Looking for 2 restaurants in Seacoast NH
Does anyone know what happened to the TownLyne Grille that was in Exeter? Did they reopen someplace else? Also wondering if anyone knows the whereabouts of a new restaurant that may have been opened by the owner of what used to be Wild Bites (Amesbury, MA). I miss them both!
Tony Ortu, formerly of Wild Bites, is now in Merrimac, MA, with Ciao Cafe and Pasta Bar, just off the downtown square. The space isn't as inviting as Wild Bites but he himself is very entertaining and his food is very good.
First visit we enjoyed a really nice braised or stewed calamari appetizer with lemon, potatoes and capers. We then had an order of artichoke ravioli and a veal valdostana. Ravioli were good and the veal, although served with a not-very-interesting tomato-cream sauce, was delicious, cooked perfectly and very tender. We had a few nice wines-by-the-glass and strawberries in a sabayon (during strawberry season) with a glass of grappa to finish.
I brought an Italian friend there for lunch one day and we got a great glass of wine and after chatting with Tony a bit, he threw together a very simple, Primavera-style pasta. We never looked at a menu and I enjoyed my lunch as they happily spoke Italian for a bit.
Some have commented about the proclivity of the host to encourage the "in the chef's hands" experience and the shock they got upon receiving the bill. I think the owners have made a good effort at clarifying options and price on the menu, to avoid such disappointment....and besides, the interaction with the chef is really the highlight of this place. He makes it feel like a neighborhood trattoria in Italy and I am thrilled to have this restaurant in my small town of 6,000.
If you live in the area, please visit this restaurant... they can certainly use the support in this economy.
Thanks, merrvally, for the quick and welcome response! I had been to Wild Bites several times (special occasions!), and know how Tony operates. We did the "chef choice" for one special meal, but it was written on the menu what the price was, so didn't come as a shock. Well worth the money! I'll probably be checking out his new place this weekend.