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Dottie's Diner

787 S. Main St, Woodbury, CT - (203) 263-2516
Posted By Chris & Amy Ayers on 10/10/2008 6:57:00 PM
A typical-looking restaurant on the outside, Dottie’s Diner is totally ’50s style inside with checkered floors and bright blue stools and booths. It’s also the home of fresh donuts and old-fashioned chicken pie, both of which were our goals to sample. The donuts are on display in a case by the front door, and after we finished our meal, our wonderful waitress bagged a few to go for us and added it to our bill before paying. The booths were packed with families, retirees, and kids eating donuts, but there were a few stools available at the counter. Note that we also had a lovely waitress whose sassiness earned her an extra large tip! It was all locals, too, as the parking lot was full of Connecticut license plates.

One of Dottie’s signature dishes, the chicken pie (about five inches in diameter, two inches in height) was the Phillips’ all-meat version, though our waitress asked us if we wanted Dottie’s edition with added vegetables. It comes dressed in a robe of light brown gravy, which is draped over a small portion of mashed potatoes. The crust is flaky but not too much so, and of course the chicken chunks are tender and flavorful. This is a pie with crust on all sides, not just on the top as some vendors around New England prefer. The mashed potatoes are exemplary and afford extra gravy for dipping a few chicken pieces when the pie’s own gravy is depleted. Steamed broccoli and cut carrots on the side are also perfect, not overcooked and lifeless like at other restaurants. This pie was our favorite entrée of the day, and we can’t wait to return to order it again.

A chef friend of my father’s once told me that bread pudding always makes hand-over-fist profit, for its humble ingredients can increase its profit exponentially, often by 1,000% or more, and “people order it ‘til it’s gone!” We are definitely among those people, but we’ve never heard of this donut version, which sounds so incredibly decadent. Made with day-old cinnamon donuts (surely the cooks set some aside, because they sell out daily!), this pudding is drizzled with a not-too-sweet crème sauce and sliced strawberries. Our first forkful sent us both into Roadfood oblivion! The moistness of the donuts, mixed with their residual cinnamon-sugar glaze and the sweetness of the crème sauce, puts this bread pudding, quite frankly, in a class all by itself. The ample fruit affords enough for every bite of pudding, as this is a dish that we’ll be talking about for a very long time.

As for the donuts, we sampled two varieties: the standby cinnamon-sugar, and the chocolate-covered old-fashioned. Touted by Michael Stern as possibly the best in the country, we wouldn’t go quite that far with superlatives, but we will state that they are certainly among the best in the state and a very close second to similar pastries at Neil’s in Yalesville. The cinnamon-sugar donut didn’t have the crunch that we’d read about and dreamed of, but the cake texture was absolutely scrumptious, and somehow the cinnamon sugar stayed stuck to the donut, leaving very little for finger-licking afterwards. The chocolate-covered is my favorite of the two, though Amy likes the first one better. This does have a definite crunch, despite most of its surface area being covered by a thick robe of dark cocoa-laden glaze. Our only mistake was that we didn’t take home enough of them.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Donut
Corned Beef Hash
Donut Bread Pudding
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

There is so much chocolate icing that only a wee bit of actual donut is visible, at the right of the photo. If there are donuts in heaven, I hope they're like this one.
"There is so much chocolate icing that only a wee bit of actual donut is visible, at the right of the photo. If there are donuts in heaven, I hope they're like this one."
Michael Stern





Cinnamon and chocolate are a natural flavor duet, but for me, the silky robe of chocolate didn't quite harmonize with the sandy crunch of cinnamon. Nevertheless, several minutes after these arrived at my place, the plate was empty... and I was contemplating an order of donut bread pudding for dessert.
"Cinnamon and chocolate are a natural flavor duet, but for me, the silky robe of chocolate didn't quite harmonize with the sandy crunch of cinnamon. Nevertheless, several minutes after these arrived at my place, the plate was empty... and I was contemplating an order of donut bread pudding for dessert."
Michael Stern


My two favorite kinds of donut at Dottie's: chocolate and cinnamon. There are always hunks of cinnamon donut to sample near the cash register.
"My two favorite kinds of donut at Dottie's: chocolate and cinnamon. There are always hunks of cinnamon donut to sample near the cash register."
Michael Stern


As crisp-crusted as ever, but with even more of the superb chocolate glaze surrounding its tawny skin, this chocolate donut is pure Yankee ... and pure pleasure, too.
"As crisp-crusted as ever, but with even more of the superb chocolate glaze surrounding its tawny skin, this chocolate donut is pure Yankee ... and pure pleasure, too."
Michael Stern


I wanted to arrive at Blackie's with plenty of appetite for a multi-hot dog lunch, so I simply took a photo of Dottie's extra-large eclair, and will eat one next time, for sure.
"I wanted to arrive at Blackie's with plenty of appetite for a multi-hot dog lunch, so I simply took a photo of Dottie's extra-large eclair, and will eat one next time, for sure."
Michael Stern


Made from yesterday's cinnamon donuts, Dottie's donut bread pudding is heavily veined with sugar and spice. It is served warm in creme Anglaise with blueberries and strawberries. The price is $3.50, although a swanky Connecticut inn has taken the same idea, using Dottie's donuts, and charges three times that price.
"Made from yesterday's cinnamon donuts, Dottie's donut bread pudding is heavily veined with sugar and spice. It is served warm in creme Anglaise with blueberries and strawberries. The price is $3.50, although a swanky Connecticut inn has taken the same idea, using Dottie's donuts, and charges three times that price."
Michael Stern


Eggs Benedict is the real deal with fresh, lemony hollandaise sauce.
"Eggs Benedict is the real deal with fresh, lemony hollandaise sauce."
Mark Kaupe


Old-fashioned chicken pie: a hash of chicken meat, large and small, dark and light, inside a fragile, savory crust. The gravy adds a sharp punch to the gentle flavors it blankets.
"Old-fashioned chicken pie: a hash of chicken meat, large and small, dark and light, inside a fragile, savory crust. The gravy adds a sharp punch to the gentle flavors it blankets."
Michael Stern


Dottie explained that she knew she could not abandon the tradition of chicken-only pies, but having grown up on the more commonly-known variant, which includes gravy and vegetables with the meat, she added it to the diner menu.
"Dottie explained that she knew she could not abandon the tradition of chicken-only pies, but having grown up on the more commonly-known variant, which includes gravy and vegetables with the meat, she added it to the diner menu."
Michael Stern


It is hard to say whether this chili is more stew or a soup. It is served with a gigantic soup spoon, but is as hearty as any stew. On the side came a square of hot-from-the-oven cornbread.
"It is hard to say whether this chili is more stew or a soup. It is served with a gigantic soup spoon, but is as hearty as any stew. On the side came a square of hot-from-the-oven cornbread."
Michael Stern


A cinnamon donut, ready to be eaten. Now you see it...
"A cinnamon donut, ready to be eaten. Now you see it..."
Michael Stern


... and now you don't. Here are the few crumbs that remain after I devoured a cinnamon donut in record time.
"... and now you don't. Here are the few crumbs that remain after I devoured a cinnamon donut in record time."
Michael Stern


Just the basics, but very good and leaves room for DONUTS!
"Just the basics, but very good and leaves room for DONUTS!"
Robin Olson


All by itself, this macaroni and cheese might have been too monotone. But as a complement for the day's special of chicken chili, it was ideal.
"All by itself, this macaroni and cheese might have been too monotone. But as a complement for the day's special of chicken chili, it was ideal."
Michael Stern


Cooked just right!
"Cooked just right!"
Robin Olson


Here's Dottie, holding one of her chocolate cream pies.
"Here's Dottie, holding one of her chocolate cream pies."
Michael Stern


A cross section of Dottie's excellent eclair shows the nice balance of ingredients. The crust is fragile enough that eating it by hand risks oozing cream.
"A cross section of Dottie's excellent eclair shows the nice balance of ingredients. The crust is fragile enough that eating it by hand risks oozing cream."
Michael Stern


Blueberries abound in this short stack, but what makes the pancakes especially good is the batter: buttery-rich and thick but not the least bit heavy.
"Blueberries abound in this short stack, but what makes the pancakes especially good is the batter: buttery-rich and thick but not the least bit heavy."
Michael Stern



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