Periodically, on this board and a couple of other Chowhound boards, people ask and comment on the eats around (Colonial) Williamsburg, VA. 6 months ago, I "promised" I would let you know how I enjoyed your recommendations.
We just got back from a week Christmasing in Williamsburg...the decorations, the Grand Illumination, the EATING!!! We go up there (from Florida)every couple of years, and wanted to try new places to eat...
THE TRELLIS: Chowhounds say its "pretentious," and "the service is spotty" and they "loved it-save room for dessert." We found it expensive, yes, but we were prepared for that. The service was really excellent, but we waited for our bill maybe 5 minutes longer than we wanted to. Is this someone's version of "spotty service?" I ordered a chicken dish over some kind of wonderful rice, and it is normally made with an alcohol-laced sauce in the rice. I asked if they could serve it without the alcohol concoction, or I would be glad to order something else. The chef flexibly came up with some kind of out-of-this-world taste sensation sauce sans the alcohol. I was very impressed! We didn't save much room for dessert, but my wife and I split a gargantuan piece of their signature "Death by Chocolate" cake, just to say we had tried it. I am not the chocolate lover here, my wife is, but it was really too rich for our tastes. Hated to leave half of it on our plate. The decor/atmosphere is rather bland. We may never make it back to the Trellis, but we'd recommend it to other Williamsburg visitors.
BERRET'S: Came well-recommended by Chowhounds, but our lunch experience was at best, average. My wife had New England Clam Chowder, but she said they were trying too hard to put their own twist on the flavor. The result was too much fennel and a disappointment. The Virginia Ham and Kale Soup took me back to unhappy childhood memories of my mother's awful creamed spinach. (I still shudder from head to toe thinking about how that woman would torture her innocent children with her spinach.) On the plus side, my Virginia Crab Boil Sandwich was excellent, and the service was excellent. One of our Chowhound colleagues bragged on the desserts at Berrets, but we passed on them.
SURREY HOUSE, Surrey, VA: My apologies to several people who felt like some of "Williamsburg"s" best eating was a ferry-ride across the river at The Surrey House. I wanted very badly to get there but 1) The Colonial Williamsburg event schedule kept us so busy that a trip too far out of town was not possible and 2)Our landlady at a guest house in town really discouraged us from going- it would be average food at best, it's overrated, etc., etc. I was surprised at her comments and still would have tried it if we had had time. She recommended some other places- in Gloucester, which again is a bit out of town. We didn't get to those either.
SECOND STREET TAVERN: Their advertising says they are voted year after year to have Williamsburg's best hamburger. It was pretty good.
MILANO's: Good overall Italian restaurant. The salad bar was piled with fresh veggies. Our waiter seemed very, very interested in our enjoyment of our meal. Of any place we ate in Williamsburg, this is one we will definitely go back to!
Other restaurants were also mentioned in Chowhound posts in recent months, and we wanted to hit every one of them, but time and budget dictated otherwise. If we get back there some day, we hope we can try those places, too.
THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS!!! I hope some of my longwinded comments here can help other Chowhound tourists.