On our mutual vacation week, my guy and I visited a number of local restaurants. We tried to target places we hadn't been yet, and the places featured in this write-up were the results of a bizarre selection system that I'm pretty sure we couldn't repeat if we tried. These reviews are a combination of both of our thoughts.
Two Thumbs Up
The best meal we ate that week was, without a doubt, at Kong Chow in Shelburne. We were greeted enthusiastically by our awesome server Josh and the owner. We chose a table in the dining room (there's outdoor seating on the patio, too), and were presented with a dish of housemade fried noodles (Josh informed us that nearly everything -- sans soy sauce -- is housemade at Kong Chow), a sweet dipping sauce (similar to duck sauce), a pot of delicious tea, and of course, ice water. We started with an order of the Hot Oil Wontons, which are not fried, but steamed, and come drizzled with chili oil. My guy ordered the Tangerine Chicken, which was spicy, sweet, and perfectly cooked, and I ordered the Black Forest Shrimp. The shrimp was also perfectly cooked, came with a delicious array of veggies, and was covered in a fantastic black bean - based sauce. The portions were great -- the perfect amount for my guy, and just enough so that I could enjoy my shrimp for lunch the next day (when I asked for a box to take home my leftovers, Josh said "Actually, we try not to let the food leave the building..."). We were visited multiple times during the meal, both by Josh and the owner, both of whom contributed greatly to our enjoyable experience. The delicious food, comfortable atmosphere, and great service (not to mention the added entertainment -- both Josh and the owner are pretty funny) combined to create an overall positive feeling about Kong Chow. We highly recommend it (and wish we lived closer to it)!
We enjoyed another great meal at Papa Nick's Family Restaurant in Hinesburg. Their menu includes a mix of American, Greek, and Italian specialties, and they serve Greek dinner specials every Thursday night. We sampled quite a bit of food at Papa Nick's -- my guy was dying to try the wings, so we got an order of hots, and they were delicious! My guy got fried clams, which came with delicious fries and a house salad. I ordered the Broiled Stuffed Halibut special, which was perfectly cooked, stuffed with spinach (and artichokes?) and topped with a delicious Newburg sauce. Since it was a Greek special, it came with an assortment of Greek appetizers, a Greek salad, and rice pilaf. Both of our meals came with freshly-baked rolls. The servings are generous, and we had no complaints (while the place was packed, we waited only about a minute to be seated). It was a meal to remember!
Two Thumbs Down
The positive reviews on Seven Nights drew us to Rozzi's Lakeshore Tavern in Colchester. In hopes of finding delicious burgers, we entered Rozzis... It was a bit confusing at first, since we seemed to enter a bar, rather than a restaurant. The restaurant seating area was separated from the bar with a handful of stairs, and no wall, which we found a bit strange. The tables were very close to each other, which led to feeling crowded, even though there weren't many other customers in the dining area. We started with mozzarella sticks, which were pretty standard (aka tasty) and came with plenty of marinara sauce. My guy ordered the Western Burger -- well done, which came with bacon, cheese, and BBQ sauce. I ordered the Jamaican Jerk Burger -- medium well, which I expected to be spicy. My burger was decidedly un-Jerk-like, and overcooked to the point where it had an outer layer of charcoal. Our burgers were very similar in taste and texture, regardless of toppings. Our fries, unfortunately, were a bigger disappointment. They were salt-less, and only partially cooked. We could not finish either of our meals. My guy suggested we give them the benefit of a doubt and try dessert -- after all, we were already there -- so we ordered the "strawberry shortcake with local strawberries," the dessert special. My guy and I were joking about what would be on the plate... He guessed that it would be a storebought shortcake sponge base (the kind you can find at the grocery store -- pack of 6 for $1.99), frozen strawberries, and whipped cream from a can. Unfortunately, he was not far-off in his guess. Storebought sponge, un-fresh strawberries (and I'd wager they weren't local unless Price Chopper counts), and canned whipped cream. Pretty unimpressive when you're being charged $4.99 for each serving. Good thing we shared dessert. I have to add that the crowding issue reappeared when we were leaving -- we nearly had to climb over a couple to get out of the place.
We consumed another disappointing meal at The Rotisserie in South Burlington, which also got decent ratings on Seven Nights. They're famous for their prime rib, so we both ordered a dish that included it. My guy ordered the Prime Rib with a side of fries, which was tender, but unseasoned, and I ordered the French Dip Sandwich. Although the meat was sliced quite thinly on the sandwich, it tasted like the color grey. The "au jus" portion of the meal was beefy, but like a liquid salt lick. The fries here were better than those of Rozzi's, but not fantastic. Our service was less-than-stellar (we tried multiple times to get our server's attention, and were not the only ones waiting for our check), and the tablecloth (which was under glass) was dirty, which was a turn-off. We will not be patronizing this establishment again.