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Help! Bored with routine in Manchester, NH

Milford's a little far, but we have friends in that area, so it's a great excuse to head down and try Amigo's. Thanks, Tim!

Feb 11, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive

Help! Bored with routine in Manchester, NH

I've never even *heard* of You You Bistro! Thanks for the tip!
I found Z's to be... missing the mark. The initial concept was there, but the menue doesn't change, the food isn't always worth the price (because they prepare things that play on seasonal food's particular flavors). I should go back and check out the cocktails, tho...

Feb 11, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive

Help! Bored with routine in Manchester, NH

Haven't been to Casa Blanca's yet... how's the food? I order all my margs "Jamacan" - they use lime jc. (like Roses) instead of sour mix. I learned that from a bartender at a Margaritas, but it seems pretty universal.

Feb 11, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive

Help! Bored with routine in Manchester, NH

Thanks, lexpatti! I also love Siam Orchid - should def. add Thai to the regular rotation. I haven't tried City Flames, but looking at the reviews on Chowhound, looks like it should TOTALLY be on the list (plus they're within stumbling home distance - always a plus). And I sure do love me a good margarita - thanks for the head's on Hermano's (who *is* that Hermano guy, anyways??)

Feb 03, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive

Help! Bored with routine in Manchester, NH

My boyfriend and I go to the same resteraunts over and over. We like them, but I'd love to try something new! This is the current list when we decide, midday, to go out for dinner:

Manchester -
Piccola's (the food isn't always consitant, but we know the bartender and he fills my wine glass extra full)
La Carreta (girl's gotta have her margaritas)
T-Bones (good value, good food, sit in the bar to avoid the craziness of the dining room)

Nashua -
Fody's (James makes all cocktails sing, and their specials are delectable)
SanFransisco Kitchen (fusion heaven, new-ish bar is nice too)

I'd totally go to Concord, but I don't really know what's there (other than Cheers, yuck). We're not flush with cash, so places like Cotton and Micheal Timothy's are lovely, but not in general rotation.

Anyone have any good suggestions in the Nashua-Manchester-Concord range? (or anywhere less than 30 min. from downtown Manch where we live)

Feb 03, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive

New Restaurant in Manchester, NH ?

I noticed this place on the 29th as I was walking to Margaritas. I'm surprised that someone opened a place in this environment too, but hopeful that if they had the you-know-what's to do it now, perhaps their menu will have some gusto too.

I went for the first time last night. I sat in the bar for about half an hour on my own (I was early, not ditched). There were two bartenders on for a Thursday, and there seemed to be a decent sized post-work crowd in the bar. It was boisterous, but not loud (I'm 28, so I'm comparing to places like Margaritas, Murphy's, Strange Brew, Shaskeen, etc.) I never sat at the tables in the restaurant, so I don't know how much of the sound might have carried, but the tables looked pretty separate. The bartenders were outgoing, which is always nice when you've got nothing to do but wait and sip a drink. One, Mike, actively asked for feedback, positive and negative.

I had the house dirty martini, which they serve with a flavored salt rim. I'm glad I asked for it "light on the salt." It's made with a potato vodka that seemed pretty good quality - Grey Goose, perhaps, I didn't think to watch her make it. They also stuff the olive with blue cheese, which I've had before and loved. Unfortunately, the cheese they used was terribly salty - if they switched to a mellower blue or a gorgonzola it'd be perfect.

I also ordered the go-go bread, which is gorgonzola fondue (although, it's orange... go figure) with garlic toasts. It's crack for $6.95. Get it. You'll thank me. If you don't like it, then I'm so sorry. Except more for me. Yay.

My friend arrived and was pleased that the bartender (this one AJ) knew her Scotch. Generally when he asks "Whaddya got for Scotch?" he gets a blank stare, perhaps a stammered "Joh... Johnny Walker? Um... Red?" and a blushing server. I know nothing about Scotch, having been hit by the Old Grandad plague in my youth and now and forever can't stomach the stuff, but he was happy.

The go-go bread was filling, so I ended up ordering a side for dinner - the mushroom risotto. It was huge - the size of a bowl of cereal. Which, I guess for some people would be good, but it was more than enough for a meal. The risotto was... decent. Maybe a tad undercooked. But the mushrooms were fantastic - nice, big, earthy, flavorful chunks of mushrooms throughout the risotto. I think they'll end up perfecting this. I hope they do.

My friend got the "Poor Man's Pie" which is shepherd’s pie, but with chopped steak instead of ground. The bite I had was marvelous - a lovely, rich gravy, fresh and snappy vegetables, and a creamy and evenly seasoned mashed potato top. Perfect for the -5 degree weather.

I paired my risotto with a Hendrick's martini, dry. I'm pleased to see more establishments carrying Hendrick's gin, and hope it's a sign of more artesianal liquors, as well as a more creative drink menu (Cosmotini? Really? Just... no.). I much preferred this to the dirty martini - it was made knowledgably.

The prices are... not cheap. It's not T-Bones (not to knock them, they do a good job for their price point). But it's not Z's either. If you're like me and generally have leftovers, I suggest ordering an app and a side if you're looking to keep your costs down (so you can get more $9 martinis - they're worth it). They have several interesting menu items for between $12 and $18, and their portions seem generous. The fillet mignon is just under $25, which is a little rich for my blood, but if it's a good cut of meat might be worth it.

The menu is listed at their website now, in pdf form, and they're open for lunch (with a less expensive menu - good time to try stuff).

Overall, they're doing pretty well for their third week. I think the staff has enough experience to improve, and I really hope they do. I'm so glad that building is no longer housing some sort of creepy electronics store that's only open nights and has customers that sit out front on beech chairs and stare at people as they walk by.

Give this one a chance. And if you did and didn't like it, wait a month or so and try again. Startups are tough, and we're still in the "previews" stage.

Jan 16, 2009
leeapeea in All New England Archive