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Jan 1, 2008 09:00 AM

Damian's on the River, New Boston, NH

Looked forward to trying this place and was dissappointed. Based on the review I read, I was expecting somewhat gourmet quality food and service. The Pumpkin Ravioli appetizer was good. Field greens salad was boring and tasteless. Stuffed Pork Chop was just OK and uninspired. Prime Rib was also nothing special, just average. Carrot Cake dessert was excellent, very moist and delicious. The Chocolate Ganache Tort was not good, very dry.

The service was not good. The timing was poor, many long time spans between dishes. There was also confusion, wrong appetizers brought to table, dessert order taken twice by different waitresses, just not very attentive. It is also not clear what role the Chef plays in the meals leaving the kitchen. He was outside the kitchen mainly chatting with guests for the 2 hours that I was there. He and his wife seem very nice, but I think he should be more in focused on his kitchen and waitstaff.

Overall, an overpriced dissapointed. Will not be back.

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  1. That is strange because it is the exact opposite of the experience I had. New Boston area needs a place like Damian's to save it from the lull it has now.

    1. I agree with the poor review! And actually would rate Damian's worse. The apps were good. But I don't think the bar tender new the recipie for Capt Morgan and Coke. 3 in our party ordered that and each one of us got Coke with lime. LOL

      The other three's entrees were mediocre.Mine was completely awful. I had the Chicken Saltimbocca, which is a fav of mine. What I was servered was what I can only describe as "pre-prepared" Chicken Cordon Bleu. And as for that, I"ve had better at cheap weddings!

      For dessert we shared Lemon Meringue Pie and Carrot Cake. The meringue as not fully cooked so was just runny goo, the pie crust was thick and underbaked. The carrot case was just disgusting, that is all I can say about it. 4 Adults left most of these 2 dessert on the table to be chucked. Actually the best thing one could do with them.

      I Also agree service was lousy. Waitress never came to ask how any of our food was. (I wanted to make sure that I had really been served saltimbocca) As she cleared our plates she asked how everthing was. I expressed my disappointment.. if she shared that with the managment, they never came by our table to ask on this.

      I would never return, nor would I recommend Damian's.

      If you are looking for great food, in a bit-more-than-casual environment. I give my highest thumbs up to the Cotton in Manchester! We've been several times and have never been even the tiniest bit disappointed! We tried Damians as something new.

      5 Replies
      1. re: granola911

        Not that it excuses anything, but Captain and Coke usually comes with a lime, it's called a Cuba Libre. Most barenders ask when you order a Cap'nCoke if you would like a lime, I guess this one was just pretentious.

        1. re: purchaser1

          actually, a cuba Libre has the juice of half a lime squeezed into a mix of light rum and coke, not spiced rum and coke.

          1. re: purchaser1

            We were fine with the coke, we were fine with the lime... it was the absence of the Captains that disappointed us! LOL

            1. re: granola911

              That is horrid! Either the waitstaff sent the bar a wrong slip, or the bartender is not professional. I am a bartender, and I have worked with some young people who I shake my head at. I once worked with this one girl who put an OLIVE .... in an appletini! I was horrified! I asked her why she did that... and she said "oh don't all martinis get olives?

              :::::shakes head:::::

          2. re: granola911

            Damians has gone right down hill. I tried it and I loved it, then I went back and thought I was entering the twilight zone. It was like a total change from first experience. I hope they work the kinks out soon, and this is not a Omen of things to come (Yes, that was an intentional pun)

          3. I couldn't disagree more. I have had dinner at Damian's twice now (within the past 2 weeks) - once on an unexpectedly (very) busy Saturday night, and again on a quiet Wednesday evening. Both times, the food was exceptional - there is no place in the area that even comes close; and it has the potential of elevating itself to the likes of Michael Timothy's in Nashua or 55 Degrees in Concord.

            The chicken tamale steamed in banana leaf was so good the first time I had it, I ordered it again on our return visit, and again was pleased with the preparation (although the 'special sauce' referred to on the menu is really a red cabbage slaw, it goes very well with the tamale). The panko crusted calamari is also excellent - extremely tender. The potato crusted cod was cooked perfectly, though the bed of black lentils that it was served on was on the salty side - I think due to a salty ham infused broth that it was cooked in. Crab stuffed rockfish (a Saturday night special) was fresh, moist, and succulent. The Wiener Schnitzel was also extremely tender and well prepared, perfectly battered scalopini; a little bland/light on seasoning, given that it did not include the usual anchovy and caper garnish, but still very good none the less. The seared duck breast was superb - tender (I'm using that adjective frequently, but so often with these ingredients - veal, squid, duck - that is not the case), flavorful (with a beautiful, slightly charred crust), and a perfect medium rare. Creme brule is some of the best I've had.

            There are some improvements that could (and hopefully will) be made as the restaurant becomes more established. In a restaurant of this caliber, wine should certainly be opened at the table; not already uncorked when it arrives. Service can be a little dicey (but as I said, they were busier than expected - so that is understandable). It would also be nice if Chef Martineau circulated through the restaurant and checked with his guests on occassion (especially on slow nights) - that can be a nice touch when a new restaurant is trying to get established. All minor complaints however. We're looking forward to returing again... and again.

            1. I read the mixed reviews after making reservations for Easter and was nervous to take family to Damian's; however I can say we were all glad we went.

              Cream of Asparagus soup was excellent - the best I have had. Veal Oscar was very good with very sweet crab. The other dinners: lamb with toasted barley- melt in your mouth and very flavorful. Scallops were also excellent.

              Save room for dessert - creme brule was very thin but good. The large piece of tiramisu was very good and enough for two.

              It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed our window seat over looking the river.

              We all agreed we will be back.
              Our waitress was very pleasant and attentive. We saw the chef when we arrive but he didn't chat as the restaurant was very busy

              1 Reply
              1. re: CNdM

                I had the glorious pleasure of dining at Damian's last night. For those looking for a genuine chef owned and operated restaurant experience, Damian's is the place! Here's my review (in my most humble opinion, and warning, it's a long one because I was really moved by my experience there):

                1. Location: it isn't right down the street. I like getting out of town now and then for a meal, it makes it more special. The view from the windows? Spectacular. Bordering on ridiculous was when 3 deer began to frolic in the water during my meal. And this was right after a blue heron spent some time on the water. I was beginning to wonder if the management has an animal keeper on staff to release wildlife at opportune times...

                2. Experience: our server, Stephanie, was a pro. We thought she was one of the chefs based on her knowledge of the menu, the exec. chef, and food facts. She informed us she was 'just a waitress'. Hardly! She kept a respectable distance from us, being helpful and knowledgeable but easily accessible.

                3. The food: Incredible. The bread was served warm and fresh. My friend and I split the calamari. It was really good, tender, not chewy and greasy, and was served with a slight amount of garnish - not a vat of sauce on the side. For dinner I went comfort food route and had chicken parmigiana (I like simple classics) and my friend had the salmon with the risotto cake. She picked the spinach and the au gratin potato as her sides. My dinner was awesome. Not oversauced or overcheesed. The pasta was beautifully al dente. The chicken was crispy but not dry. The sauce was spectacular with lots of depth. The portion was generous but not ridiculous. According to my friend her meal was excellent - the fish was cooked to perfection, the potatoes creamy and cheesy but not a mess of dairy. For dessert? Their carrot cake is a religious experience. If you value a good carrot cake, do yourself a favor and go to Damian's. You can taste the cream cheese in the frosting, and the cake is so moist it is almost creamy!

                I think it is important for people to know that this is not the place to go if you're looking for a quick meal. I wouldn't go there with my entire family, but maybe just adults and young people old enough to sit still for a while. The food is made to order and fresh, and therefore it takes some time for the kitchen to bring it out.

                Please go. It's really good. It's chef owned and operated. In the summer it's light out until nearly 9:30 so you'll really get a nice view. If you have the good fortune of meeting Damian, be prepared to be charmed. Ask him about the day he bought the property. It's a GREAT story.

              2. We had a wonderful experience at Damian’s last night. It was our second anniversary and we were looking for a place for dinner. My husband cut out gluten last year, and we have found that many restaurants are not very knowledgeable in regards to gluten and are sloppy in their cross contamination, resulting in a sick husband later in the evening. I called ahead of time and spoke to Damian, who assured me that everything was made from scratch and they were very familiar gluten free diets. When we arrived, they walked through the menu with us and checked that every ingredient was gluten free (he was able to eat about 80% of the menu). My husband was especially excited that he was able to eat the Mushroom Bisque thickened only with cream, not flour. The soups were amazing (I had a Roasted Pumpkin soup). My entrée was the Roasted Duck with peppercorn sauce that was cooked to perfection. My husband had a Monk Fish with crab butter sauce and was very impressed. We split the gluten free spice cake for dessert (Damian tries to always have one gluten free dessert) – it was moist and flavorful which is a challenge with gluten free cakes. We spoke to Damian and his wife after dinner; very lovely people. Our server, Stephanie, was great and everything came out in a very timely manner. My only negative comment was that the lights were a little bright for a such a nice place, but our experience overall was wonderful. And my husband did not get sick!

                We will definitely go back!

                1 Reply
                1. re: jax0423

                  Great report! New Hampshire magazine lists Damian's as one of NH's "hottest" restaurants in this month's issue.