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Surprisingly good new restaurant in Wallingford Ct

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Last night, as an end to our vacation, my DH and I decided to try Cherry Street Restaurant in Wallingford, CT (http://cherrystreetrestaurant.com/ ) . We had no idea what type of cuisine they served, or really what to expect at all. To say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.

The restaurant location is interesting--in an industrial park down the road from the water treatment plant and waste station (aka the dump). An inauspicious location to say the least. The entrance is similarly odd--offset with a very large waiting area. I think they are opening a large banquet room soon, though, which would explain the odd setup.

The dining area itself is a bit on the small side, we counted about 8 4-tops and 3 2-tops. They asked if we had a reservation (at 6:45 on a Weds night?!), but did not hesitate to seat us at a four-top (one of my pet peeves is when 2 tops get treated shabbily).

The cuisine is northern Italian--I know, just what the area needs, another Italian place.

In any event, the menu is not huge, but large enough to satisfy a variety of tastes. Both DH and I had martinis, which were well-mixed and hit the spot as we read the menu and tried to decide what to have. DH ordered fried oysters (a special that night), which were served with a tomato remulade. He said they were well prepared, with the right consistency (not too rubbery), the remulade was 'ok' he said. I don't care for oysters, so did not sample them. For my app, I ordered eggplant rollatini, also a special. I do not ususally order an app, but I was starving, and it was the END of my vacation. This was truly some of the best rollatini I have had-the filling was nice and light, and the eggplant was clearly freshly prepared. Sauce was a typical marinara- not too sweet or spicy. Quite pleasant. I received 3 rollatini on the plate and forced myself to only eat 1.5 to save room for my main.

Salads were served dressed with a balsamic vinagrette. Just some mixed greens and tomato, shredded carrot--nothing special.

For mains DH ordered shimp and scallops in a saffron cream sauce served over taglietelle. The scallops were a bit on the fishy side, but were well- prepared, as was the shrimp. I ordered the wild mushroom taglietelle and can I say OMG! it was outstanding. The pasta was fresh and well prepared (i.e. not mushy). The cream sauce had plenty of mushroom flavor and there was a nice variety of mushrooms in the dish. I brought more than half home.

The wine list is not extensive at all, and we were both disappointed at it at first. DH ordered Chardonnay , which was very good. I had a Zin ( NOT WHITE Zin), which was out of this world.

Service was unobtrusive, but attentive and the waitstaff was pleasant. They had some live music (someone playing jazz on a piano). My one complaint is the dining area is separated from the bar area with a half wall. They do have a tv in the bar area, which can be seen from the dining area ( I HATE that). They seemed to have a nice happy hour spread out, with veggies and some breads, etc..

We did not have dessert (well, DH had another glass of wine, if that counts). Total, with tip was $120. We did have a coupon for a 'free entree' which had a value of up to $16.

My expectations were quite low ( coupons in a magazine+ Industrial park+ small wine list) but, all in all, I think they may beat Michaels for the best atsmosphere and Italian food in Wallingford. Michaels has slipped quite a bit in my estimation lately, but maybe I am just tired of their menu. So, if you were thinking about it at all, I say give it a try!

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