36 Strongs Avenue, Rutland 773-2367
60 years later, I decided to give it a try. As I entered The Palms, a cellist played Nino Rota's theme from The Godfather. The ceilings were covered in stucco, the walls in lattice-work and practically everything else, from windows to lamps, in palm tree designs.
The menu of old-time, red sauce Italian dishes made choosing difficult. Would it be the pork chops, dubbed a hometown favorite? I was tempted by the Manicotti and Meatballs, a combo I'd never seen before. Ultimately, I chose the lasagna al forno (pictured), described as "Grandma Dot's recipe." Grandma Dot knew what she was doing. Wonderfully al dente noodles housed parmesan-rich meatballs, truly sweet Italian sausage and just enough of a cheese blend that didn't go crazy on the ricotta. To my delight, the sauce was more acidic than most restaurant tomato sauces, a sure sign that it was fresh, not a surprise, as The Palms is a member of both the Vermont Fresh Network and Local First Vermont.
And what about the storied pizza? It tasted like history — my history, in the tri-state area. Though served in a deep dish, the slices were pure New York, well-seasoned, with sauce and cheese which blended for an unmistakably rich taste, on a thin crust. They didn't skimp on toppings either, there was practically no visible cheese beneath the pile of sausage and onion. No wonder folks have been coming back for generations.