Kismet (Montpelier, VT)

(Update: Kismet has permanently closed. After terminating a lease for their State Street location, they moved into the somewhat cozier location that used to host their sister restaurant Beau over on Barre St, but in early July 2023, announced they would be closing permanently. They’ll be missed, they were a rather good addition to the Montpelier dining scene, which is now struggling after the July 2023 floods)

Back in February, we came to Kismet to check out a pop-up restaurant they host on Wednesday nights (you can read my review of Himitsu Sushi here). In addition to introducing us to the rather good sushi of Himitsu’s traveling restaurant, this gave us a decent introduction to Kismet as well. While waiting for our Himitsu sushi, we looked over the Kismet menu, and decided to come back and check them out sometime. Well, this Friday we were headed up to Burlington for an extended weekend, and it had us passing through Montpelier during the “late breakfast” period of the day. While we almost ended up going to our standard Montpelier breakfast destination, Coffee Corner, we decided that going over to Kismet and checking out their brunch menu would be a good idea.

Kismet’s approach to dining is pretty straightforward: they are trying to make fairly simple dishes based primarily on local ingredients. Their brunch menu is a good example of this, with their standard menu (they’ve got an expanded menu on weekends) offering fare ranging from biscuits and gravy (with both meat and vegetarian versions available), variants of Eggs Benedict (including a version served up on a crepe), huevos rancheros, and even a poutine. Most everything features local ingredients, as well as most items being available with vegetarian options such as tempeh or tofu.

The dish that attracted both of us was the “wok-seared scramble”, offering up a wok-ful of either potatoes or rice, seasonal veggies, ginger, basil, either eggs, tofu or cheese, and optional chicken or tempeh. It sounded like a good combination, so we both went for it. Carol ordered up first, going for a version with rice, poached eggs, and tempeh. I went a little more traditional, going for potatoes and poached eggs in mine, with my also opting for a “Bit of Sunshine” beverage of fresh-squeezed carrot and orange juice (made with some really dark carrots).

A short while later, our scrambles arrived. Carol’s was quite pleasing, with a very rice organic brown rice base with a lot of ginger serving as the foundation, heaped with seared broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, two nicely-poached eggs, and several large chunks of tempeh. I’m usually a little bit dubious of tempeh, but the folks at Kismet did a good job cooking it up into some tender chunks that absorbed the sauce. Overall, the dish was quite pleasing.

My version of it was nominally the same dish, but the different ingredients really changed the character. My potatoes were nicely done crispy chunks of home fries (making these some of the better home fries of the area), which nicely combined with the veggies and ginger/basil wok sauce to give a dish that was halfway between a standard “eggs and home fries” breakfast and a wok dish. I think I preferred Carol’s version, but both were quite pleasant (next time, however, I’m going to try cheese and tempeh instead), and I’d call both a flavorful success.

Overall, we were pleased. Kismet is serving up a brunch menu that does a successful job of not just integrating local ingredients, but doing so with some inventive dishes with pleasing options for both meat and vegetarian diners. I’d love to come back, especially to try their expanded weekend menu.

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