What a surprise find at 934 E. Chocolate Ave. in Hershey! This is not a place you'll read about in a guide book (only open 6 months) or one you'll spot from the road and decide to pop in. Brian Kent's is a tiny restaurant seating only 40 or so, whose exterior is so inconspicuous I nearly drove right by it even though I was looking for it. I'm from Philly and can't claim to have dined extensively in the area's restaurants, but I have sampled most of what are reputed to be the best fine dining options from Lancaster to Harrisburg and this is far and away the best I've found. Surprisingly, those other places are pretentious and pricey. Kent's is neither. In fact, it epitomizes my chowhound quest: finding places serving great food, with great service, at prices below what you'd expect to pay. It's not inexpensive
(dinner for two was $80 with two glasses of wine), but
that's far less than we paid elsewhere the night before for vastly inferior fare.
Brian's in the kitchen and his wife is out front yet it's one of those places where you can't really tell; everyone acts like they're an owner. It is impossible, for instance, to leave your chair for more than fifteen seconds without having someone re-fold your napkin at your place. Why? "It's our way of telling you we noticed you were gone" was the answer. How about this: at the table next to mine the couple couldn't decide which of two wines to order. No problem. The waitress poured them sample portions of each to try.
There is a sample menu on their website, www.briankents.com, although it changes seasonally; their specialty is seafood. Negatives? Potentially two: the dining area, while not cramped, is cozy. If you are looking for privacy, this is not the place. Also, oenophiles be warned. The wine list is adequate but not extensive, but that kind of goes with the unpretentiousness of the place.
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