Bistro Midva NOW Open in Windsor VT

Grilled Prawns

Windsor, Vermont-A new bistro has quietly opened in downtown Windsor, Vermont.

Bistro Midva has been serving delicious food for about two weeks now. It's the new venture for Chad Lumbra and his wife Arlanda Eržen Lumbra.

Midva is a word in Arlanda's native Slovenian language that means "the two of us".

My friend Michelle and I ate at their restaurant last week and had an absolutely wonderful meal. (Michelle and Arlanda are colleagues at DHMC). Chad and I have a few mutual Upper Valley Friends-(he also used to be the chef at Elixir in White River Junction).

After our meal, I emailed Chad a few questions that he graciously answered for me.

N-What does Midva mean?
C-Arlanda has her masters in Czech and Slovak and has always had a great passion for languages. She always appreciated that Slovenia has the word "midva" because it feels so much more meaningful than just saying the both of us.

N-How did you and Arlanda meet?

C-Arlanda and I met at a small bistro in Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana. I was a chef there at the time and she was serving while finishing her degree. We were both immediately fond of each other, though it wasn't until the front of the house manager who was usually responsible for doing table side service called out one day. 

A table of Americans came in and ordered a whole sea bass that we baked in a salt crust, Arlanda said she had never served a whole fish tableside so I agreed to do the theatrics of breaking the salt crust and serving the fish if she would help with the plates. Its been 12 years now with my best friend and the love of my life.

N-Who inspired you to become a chef?
C-I was always very passionate about food, my grandfather was a great gardener and I spent many summer days with him in the garden, I am afraid I wasn't much help at that age, I mostly would scavenge the garden and collect green beans, snap peas, and carrots and then plop down in the grass by the barn and have my little feast. 

It wasn't till I was a bit older that my mom began dating a NECI student named Tom (now my step dad of 30 years) and he had nurtured my love for food. One of the first things Tom did was that he bought me a 6" chefs knife and began teaching me how to correctly hold it and use it.

N-Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?
C-I went to school at the CIA in the Hudson Valley, though I tell most folks that the knowledge you gain at school is a fraction of what you learn in the field. 

I have been fortunate to have worked with some amazing people over the years. Hospitality is still one of the fields in which if you can prove that you are dedicated and passionate, your peers and mentors will pass along everything that they have been taught over the years.

N-How long have you lived in the area? Did you grow up here? If not, where did you grow up. Did the food you ate as a young person inspire you in creating the dishes you are offering at Midva.

C-I grew up in Vershire, VT however (I) have moved around (some) to NYC while working at Eleven Madison, NJ while working at The Brothers Moon-a small farm to table outside of Princeton, and a few restaurants in Ljubljana.

I have been back in the UV for more than 10 years now and do not have any immediate plans to go anywhere except maybe to head to Montreal for a weekend and a dinner or two at L'express.

The menu at Midva came together over a couple of weeks and trying stuff out at home. Most of my inspiration comes from things that Arlanda and I find and end up taking a liking to.

N-How would you describe the restaurant you just opened in Windsor? (Farm to Table, Hip, European Flair etc.)

C-As cliché as it sounds I would call Midva a "new American bistro", while I am using quite a few local farms I try not to use "farm to table" because I believe there are other restaurants that are investing a lot more hours in sourcing ingredients and working with farmers, I would not want to take away from what they do as they have truly earned that title.

Here are a few of the dishes that Michelle and I shared.
Herb cured Salmon

The salmon is a Wild Sockeye Salmon, its cured in salt, sugar, coriander, parsley, mint, cilantro and lemon zest. Chad explains "There are other salmons that would give a larger filet and thus larger slices, but I am determined to not have farm raised salmon on the menu".

It was "melt in your mouth" with just the right amount of zing from the herbs and lemon zest.

Local Young Green Salad

Chad gets amazing greens from Winter Street Farm in Claremont, NH. He does a simple dressing of garlic, EVOO, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Chad says "If you have really tasty greens there is no need to cover them up with heavy dressing".

House Cut Fries with Brava Sauce

Chad blanches the potatoes in water, turmeric and salt. He likes blanching in water as opposed to oil because it gets the salt in to the potato and also he feels it makes for a cleaner end product.

The hand cut fries were good but the "brava sauce" was excellent. (Chad needs to bottle this-just saying!)

Roasted bream

Bream is a wonderful fish, sweet, tender, and flaky. Chad is determined not to used an already heavily fished fish. He acknowledges that there is still a fair amount of commercial fishing involved with bream, however he thinks its important to make changes in menus when possible and teach folks that there is other tasty fish besides salmon, tuna, and mahi.

The bream was light, flaky and tender. The buckwheat gave the dish a nutty crunch and the sauce was not too overpowering for the fish.

Chai Latte ice cream

This was a perfect ending to our meal. Creamy and flavorful. If you like Chai Tea-you'll love this ice cream.

Midva's Crème Brule is the same classic egg yolk, cream, vanilla bean (Chad gets these from Claremont Spice) and sugar recipe that is found all over, his special touch is adding a few grains of sea salt before he caramelizes the crust so that every couple of bites you get a little salty. 

The sea salt really works and the vanilla really came through. I've had other Upper Valley restaurants Crème Brule and I have to say the sea salt really adds to the overall flavor of this dessert. 

I asked Chad about his grilled prawns (the photo above) and he replied:
"I am still battling with the idea of serving a head on prawn. As a chef I love the idea, I just dont know if the UV is ready for their food looking back at them."

N-Do you have plans to create outdoor seating for next summer?
C- We are planning 6 or so tables outside next summer.

N-Will you be offering cocktails in the future or just sticking to your beer and wine lists?
C-Right now the hospitality business is very short staffed, we are no exception. When we find more help in the dining room we will start offering two (2) cocktail specials a night.

Midva is open Wednesday-Saturday 4:30-9:30 p.m. (Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday)
Call (802) 299-1553 or visit their FACEBOOK PAGE for more information.
They are located at 131 Main Street Windsor, VT 

Chad said "Arlanda and I have talked about perhaps opening one Sunday every couple of months and offering Slovenian and Bosnian dinners as a special lunch." 
Oh my, sign me up!!

More photos: CLICK HERE

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