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Peter Havens in Brattleboro, excellent! / Chelsea Royal diner, great!

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Peter Havens in Brattleboro, excellent! / Chelsea Royal diner, great!

Maxwell | May 8, 2005 01:02 PM

Just wanted to give our recommendation to this great restaurant. We were spending the night in Brattleboro and decided upon Peter Havens for our dinner. We called for a reservation about one week beforehand and the fellow who took our reservation said he was booked at 7:30, but he could do 8:30 and to show up a few minutes earlier if we'd like and he'd try to get us seated. Once we walked in (a bit early) we were approached and were seated within moments, although the restaurant was rather full. Being big fans of McNeill's beer, we were excited to see one tap handle, and yes it was McNeill's Slopbucket Brown. They also sold a few of his 22 oz bottles, very nice to see the local support. The wine list was wonderfully laid out, like a small scrapbook with labels pasted to each page and then either a hand written description or an "official" write-up for each selection (we stuck with the McNeill's). The mussel appetizer was superb, a small mountain of them steamed in a chipotle cream sauce, very intensely flavored. The shrimp dinner was excellent, although I brine shrimp for home cooking all the time, we could not believe the flavor and moisture of the huge butterflied shrimp, simply perfect. I ordered a special, a Hawaiian runner fish with the texture of mahi mahi, kind of flaky, not as steaky, delicately sauced. The dinner sides were also great, the shredded carrots had a pleasantly sweet taste (I thought plum but was told orange, go figure) while the snap peas were slightly zingy and redolent of wasabi (got that one right). Salads came with dinner and were fine. I would have tried an espresso for dessert (to continue the local support, they serve Mocha Joe's Coffee from around the corner) but it was late and I was stuffed and still had more McNeill's to drink anyway! The waitstaff and host were exceedingly pleasant, friendly and sincerely confident in the quality of this fine restaurant, we will definitely be back!

On our way home the next morning we ate at the Chelsea Royal Diner. The coffee was superb (once again it was Mocha Joe's) and they were even pouring two McNeill's on draft. We ate the Chesapeake Bay Benedict (two crab cakes with hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and muffins) and a special of blackberry pancakes and everything was delicious, the space is very cool and the service was snappy but efficient. Everything coming out of the kitchen looked great.

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