A Single Pebble: Classic Chinese Cuisine in Burlington, Vermont

A Single Pebble is a restaurant that not only serves delicious Chinese food; it also encourages guests to sit and linger over conversation around the table.

All the dishes served “family” style, arrive as soon as prepared. Round tables, outfitted with Lazy Susans, allow the plates to spin so that diners can help themselves to the vibrant, ancestral flavors that come from Chef/owner Chiuho Duval’s kitchen.

Chef Duval’s journey took her from Taipei to Burlington, Vermont after she switched from a photojournalism career to attend culinary school in her 30’s. She decided to stay in Vermont and share her passion and creative vision for great food with her patrons who are devoted to the establishment. Ask any native of Burlington where you can find a great meal, and the answer will always include A Single Pebble.

Location: A Single Pebble is located at 133 Bank Street Burlington, Vermont

Menu: Chef Duval created a menu that includes traditional and classic Chinese dishes. She selects the freshest ingredients from purveyors in Vermont and New England and imports authentic spices from China.

The lunch selections include small dish/dumplings, noodles, and medium dishes. A tasting menu is available for parties of two or more which consists of six kitchen selected dishes and dessert.

Lunch starters feature dumplings (vegetable, pork or chicken) and unique choices like chili black been beef wontons or Cantonese radish cakes (a pan-fried Daikon radish pancake,  infused with local bacon, and shrimp). The noodle dishes are tempting as well, from spicy Sichuan to shiny noodles with Shitake mushrooms and carrots.

Main dishes range from beef and broccoli to a garlic chive chicken (lightly fried chicken pieces tossed in a tangy, garlic, chive sauce).

The dinner menu is divided similarly to the lunch menu, or you can order a tasting for your group. There are more choices on the dinner menu, but the kitchen is happy to offer anything from dinner during lunch service.

On the dinner list, seafood choices include Three Pepper Scallops, Lemon Sesame Shrimp and a fish of the day with your choice of cooking method. There are tofu dishes and vegetable dishes as well as beef, pork, poultry, rice, and noodle selections.

The preparations are classic and reflective of the care taken by the staff.

Thoughts: A Single Pebble is a hard place to try and grab a table. If you want to go for lunch, visit from Thursday-Saturday or Sunday for Dim Sum. Luckily, I was in town with my husband for lunch on a Friday, so we took a chance and walked in.

After a friendly greeting from the hostess, she informed me that they were full. Fortunately, we were flexible with time, and there was a table available an hour later. I appreciate the staff’s willingness to allow for a slow dining experience. We gladly took a seating for later that day. Make a reservation to assure a table. A Single Pebble is open for dinner seven days a week if lunch is not an option.

One of my favorite starters is scallion pancakes, but I did not see it on the lunch menu. My waitress let us know that we could order them as they are on the dinner menu. We also ordered pan-fried pork dumplings.  Both starters were crisp and not greasy. The pancakes sprinkled with dark green scallions were fantastic, and the dark soy dipping sauce was a perfect pairing. The dumpling dough was thin enough to fry up crisply and generously stuffed with a delicate pork filling. The dumplings were some of the best I have eaten.

For lunch, we ordered Yubu style chicken. The chicken was braised in a chili black bean wine sauce on a bed of greens and was seasoned perfectly. The vegetables were crisp, and the sauce was light yet packed with flavor. The greens wilted slightly and were a tasty addition to the dish. We also tried the Baby Chili Shrimp. The shrimp were tender and fresh. The chili sauce was mild, but if you would like it spicy, the kitchen is happy to add more heat.

Both portions were ample. We were able to enjoy them at the restaurant and take some home to sample again. Both gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are available upon request.

The dining room was busy, but you could still hear the strains of authentic Chinese music playing throughout the restaurant. The ambiance transports you to China and gives you the feeling of being at the home of a friend. The authentic decor, furnishings, fragrant tea, and attentive staff all make this a must stop when in Burlington, Vermont.

Price Range: Lunch starters $4-8, noodles $9-14, and medium dishes are $14. Dinner starters are $7-17; main dishes are $14-25 with many of the seafood choices market priced.

Jeanine Consoli
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