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Ice Storm report--Manchvegas

whs Dec 18, 2008 06:34 PM

The ice storm made us refugees at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester—could have been worse, we had room service! We also had the opportunity to revisit some old favorites, and try some new places, all within walking distance. We had dinner Friday night at Z Bistro, and enjoyed our cocktails—a Hendricks gin concoction with a dash of rosewater and cucumber “noodle” relish, and Meekins martini with a splash of Lillet. We had the Asian nachos and flatbread with fontina, Serrano ham, and truffle oil, followed by veal cheek stew and mustard-coated pork loin with red cabbage. All delicious, and excellent service from Sean. These are items we’ve had before and enjoyed them again. Lunch on Saturday at the Athens—if just for the décor, this place is worth a visit. It’s a time capsule of fine dining Manchester-style circa 1977. The avgolomeno soup is always tasty, and the spanakopita plate could feed a small family.

We tried Hanover Street Chophouse Saturday night, which was a first visit. A handsome room packed with customers coming in well past 10pm—so much for the recession. Our white-coated waiter Richard was a study in professionalism. Gigantic martinis served in individual shakers, a nice touch. Bluepoint oysters were briny, fresh and the size of small Portobello mushrooms. The escargots in a Pernod butter sauce were fantastic and a Caesar salad was nice and garlicky but could have used some more anchovies. The steaks, a porterhouse and a Delmonico, were roasted rather than grilled and cooked rare as requested, the truffled ‘tater tots’ are a must try. At Cotton we had split pea soup—delicious once it was sent back to the kitchen to be heated up, forgettable pasta with lobster and a decent turkey schnitzel. Biggest gripe about Cotton is the nasty, chemical smell of toilet freshener that greets you as you walk through the door. Cotton promises so much but usually manages to disappoint. We went to Margaritas for the drinks (we could stagger back to the hotel); totally forgettable food--let’s face it, Manch-Mex will never replace Tex-Mex. We also had decent burgers at the Radisson, though everything else tasted like it fell off the back of a Sysco truck.

So we’re back home—going through the fridge, throwing out dubious containers of pad thai sauce and veal demiglace…

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  1. signothetimes53 Dec 19, 2008 03:16 AM

    Great report, and the comment about the Radisson food falling off the back of a Sysco truck made me laugh like crazy, esp. since it is true.

    1. l
      lexpatti Dec 19, 2008 11:11 AM

      Great report, need to get to HS Chophouse - read about their oysters. haven't been to Athens in a while but great choice.

      We tried to join you but got home too late on Friday to get a room anywhere from Woburn to Manch (we called the radisson). We waited too long thinking power would come on. Hockey game on radio by candlelight - a good thing!

      Glad you enjoyed the Ice Storm.

      1. t
        Tedmom Dec 22, 2008 07:31 AM

        We were also storm refugees at the Radisson and found the burgers at JD's Tavern at the hotel to be pretty good and a decent value. Agree with you, though, that everything else was the pits. We had our dog staying with us, so we had to do a lot of take out. Too bad we could only get non-alcoholic drinks to go at Margarita's since the alcoholic ones tend to make the food seem more palatable somehow!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tedmom
          whs Dec 22, 2008 08:19 AM

          Having all the dogs around the hotel was the highlight of the stay! The low point food-wise were the scrambled eggs at the breakfast buffet--reconstituted sawdust.

        2. b
          bewley Dec 22, 2008 11:03 AM

          Great report.

          I want to again note that Margarita's food is sadly a joke.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bewley
            whs Dec 22, 2008 02:51 PM

            Yes, the focus seems the decor and the margaritas. This is not Mexican food, it's how many ways can you combine tortillas, beans, cheese and mild salsa.

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