We’ve walked by this restaurant in Portsmouth NH at least 6 times in the last few years when we have stopped in Portsmouth on our way in or out of Maine. The Hubs and I have always been drawn to how lovely the outside patio looks in summer, but alas, we were never able to get a seat, it’s just too popular! So when we planned our Pudding last weekend, I put the Hubs on the case of making a reservation and he outdid himself! We had an 8:30 reservation for “bar seating” but this was the view from the bar….
Of course we ordered the chef’s tasting menu that’s on the right of this picture and we ordered it with the wine pairing to accompany it. Easily one of the top dozen meals we have ever had. It was so fun to watch the two chefs at the stove and ovens orchestrate the meals for this cozy and unpretentious venue. We started off with a roasted beet and chevre starter that was topped with pistachio and pomegranate seeds. The best part of this was the fact that the chevre had been either whipped or foamed to become silky and soft, not crumbly. The beets were small and tender and perfect.
A butternut squash soup followed. The bottom of the bowl was painted with chocolate and cocoa nibs were added along with a homemade marshmallow. Chocolate, really? YES, REALLY! Wow! I’ve made Butternut Squash bisque, and had it in other places and never have I gotten this silky consistency that was what we had on Saturday nite.
Both of these courses were accompanied by a lovely white from Russian River in California.
Next up was a “salad” of pan roasted brussel sprouts and chestnuts with pomegranate served with a delicious nebbiola (rose) by La Kiuva in Italy
There was a cider cured duck listed on the menu, but they were out, and so substituted Chickpea Fries ( not what you think….) This will be another recipe I experiment with over the holidays. It would be excellent for meatless Monday. But I digress…
Outside of the beef that followed this dish, this item was my favorite from the whole memorable meal! I know I keep using the word silky, but really that’s the consistency we kept tasting. All the food was seasoned to perfection. The Chickpea Fries coincindentally are a recipe featured in this issue of Panna the online cooking magazine that I subscribe to. Maybe that’s where they got the idea, but it worked!
They topped it with fresh tabouleh, feta, and a cucumber yogurt dressing.
This course and the upcoming beef tenderloin was accompanied by a BIG red from Saved Winery in California. It was HUGE and will be under serious consideration for a case purchase!
Next up was a sirloin of beef, accompanied by a crispy brussel sprout leaf and a roasted carrot on top and a sauce of black garlic ( there’s that silky stuff again) that was out of this world, but the most surprising note of all came from the star anise that the sirloin was rubbed in before searing and roasting…”the best friend of beef” is what Michael, our chef said. I have got to try that, just need to find some star anise….
And this is when my iPhone died and I could not capture anything else, sadly. Following dinner we had an intermezzo of fresh pineapple, grilled with molasses and lime zest and then a pumpkin cake with marscapone foam. The best part of dessert was the sherry pairing! It was like drinking a liquid raisin, so rich and so layered with flavor.
More than enough food, even though a tasting menu and totally reasonable in price, it’s a place I can’t wait to go back to for another Pudding!