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September 21, 2010

Alice Eats: Blue Acorn

84 North Main Street, St. Albans 802-527-0669

Sometimes I wish I were a restaurant consultant instead of a reviewer. Every once in a while, I have a dinner that makes me want to grab the restaurateur by the shoulders and talk some sense into him. That was how I felt at the Blue Acorn. Nothing was inept — in fact, many things were good — but the restaurant is in need of some hand-holding.

The spellings on the menu were the first hint that something was slightly amiss. Poutine was written as Apple "pouitini." One drink, composed of amaretto, Frangelico and Chambord, is called "Your Nuts." I assume the owners intended to assert that the drinker is crazy, but accidentally made a reference to the old dingly-danglies instead. A proofreader was clearly in order.

I ordered the apple-stuffed chicken (right), which came with a choice of two sides for $15. When I asked for risotto, I was told it had been discontinued. 

Given the name of the entrée, I expected to receive a roulade. What I got instead was two nicely seasoned but small chicken tenderloins with a pile of apple slices placed between them. I feel pretty solid on the definition of "stuffed," and this was not it. The chicken also appeared to be missing the advertised maple glaze. 

The skinny asparagus spears on my plate were well-salted and cooked to a nice al dente, but slightly cold. Mashed potatoes had a nice "smashed" texture and good, honest potato taste. There were no bells and whistles like cream or garlic.

The batter on the fish and chips was delicious. In addition to nutty notes contributed by beer, the crisp crust had a very pleasing sweetness. The fish inside was mushy, but I didn't really mind. It was like eating uniquely complex fried dough. I also loved the coleslaw that came alongside. The colorful cabbage was cut extra long and thin, and needed to be wound around the fork like spaghetti. The dressing had just a hint of creaminess, and the amount of acidity was perfect.Tortilla.

Desserts included a pair of cheesecakes that were not made in-house, and an apple dish, which was. I went for the latter, and was glad I did. Sautéed apples, heavy with cinnamon and sugar, were wrapped burrito-style in a flour tortilla, then fried. Yum. The combination of crisp and soft elements in the tortilla were a delight and the vanilla ice cream added another layer of complexity.

Hopefully, in the future, the folks at Blue Acorn will take more care in envisioning their dishes and describing them accurately. If they do that, I'll be back for more than just dessert.

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