This is the latest in a series of reviews I call Dine on Nine. Route 9 goes all across the south of Vermont and is lined with several communities between Bennington and Brattleboro. People from all walks of life end up on this little stretch of highway, and there are not just fun diners, drive ins and dives, but fine dining establishments offering up classic as well as innovative fare.
Today's review concerns the village of Willmington, a village close to Mount Snow between Bennington and Brattleboro.
Stopping into Jezebel's is easy - they are open breakfast lunch and dinner, and provide seating inside and outside in the warm months.
For being a teensy town, Wilmington has a lot of nice places crammed in their few blocks of interesting, historic commercial district. I'm beginning to explore beyond Dot's, which has generally captured my attention for breakfast and lunch as I've been passing through. Since friends recommended Jezebel's, I have happily stopped in to see what is going on there.
Jezebel's is ensconced in the historic 1836 Lyman House on the main drag of Wilmington
Extensive lunch menu with lists of appetizers, salads, sandwiches
Hey hey - local brews! When in Vermont, quaff what the locals are quaffing. Try some of Vermont's finest.
My sandwich experience was mixed - while it was a delightful combination of ingredients, it was made with inconsiderate abandon. Large wads of meat and creamy cheese were stuffed in the middle of the bread and not mashed down. I recommend spreading out the ingredients across the surface of the bread so that each bite has all of them, rather than leaving the diner to get a bite of largely tasteless beef then an entire bite of cream cheese. It's supposed to be a blend of ingredients for a reason. With an extensive list of sandwiches, I'm hoping the back end of the house will get this elementary aspect of sandwich making in the near future. I did the only thing to be done myself, and took the sandwich apart to spread everything out. Yum. I'm glad I took that extra step to taste the combination. A lot of thought has gone into the sandwich list and I'm hoping Jezebel's will get the kitchen in shape to execute them well.
These duck legs are called duck wings on the menu - can I take off points for this?
YUGE slice of prime rib
My prime rib experience was mixed. It was rare, as I requested, it was flavorful, tender, and it had "rested" all the way to cold on the outside. It is a "generous" portion, about 3/4 pound at least. I nibbled around the edges and packed it in a box. The potatoes were perfect. The veggies were flawed by woody asparagus. So-so. What else can I say about food of this quality?
While Jezebel's eatery is not pretentious, it shows its aspirations in the menu listings, which are extensive and include fish, pork, beef and fowl. I like their ideas for sauces and sandwiches, and they have ok presentations - nothing really fancy in that department. The execution in general is lame, and the back of the house needs some stern guidelines to follow so that the food will be worth the prices we are paying for it. What kitchen worth its salt should be told by a customer that the sandwich is all balled into the middle of the bread, or that the prime rib - one of the priciest dishes on the menu, has gone cold? If my experiences are the norm, the staff must wake up and be professionals.
This place has many ingredients for a very nice restaurant experience. With a kitchen that has gotten over being lazy, Jezebel's will be a highlight in the Wilmington scene. As it is, I'd look for less expensive fare that is more reliable, or go for the established fine dining places and have something that has been professionally made and presented.