The bar-and-grill area of the Lord Jeffery Inn, Elijah Boltwood's Tavern is the more laid-back sibling of the elaborate Windowed Hearth restaurant. The two dining rooms share a kitchen, and Boltwood's, like the Windowed Hearth, has a quaint, early-Americana, fancy-New- England atmosphere that's pulled off quite convincingly, in part because it's legitimately historic. The nicely lit tavern seating area, which was once a porch that accompanied the more formal restaurant, is now decked out with beautiful old hardwood tables and chairs for diners who don't want to go through the formality of the stuffier interior dining room. Lanterns, candles, local artwork, and light music complete the scene; Friday nights bring live entertainment.
The menu includes a host of salads, most made with crisp vegetables and high-quality cheeses, and many of which are vegetarian-happy. Nachos aren't bad; pineapple salsa turns out to be a good idea. Burgers (including the bacon cheeseburger), sandwiches, and salads are generally the way to go here. Clam chowder is another strong choice; it has a good tang to it. Quiche is also acceptable, but unfortunately, more elaborate dinner mains don't do nearly as well; tough fried scallops are a particular low point. There's prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights, but the best choice among main courses is probably
the authentic Yankee pot roast with carrots, celery, and mashed potatoes. The dish doesn't set any taste records, but it's clearly homemade.
Don't rule out Boltwood's for a drink; the decent selection of microbrews on tap, along with the friendly waitstaff and relaxing, Yankee-tavern atmosphere, make it a surprisingly nice place to kick back. Brunch, however, might be the best reason of all to dine at the Lord Jeff .Sunday at Boltwood's brings a host of brunch specials such as eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, and a bagel with smoked salmon,
onion, cream cheese, and capers. Brunches are competently prepared and offered at prices that are surprisingly reasonable for such an upmarket inn. Nothing on the brunch menu, at last check, was over nine dollars. There's also something ineffable about the meal, the time of day, and the day of the week that plays to the atmospheric strengths of Boltwood's while muting its weaknesses. We all have our purpose. Maybe Boltwood's was put on earth to serve Sunday brunch.