all agreed it was the best! SO good with just the right amount of sweet and tart, crunchy and soft.
Nick and Cristina got the hummingbird cake which is similar to a carrot cake but made with other fruits like mangos and pineapple. It was also really good and moist and had a delicious cream-cheese like frosting.
Chris got their signature chocolate roll, which if you are a chocolate lover was really good. Rich, with a really good honey ice cream on the side!
The night got even more special when Sue Lamb came around again and sang an acoustic song of your choice at your table-side. We let Chris and Cristina pick in honor of their engagement and they chose "Landslide" by Fleetwood mac. Sue did a great job and again it was just one of those things that made you say WOW, this is truly different and unique- a one of a kind dining experience.
It was a fabulous evening with great friends. We literally had no idea what to expect but left having one of the best dining experiences of our lives. Can't wait to return some day and maybe bring some more of my family for a special occasion. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a special night or or celebratory dinner. A truly personal and relaxed experience at your own pace. Thank you Golden lamb! 
Tune in next time for a special Sailing adventure in honor of Nick! Thanks, as always, for following along.

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