From provencial to colonial and continental cuisine, Williamsburg, Virginia, has something to suit your tastes.
It's "Death by Chocolate" to end all fatality by cocoa. Or perhaps, the one that began it all. In 1980, lauded executive chef Marcel Desaulniers opened The Trellis in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, featuring savory regional ingredients (Virginia peanuts, Carolina quail, and Surry bacon and sausage). But the real draw here has always been the sugary last word: chocolate desserts.
More than two decades later, Marcel boasts several cookbooks and awards. Chef Michael Holdsworth tends The Trellis kitchen while Marcel produces more volumes from his nearby test kitchen, Ganache Hill.
The Trellis was just renovated, keeping its original warm, casual feel, but adding fresh sophistication. They rotate a local art collection seasonally. Lunch is the best value here, and the wine list deserves a look. Save your calories, and head for the finish line, where elaborate cakes, cookies, ice creams, and sorbets beckon. 403 Duke of Gloucester Street; (757) 229-8610, www.thetrellis.com. Lunch entrées: $6.95-$13.95; dinner entrée: $16.95-$27.95.
Berret's Restaurant and Raw Bar
This is your spot if you crave seafood, want to stay in the village, like your casual duds, and still want creative food. Thick, creamy oyster and Surry bacon stew comes with a dollop of garlic "smashed" potatoes in the center. Generous crab cakes serve as canvas for a mosaic of local ham; sweet potato fries; and a relish of corn, tomato, onion, and asparagus, with three sauces--the dominant one being peanut. The short but nice wine list includes a few Virginia sips. The warm raspberry pie with flaky double crusts, vanilla ice cream, and true whipped cream is phenomenal. 199 South Boundary Street; (757) 253-1847, www.berrets.com. Lunch entrée: $5.95-$9.50; dinner entrées: $18-$25.
If you prefer Provence to Colonial America, slip into Le Yaca, a country French cafe, while browsing The Village Shops at Kingsmill. If possible, start with their soothing seafood bisque special: cream, shellfish stock, a little tomato, and chunks of lobster. End with the house specialty--Marquise au Chocolat: a deceiving thin slab of power-packed chocolate pâte in a pool of créme anglaise and raspberry sauce, topped with a jaunty cap of whipped cream and a mint sprig. The hiss of an espresso machine brings nice cappucino. 1915 Pocahantas Trail #C10, The Village Shops at Kingsmill, Route 60; (757) 220-3616. Lunch entrée: $7.95-$11.95; dinner entrée: $16.95-$25.95.
This article is from the April 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.