Recs for Keene NH?
- Jane May 17, 2006 09:48 AM
I may be going for an overnighter Mon/Tues of Memorial Day wkend. I would like to try Burdick's Restaurant for one - would have loved to have brunch but as we won't be there Sunday I guess that's out. Maybe lunch or dinner.
I'd like recs for meals to which we could bring my friend's laid-back 7 month old baby girl. I'm thinking we could even do a nicer place for dinner if we go right when they open. To those who groaned when they read that, she really is a mellow kid, and if she wasn't that night, we'd definitely leave - we'd never subject other diners to a fussy or crying kid.
I saw the EF Lane hotel online, w/the Salmon Chase Bistro - menu looked good, anyone familiar with it?
Any other recs?
Our favorite spot in Keene is Nicola's, downtown, in Central Square. The last time I was there the two women sitting next to me said they had been in Italy for 2 weeks and the food did not compare to Nicola's. There is a more formal restaurant and a more casual bistro side to the restaurant. The decor in both is lovely with subdued lighting and absolutely delicious cuisine.
TIMOLEON'S (on the Square) 25 Main St., Keene, NH.
This is a little old fashion coffee shop, the kind that is becoming so rare these days. Counter service and old style booths. Breakfast, Sandwich Plates and Dinners. Local watercolors on the wall. Guys swapping stories at the counter. Students reading in booths. Waitresses, cooks & manager telling jokes. Great atmosphere.
I had excellent meatloaf & REAL mashed potatoes. The BREAD PUDDING was the best I've had in years.
We asked what was the veg of the day and were pleased to hear not only was it NOT bagged and frozen - it was rutabagas or Harvard beets! How's that for old style.
I would HIGHLY recommend two places: First, Elm City brewing company, located in the Colony Mill Marketplace. Excellent food and service. They brew their own beer as well... Try the "Peachy Keene." Elm City is great for sandwiches, appetizers, etc.
Also, if you want to try some ethnic food, go with La Carretas--located across from the Colony Mill in Keene. It is simply EXCELLENT mexican food. Not just excellent for NH, but some of the greatest I've ever had. Service is stellar.
As for Timoleon's, while it is a nice environment, I recieved the worst service of my entire life at that establishment. Of a group of four, only one person recieved the correct meal that they ordered. Refills cost--even for the 5 oz cups that constitute their "medium" soda. Our waitress was blatantly rude and mean. I will never, ever go back. I am sure there are better servers there, but this one woman ruined my experience.
Report on La Carreta in Keene:
It was a disaster. The guacamole is listed on the menu as "guacamole dip" which I knew meant that I wouldn't be finding any avocado chunks in it, but I had to try it anyways. Its definitely one of those guacamole dips you buy in the grocery store that is vivid green and smooth like a pudding; something like a mayo base. And INCREDIBLY salty. Its not hard to make fresh, delicious guacamole so I really think that's a mistake on their part.
The practically inedibly saltiness of the guacamole didn't stop there. The beans were definitely inedible due to the extreme saltiness of them and sadly I mixed them up with my Chile Verde and made almost my whole meal inedible. What I did taste of the Chile Verde sauce that was unadulterated by salt was delicious, however, this is basically a carnita dish (deep-fried pork) with a Chile Verde sauce over it, not a stew like you may expect. Also, I'm sure that the sauce was not made from scratch, it too had that jarred/processed food consistency.
The steak and cheese burrito actually came as a fold-over, not a rolled burrito. But in comparison there was no seasoning whatsover on the steak. The grilled peppers and onion were tasty though. Again the beans that accompanied the dish were inedible due to saltiness. (Please don't think I'm some kind of low-sodium fanatic, I'm really not.)
There did not appear to be any or very effective air conditioning either and it was in the high 90's yesterday, so it was hot in the restaurant. My other issue is that the menu is attempting to include dishes from all over Mexico. They had Yucatan, Sinaloa and Oaxacan dishes all on the menu. That's a bad sign in my opinion; don't try to be everything - be good at your specialty.
We're definitely going to give it another try in about a month and see what the results are. It may be a restaurant where you just have to order carefully. And the service was incredibly friendly and attentive, so no complaints whatsoever there.
Went back to La Carretas yesterday to give it another try and most of the issues I had in my previous post were fixed.
As before, the service was phenomenal and the waiter even remembered us from last time, which was sweet.
House margarita totally drinkable and only $4.00 with a noticable amount of tequila in there.
I mentioned the extreme saltiness of everything last time we were there to the waiter and he said he heard a lot about it and it shouldn't be a problem now.
We ordered the Chile Autentico and the Beef Fajitas. The Chile Autentico was a stuffed poblano chile with some nice gooey Mexican cheese (no breading, yay!) and topped off with somed roasted chicken and a chile verde sauce. Delicious! The beans and rice were still slightly over-salted but I like a lot of salsa, so I just poured some of that on and ate the beans and rice like a dip with the remaining chips.
The fajitas were delicious with tons of beef (we had leftovers and I don't think I've ever had that happen when ordering fajitas). Really tasty with some nice grilled onions and bell peppers, soft like I like them.
The guacamole that came with the fajitas is still not 100% avocado, but that's a minor complaint this time.
Prices are also very reasonable. Our two entrees and two margaritas only came to $30.
The restaurant is also beautifully designed and decorated and it was a very cool and rainy day, so no heat issues like before.
Thanks for trying again and re-posting with your revised opinions -- that's mighty decetn of you! Usually folks just write a blistering slam and fase off into the night. I have to believe that the vast majority of places have off nights or off periods -- good to know that they can rebound!