A coworker and I set out to find decent chow in Wallingford. Keep in mind, we have only been eating lunch at these places, and have not been to any more than once, so consistency will most definitely have no bearing on our opinion:
*John Carvers*: Located in the fast food mecca area of Route 5. This place looked like a diner and smelled like one too (had that old coffee smell). Typical diner-esque menu, which was fine by us. I liked that all lunch sandwich platters were offered with your choice of fries or salad bar. I ordered the herbed grilled chicken sandwich with the salad bar, while my coworker ordered the Reuben with fries. Come to find out, the salad bar was a joke. There was a big ol bowl of iceberg lettuce (mostly the undesirable white core), a bowl of cottage cheese, some green beans (looked to be of the canned variety) and a few other underwhelming options. I should of got the fries.
The Reuben was mediocre at best. There were so many onions on it that they were shooting out from the sandwich. There had to be at least a large onions worth contained in the sandwich, if not more. The herbed grilled chicken was OK (how bad can grilled chicken be, really). It was served on a hard roll with a sad looking slice of tomato and a pickle that looked like it had seen better days.
*JJs*: Another restaurant we tried on Route 5. I ordered what was marked as a house specialty on their menu: a grilled portobella mushroom with roasted red peppers and gorgonzola sauce on foccachia bread. It was absolutely delicious. The gorgonzola wasnt too overpowering, and the mushroom/roasted pepper combo never disappoints. My coworker had a cup of lobster bisque (he said it was very good) and fish and chips, which he also enjoyed. Their menu was diverse, with emphasis on seafood and Italian. I would like to go back and sample their hot antipasto, which includes assorted seafood. Maybe next time!
*Yankee Silversmith Inn*: A little pricey, but a great lunch, probably the best we've had yet in Wallingford. We started off with a great clam chowder (not too potato heavy, clams were cooked perfectly) and cup of cheddar-broccoli soup that was delicious - not too thick, had some texture to it instead of that pureed looking broccoli most soup tends to have. I followed the soup by having a caesar salad, which was excellent. They even offered anchovies with the salad, which you dont see to often! The caesar dressing had just the right bite to it as any good caesar dressing should. My coworker had their luncheon special - a roast beef wrap (spinach tortilla) with a creamy horseradish sauce. Absolutely delicious! We were very impressed with the fare, and I would return for dinner if I am ever in the area in the evening!
*Georges II*: I expected good things from Georges II. It received a recommendation on this board, and seemed to have a brisk lunch business. They had a diverse lunch menu with good prices. There was a large selection of hot Italian grinders, assorted cold and hot sandwiches and salads, along with pricier entrees.
I started off with a cup of their Italian Chicken Soup. It was mediocre, at best. I have tasted comparable soup out of a can. Not that it was bad, but it wasnt exactly great either. Id skip the soup if I had to do it again. My coworker ordered the soup of the day - Rhode Island Clam Chowder. He said it was OK, except for the rubbery clams that have been cooked a wee bit too long. The clams were apparently impossible to chew. Perhaps the lesson learned is that perhaps Georges isnt known for their soups.
I also ordered the Georgio salad - Grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, olives and fresh mozzarella served over a bed of greens (i.e. iceberg lettuce). I chose the Gorgonzola Vinaigrette as my dressing. The vinaigrette wasnt so good. It tasted like they dumped gorgonzola cheese in a vat of Italian dressing and called it a Gorgonzola Vinaigrette. The salad itself was good. The chicken had a good herb rub on it before being grilled. It was perhaps grilled a bit too long (partially charred), but in general I was happy with my selection. To improve this salad, I would replace their canned sliced black olives with maybe Kalamatas and take out the iceberg lettuce and replace it with different greens.
My coworker ordered a sandwich with a breaded chicken cutlet, lettuce and tomato (I forget what the restaurants name for the sandwich was). He said the chicken was bland, but generally an OK sandwich. The coleslaw they served with the sandwich was atrocious. It was lying lifeless in a pool of watery mayonnaise and sprinkled with paprika (?). We are still unsure if it was even cabbage. It was hands-down the worst coleslaw I have ever encountered, taste-wise and aesthetically.
The service was extremely slow at Georges. Our soup was served promptly, followed by a very long wait for our lunch. It took even longer to see our waitress again to order a second drink. We thought wed never get our check at the end.
*Café Ra*: better than your average deli. We have actually been to Ra a few times now. Their salad bar looks good (although we have never sampled it) and they always offer a good selection or wraps and sandwiches. They have daily lunch specials and we havent been disappointed yet.