The Shaker Table, Canterbury NH: Terrible
This was a restaurant of some good repute a while ago but it has become, how may I say it, bad. I know they need money to maintain the Village, but it is still a restaurant and people should know what they will get. I have been there now twice (the second time because the first one was so bad I got a gift certificate from them), and both times were bad. The food isn't just poor, it isn't really adequate. And, amazingly, the prices are rather exorbitant, which I could understand if there was even a smidgen of quality and they still wanted money for the Village, but there certainly isn't that. The service both times was done by people who seemed like they weren't exactly sure where they were. And to top it all off, the decor is uninviting and uninteresting. Anybody who is thinking of going there I would suggest keeping your money until they actually make something.
Roast chicken: tasted like some home cook had put it under a broiler. Rather dry with flabby, unseasoned skin, and covered in definitely commercial gravy. Served with way overcooked home fries and a sprig of unadorned lettuce. $16
"Prime rib" with scrambled eggs and similarly overcooked home fries: Covered in the *exact* same gravy (hiding something perhaps?). Tasted suspiciously like the pot roast we had had on our previous occasion. Specifically asked it to be cooked medium-rare and it was very well-done. And fatty. $19
Two very small and undercooked crab cakes: $12!!
I won't go into the dry cheese-covered (?) pot-roast we had had previously or the also-dry pulled pork. Amazingly, they offer cooking classes! Uh, I don't want to learn to cook like that.
I would recommend anyone who likes to spend too much money for poor food served by stunned people in a dull setting at the end of a terrible road have a great time. Otherwise, I wouldn't go.
That's disappointing. I've had several excellent meals there, the last visit being fall of 2007. I enjoyed a cheeseburger on a housemade bun for lunch, with a corn casserole/pudding side dish that was addictive. I recreated it at home several times, and am glad to have discovered it.
I like the understated Shaker reproduction furniture. Shaker style is functional and understated, so elaborate decor would be inconsistent with the Shaker ethos. I do miss the interesting seating of The Creamery, which was the predecessor restaurant, in another building. It had long, communal tables, which encouraged conversation with other diners. Seats had extremely low backs which nonetheless supplied good support to the spine. The reason for the unusual design was that so they could be pushed completely under the tables, allowing easy sweeping of the floors.
Food has probably gotten bad because the chef that worked there two years ago is my friend's husband and he has moved on. It's unfortunate!