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“One of the best in the Country” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Chestnut Grille at The Bee and Thistle Inn

The Chestnut Grille at The Bee and Thistle Inn
100 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT 06371 (Formerly Bee & Thistle Inn)
860-434-1667
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Ranked #3 of 26 Restaurants in Old Lyme
Price range: $35 - $50
Cuisines: Contemporary
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Outdoor seating, Scenic view
Dining options: Reservations
Marlboro, Vermont, United States
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“One of the best in the Country”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2014

Wherever I go the principal objective of my journey is to eat great food. The Bee and Thistle met every expectation I could ever have had.

The Inn is an historic property which is simply stunning in its beauty with a huge back yard, decorated with incredible sculptures, that lead to a gorgeous river front. My wife and I sat by the river, in comfortable lounge chairs, sipping incredible craft cocktails - a charred strawberry daiquiri!! What?! SOOOO Gooood!! - before we head back to our charming room to change for dinner.

We ordered one of the best pork belly appetizers we've ever had. The meat was so tender, and was paired with mangos, and a touch of chipotle giving a little heat. Just the right amount of heat, which is hard to do and many places crank the heat up so much it's hard to eat the dish. We also ordered the tuna tartare which is served with baby white cucumbers and a mustard dill sauce. The fish must have been brought out of the ocean right before service it tasted so fresh. I had to ask our server, Julia, about this and she informed me that the chef orders all seafood daily. When she said "daily" she wasn't kidding. Apparently the order is called into the local seafood purveyor around noon, and the fish is dropped off a couple of hours later. That's incredible and not the kind of seafood program one typically sees outside of large cities like New York. Right there I knew we were experiencing a chef who holds very high standards. The dish was spectacular and we were prepared for exceptional entrees, and were not let down.

I ordered the scallops with Bacon Roasted Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes and creamed corn. Well, it simply changed my life. The scallops are large and local, prepared perfectly. The outside was crusted a beautiful medium golden brown, and the flesh had just the right amount of tooth. The potatoes are baked in their skins with bacon and they absorb the flavor of the bacon, which then pops as you eat them. The only thing I was wondering about was the creamed corn. I mean, that's something my grandmother used to make. Well, I don't know what the chef is doing back there, but this creamed corn was like nothing I've ever had. It was rich, velvety, bursting with peak of the Summer corn flavor, and paired in flavor so well with the scallops that it changed forever the way I will view scallops.

My wife ordered the Beef Wellington. This dish was a deconstructed version of the timeless classic, and arrived like a work of art in its plating perfection. The meat was cooked perfectly, from edge to edge a perfect medium rare. Beside the meat was a Napoleon of puff pastry, with pate and mushroom duxelle. The duxelle was a new take on classic French being more rustic with large diced portabella, light cream, seasoned perfectly, and a really neat whimsical approach to a dish that is, of course a classic, but can come off a little stuffy in some restaurants. The potatoes the chef served were divine. Truffle infused, whipped, and full of YUM! I almost had to fight my own wife to get a bite of them.

For dessert we had a blueberry and peach galette, which is like a rustic tart. It was served with whipped mascarpone and makes you feel like your French grandmother whipped it up for you special upon visiting your home after five years away. (It doesn't matter if you have a drop of French blood in your veins, this is how the dish will make you feel.) We also ordered the Inn's house made summer corn ice cream - yea, you heard me right, CORN ice cream! - served as a butterscotch sundae. It's a really fun dessert because it's like a humorous little joke on buttered popcorn. It knocked our socks off.

In short, this is one of the best meals we've ever had and after we finished, we retired to the Inn's lounge, which is decorated with large modern art, that make it fun and relaxing, and had a few - perhaps a few too many - cocktails while Jack the resident Bartender Extraordinaire made perfect drinks and told hilarious stories. He might get mad at me for this, but... ask him to juggle. He can! Really well!

We headed up to our room and slept the sleep of satisfaction, in a huge king sized bed that is like slumbering on marshmallow clouds.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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45 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    30
    7
    5
    0
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Niantic, Connecticut
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Delightful Dinner and Sparkling Server”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

After too long an absence, four of us revisited the Bee and Thistle last night and had a delightful time, with the surprising benefit of an "early bird" three- course dinner.
Appetizers consisted of a fresh green salad or a crab bisque, both of which were delicious. Two of us had the steak , one opted for the cod, and one chose the tenderloin of pork. All of us were more than pleased with our meals. To crown the evening, the desserts presented were as tasty as they were tempting. All elements combined to provide a gourmet experience!
A few words must be said about Rachel, our server,who was most knowledgeable, gracious and accommodating,
We look forward to a return to this charming spot.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Lyme, Connecticut
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Perfection Found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2014

Picture Saturday evening crowning a chaotic and wildly cachophanous week. Pam asked , how about a quiet evening out - just to eat and talk. Private window side table. View of spring garden flowers through well appointed curtains. The right music and superlative staff with quiet attention.
And then Chef Rowe 's spring menu. The Shatter Grenache , a perfect accompaniment. Beet and baby spinach salads ,fresh and delightful. The Fillet Mignon and asparagus meshed elegantly. But , oh my , the cashew encrusted Haddock over red bliss potato cake and asparagus almost over the top even for this gastronomophile (trying this neologism on all you TripAdvisor "foodies" - this word just pales for one who loves all delectables that are to enter my stomach).

For everyone from near and far - The Chestnut Grille / The Bee And Thistle Inn / A Must Visit
And Take your time , your best Friend and be prepared for Perfection! Enjoy

  • Visited April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clinton, CT
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A Revised Review”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

We revisited The Bee & Thistle for dinner and were pleasantly surprised with our experience! Our meal was most enjoyable, tasty and the service was attentive but not overbearing! This has always been a very nice venue and we're very pleased to find things have changed from our previous experience. Thank you to the staff and current owners!

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“a local gem, underappreciated”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

You can always expect Chef Rowe to deliver an extraordinary meal. The professional waitstaff meets the mark to make a visit there exceptional.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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