Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >
Nov 4, 2007 09:10 AM

Richard's Bistro new chef formerly Baldwin's on Elm?

I've read in Hippo that Richard's has added a 2nd new exec chef, who used to be at Baldwin's on Elm (which I loved and was sad to see go, then he went to Surf in Nashua).
My question is, has anyone eaten there recently, has the menu changed, any creative additions?
I had never eaten at Richard's because if I go to Manchester I usually want Mexican or Vietnamese or diner (we live in Concord and have nothing good in these categories here). We had looked at Richard's Bistro menu, and looked nice but nothing really made me want to eat there. Wondering if the new chef has changed anything enough that might convince me to try it out. Or if it's always been so good at Richard's that we should go. One or two friends had recommended it, but honestly they aren't very adventurous eaters, so I didn't trust then to know top quality interesting food.
Thanks for any advice....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hey Starving...

    I asked the same question last week, but didn't get much response:

    (and we opted out of Richard's based on the non-response, end up instead with a great meal at the Black Trumpet


    (we didn't end up going

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      I'll put in my 2 cents on Richard's.... I don't dine out in Manchester as often as I used to, but went to Richard's recently for lunch with a business associate. My opinion remains the same as it was in the past, that they are one of the best restaurants in central NH. From the service to the quality of the food and its presentation, it has always been consistently outstanding.

      If somehow the menu seems uninspiring to you (I don't really understand that), please try to put that aside and know that the quality of the ingredients and the quality of the cooking results in anything you order being wonderful. They really are that good. I like CR Sparks too, but even as much as I like Sparks, they don't have the consistency that Richard's does. They could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that would somehow be way better than you would expect. Case-in-point, when I had lunch there recently, I had lemonade (it was a warm day), and it ended up being so good I complimented the waitress on it. Same with the seafood chowder, I had a cup to go with my salad.... one of the best chowders I've ever had. Don't even get me started on their home made breads and spreads they serve you with each meal...

      Anyway.... do, do, do try to have lunch or dinner there. I have never had anything but an outstanding meal there. Not that the place is a secret, but it doesn't get the attention that other places do, which is probably because they just don't try to do anything trendy or flashy.

      1. re: Dave B

        OK - that's a pretty convincing pitch, Dave B. I'll try to get there soon-ish.

        1. re: Dave B

          Dave I am with you 200%. The breads and spreads alone are worth a journey to experience, let along the lobster bisque. I can say with all honestly if I had to choose a place to dine for my last meal, it would be Richards. Not just because of the wonderful food, but some of the best family outings we had in the past we done here, and done perfectly.

          1. re: gryphonskeeper

            Well, we'll have to try Richards' Bistro now with those recommendations. If it's really well done and good quality I like standard American or continental restaurant fare sometimes. It's not that the menu sounded uninspiring or non-exotic, but lots of places offer those similar menu items and so many of them are mediocre in terms of quality, freshness, taste (yet so many people still eat at them, which baffles me!). If it's consistently that good at Richard's, they must be doing it right. And I do love a good lobster bisque or chowder. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I have been to Richard's a handful of times over the years and it has been really REALLY good every single time. The menu doesn't sound special, but the food really is special. You won't get a bad meal there.

          1. Is Richard's suitable for a business lunch? We're combining lunch with a planning meeting for 3 people. It needs to be quiet enough to hear each other but not so quiet that everybody can hear us speaking. We're not discussing anything sensitive or private, but do want to be able to converse without distractions. An associate recommended Margarita's but I assume it can get noisy. Thanks, Laura

            8 Replies
                1. re: londonderrylaura

                  suitable? it would be sublime! Richards is by FAR Manchester's BEST restaurant.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    We had dinner at Richard's on Sunday. We noticed that the bistro salad which previously accompanied the entrees no longer does. There is now an additional $8 charge. When ordered separately, the size of the salad was noticeably smaller than it was when it accompanied the entree! The new entree: trout stuffed with crabmeat and topped with horseradish foam was disappointing in that the taste of horseradish overwhelmed the trout and the accompanying shoestring fries had a strange "fryer" taste. It was served along with asparagus spears. The components of this entree are not satisfying. Compared to our previous stellar experiences this past dinner was disappointing. With entrees in the $26-35 range, we will not hurry back.

                    1. re: hdb

                      That is horrible! Perhaps it was just for Mother's Day? I know when I went on Monday my selection came with a large salad, according to the website as of today the Bistro Salad is only a $5 addition if you add it to the "new creations" The salad still accompanies the Bistro Classics for no additional charge.

                      My guess, it was the classic Mothers Day BLAH restaurant experience. At least you did not have to suffer what I did... Mother's day at the Weathervane in Bedford, with tasteless Scallops that were the size of dimes, and a waitress that forgot my daughters dinner (it came when we were all DONE eating, forgot my son drink, forgot one appetizer.... This is why I avoid chains like the plague, but it was my Mom's choice... I wanted a raw bar brunch :( I swear, there are 2 days that I hate dining out unless its a brunch, MOTHERS DAY and Valentines Day... both are the worst experiences. Restaurants are packed, servers are frazzled, cooks are overworked and make huge mistakes, and restaurant owners always put out "special menus" which are higher priced and lower quality.

                      Try going M-Th to Richard's They now even have $33 special appy-main-dessert combos!

                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                        Weathervane is never good--it's the 99 of seafood restaurants.

                        1. re: whs

                          You're being too kind rating the Weathervane that high, I'd opt for starvation for going to WV.

                          1. re: treb

                            sadly for me, it is my MIL's favorite place, she always gets the same exact drink, same exact entree, every time. She will peruse the menu for over 10 minutes, and never ever changes her mind. I always try to order something new each time I go to a restaurant because I love to try all kinds of things. But the service there always stinks, they always forget to bring you a drink, or the tarter sauce, or give you a near empty ketchup bottle. The food is always overcooked (case in point my fathers friend clams came out, and they hurt his mouth to eat! He said it was like trying to eat capt crunch, it was cutting the inside of his mouth! CLAMS!!) ugh, enough of my rant on that place, at least I never have to pay for dinner there, MIL always insists on paying when we go there. Il love her to death, but she is a chain restaurant junkie, she thinks the reason chains must be the best places because they are are so successful.

                2. Richard's, Baldwin, Elm... ???

                  Please remember that for better or worse this board covers all of New England. Please name the town you're posting about in your title: it helps everyone here.

                  1 Reply