Do you ever have one of those moments where you’ve thought about something for so long and built it up in your mind to find that you end up disappointed? Well, I had been trying to get to Bolete for years — 10 years to be exact — and couldn’t have been further from disappointed. I was elated.
Bolete is a rustic-chic restaurant located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that serves seasonal farm-to-table American cuisine run by Chef Lee Chizmar and Erin Shea. Lee grew up in Boston, and studied at the Culinary Institute of America. It’s been 10 years since they opened Bolete and it’s been named one of the top restaurants in the US and he was a semifinalist in the category of Best Chefs in America through the James Beard Foundation in 2015. Needless to say, Chizmar is making his mark. You can read more about their story here.
1740 Seidersville Rd
Bethlehem, PA 18015
What I Ate:
- Scones and mini muffins — cheddar and chive scones and pumpkin mini muffin
- Duck Hash — local poached eggs, crisp potato, local poblano peppers, lime, duck confit, cilantro, shiitake mushrooms, chipotle hollandaise
Eggs Chizmar — Liberty Gardens’ greens, local poached eggs, fried oysters, local mushrooms, bacon, shallots, crisp potato, Bolete’s buttermilk biscuits, truffled hollandaise
Honestly, it’s shameful it’s taken me so long to get to Bolete. I went to college in the same town, so whenever I head that direction it’s always full of plans and reunions. It’s also sometimes really hard to get reservations even after being open for 10 years. If that doesn’t say something to the quality of a restaurant I don’t know what does. I couldn’t even get a dinner reservation during this trip. I had to settle for brunch. Well, not quite settle, but you know what I mean.
When you approach Bolete, you come upon an old farmhouse placed oddly at an unassuming intersection. However, from first glance it has the type of charm you’d expect for this area of eastern Pennsylvania. When you walk up to the space you feel like you’re about to walk into someone’s home for a family meal. It has a rustic and plain style from the exterior to the interior including what the waiter/esses wore. You sit at a table with a plain white tablecloth. Nothing is going to take away from the experience of the food.
I went to brunch with one of my long time best friends from college. She’s always up for an adventure and I love her for it especially since we decided to split plate our meals! We started with scones and muffins that were provided to the table. Simplistic, yet delicious. The muffins were moist and on point with the pumpkin flavor for the season. The scones were buttery and flaky with no need for anything extra.
I started with the duck hash, which had local poached eggs placed over crisp potatoes mixed with poblano peppers, duck confit, shiitake mushrooms and covered with lime, chipotle hollandaise and scallions. Seriously, this is probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Once you break the yolk and combine the creamy smoky chipotle hollandaise all bets are off. The confit was moist and all of the flavors were present, yet blended perfectly. Honestly, I was sad to give this up to my friend who I was sharing with.
I ended with the Eggs Chizmar, which honestly took me a moment to get going on because the duck hash was just that good. This plate consisted of poached eggs over greens, crisp potatoes. Once you dive into the potatoes you uncover bacon, shallots, mushrooms and a fried oyster. The freshness of these ingredients made this a stand out dish. The longer I ate it the more I started to appreciate it’s flavor profile, which is a bit more subdued.
Overall, I would drive two hours on a weekend just to have a meal at Bolete. It was everything I hoped it would be and I can’t wait to go back!