by Alice Levitt
973 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester, 655-5550
Sometimes places fly under my radar until I hear that they have fried brownie bites. Such was the case with Three Brothers Pizza & Grill, a casual pizzeria and sandwich spot adjacent to a gas station in Colchester, just up Roosevelt Highway from Main Street, Winooski.
But when one of the three brothers, Rami Faour, sent me his Vermont Restaurant Week menu, I knew I couldn't wait until April 26 to try his restaurant.
The specials menu alone was so large that it was nearly impossible to decide. Braised veal-and-beef tortellacci in veal Marsala sauce? Sounded delicious, but I decided to stick to the enormous selection on the regular bill of fare.
With low prices and an option to get smaller versions of most dishes, it was easy to order a wide variety. Even the drink selection is huge, including not only glass-bottle Coke, but also Sprite and orange Fanta. And there are slushies —blue ones!
I skipped the sugary drinks and instead started with a small tossed salad that was still large enough for two to share as an appetizer. The house dressing was a basic herb-flecked vinaigrette emboldened by a pleasantly sweet olive oil.
Good ingredients and attention to detail also benefited the Champ Pizza. Maple caramelized onions brought a sweet foil to crisp, tangy pepperoni, thick, meaty bacon and chunks of Italian sausage. A combination of fresh mozzarella and local cheddar made for a gooey slice, but an oily one. No matter. Even with a crust soaked in grease, it was hard to put down the varied, flavorful slices.
I'll take some of the blame for my disappointment in the Porky. This place offers more than 20 sandwiches — including burgers, grilled chicken and even sausage with homemade sauces and local cheeses. I probably shouldn't have ordered pulled pork from a non-specialist.
The meat itself fell apart into overcooked strands, and the house barbecue sauce was far too sweet for my taste. A thick layer of cheddar and a pile of tangy, crunchy coleslaw helped mitigate the sugar, but the sandwich still wasn't my favorite. The acid of the pickle on the side also helped cleanse my palate.
Next time, I'll order the Vermonter, with maple turkey, bacon and green apples, instead.
But I will certainly order the brownie bites that brought me to Three Brothers any time I return.
Whether you love fried Twinkies and Oreos at the fair or find them overrated, you will not be able to resist finishing a portion of the crisp-jacketed fried brownies. Each chocolaty cube reveals a near-molten center, like chocolate lava cake you can pick up. On the side, extra-dark chocolate sauce is primed for dipping.
You want to eat this dessert. I should know. I had it last night and am already set for round two.
Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.