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The Hounds of Dover, NH

I just recently moved from NYC to Dover, NH, two months ago. I thought I was adequately prepared for the new environs. After all, I wasn't expecting this place to be anything like New York, of course, and I grew up in a Pennsylvania suburb, so I know what it's like to live in an "Olive Garden" town. Even so, even I was taken a little aback by the food scene here. The options are indeed limited, and there's a sore lack of decent restaurants. (If I had money, I'd start an upscale resto here, because it would go nearly unchallenged.)

Luckily, I live near Portsmouth, NH. While it's not an extremely exciting foodie destination either, it's worlds better than much of the fare outside my front door. I've also met a few fellow foodie friends, and we're talking about starting a private supper club so we can stretch our cooking muscles a bit and enjoy some interesting meals. But I do feel kind of bummed about this. Mostly because, if I'm living in a town, I'd like to support my local businesses here.

In any case, I've been thinking about the food I've had in Dover to date, and thought I'd write up a rundown of the experiences so far. This is, of course, not a comprehensive list. Just some thoughts from the point of view of an outsider just arriving in this strange land. I hope it's interesting for locals, and maybe even helpful for others similarly moving to the area. I may update this, as my husband and I try additional venues.

THE LIST
This is not a comprehensive list; just a list of places we've tried so far. In general, the best food we've encountered in Dover seems to be from the homespun places. Silver Moon Creperie and Harvey's Bakery are terrific. Blue Latitudes and Christopher's? Not so much:

SILVER MOON: As many have mentioned, this is really good. The atmosphere is small but kid-friendly, with an eccentric and eclectic color palette. There's a little bar in front, soda-fountain style, so you can belly up and order right from the mounted stools. Or you can order at the register and find a table. The husband-and-wife team are extremely friendly, and always have a recommendation for you, if you don't know what to have. (I hate going somewhere, and the servers have no opinions or suggestions on the food. That's always a bad sign.) It's not a swanky place, but the crepes are really good, the ingredients are fresh and the service is always pleasant. ++

HARVEY'S BAKERY: A bakery/diner that makes their own ever-changing menu of homemade soups everyday is always aces in my book. Some diners look old and run-down, but this is quaint and charming and has real old-fashioned appeal. It should; it's been around forever. Many of the patrons, even the older ones, have been coming here since they were young. The menu items are decent, but I'm always interested in the creative specials they have going on that day. So far, I haven't had anything there I don't like yet. You can tell the people that run the place care about the food. And I just love that the waitresses are always game to chat, so you just feel like you're at home here. My only gripe is that they're only open for breakfast and lunch. Oh, and they're not open on Sundays. Now what is that all about? I should bring that up next time I go. ++

BLUE LATITUDES: This was probably one of the worst meals I've ever had. I ordered a King Crab Legs special, and for the pleasure of paying close to $30, I had a dry, overcooked entree with very little seasoning at all. My cocktail tasted like it was vodka with some powdered or bottled mix thrown in there. Ick. My husband had a pasta dinner that he managed to choke down, but in all honesty, it wasn't any better than the stuff you get in jarred tomato sauces. He went back there to meet some friends another time, and apparently, the lousy dining experience didn't get any better the second time around. *Sigh* I hear this is the best that Dover has to offer. I just can't believe that this is true. I haven't tried Chop Shop yet, so I'm holding out some hope. On a positive note, the space inside Blue Latitudes is beautiful (it's in a converted brick mill building, with vaulted ceilings), and the decor seems okay, so maybe having beers there might be fine. But I doubt I'll ever eat there again. --

CHRISTOPHER'S THIRD STREET GRILLE: What can I say? The decor is pretty dull and boring, and they don't seem to understand the value of playing background music for dinner service, so the experience felt kind of -- well, kind of spare. But they did get some things right. The french onion soup was good, and their sausage and cheese soup was very tasty. The bad side of that was they messed up our orders, so there were 2 onions soups at first. But no big deal. We got that sorted, and we were enjoying our starters. Then my husband had the pork chop, and that was okay — not fantastic, but edible. I expected more from a restaurant with the word "Grille" in it, but it was perfectly serviceable. I wish I could tell you what I ate, but I simply can't remember. That's a bad sign. The scariest thing is that I really should remember, because it was a very memorable meal — not for the cuisine, but because there was a metal shard in my food. It looked like it came from one of those metal scouring pads. I nearly swallowed it. I might try the restaurant again someday, but I'll make sure I've gotten a health insurance policy by then. -

CARTELLI'S: I have some mixed emotions about this place. The only thing worse than Christopher's no-music approach was suffering bad music. I really enjoyed the food here, but the old-school Italian songs, circa-1965, made it feel really cheesy. I love the standards, don't get me wrong, but how many times can you hear "That's Amore" during the course of a meal? I get it, okay? It's an Italian restaurant. Do you need to hit me over the head with that? Oh, and forget coming here on a Friday or Saturday night. The loud bar scene overtakes the restaurant. I had to yell across the table to my husband, which didn't make for a great night out. On the plus side, I appreciate that they tried to do something creative by having a Sushi bar in there. But it felt weird and misplaced. I love sushi, but I was so NOT in the mood to order it, given the ambience. I think they could've tried to a better job of the whole East-meets-West thing — maybe in the decor or a more integrated fusion menu. As it was, it was a strange, random thing to have in the dining room. +-

ORIENTAL DELIGHT: The place is clean, and the decor features some decent craftsmanship by the architect, so I can see how they are trying to create an interesting and creative environment. Most of the food is good (I didn't care for the Peking dumplings, which are called "raviolis" and had a strange sauce over it), but everything else is enjoyable. The sushi is fresh, the sushi chefs are awesome and friendly, and the service was extremely accommodating. We bemoaned the almost non-existent sake menu, and the next time we came, they had ordered a new one for us. That says a lot, at least for me. I don't usually care for places that lump a bunch of Asian cuisines together, as if they were all one country called "The Orient." (They are separate countries with very, very different flavor profiles, for crying out loud!) But I forgive that, since the tendency seems to be rampant up here in NH. Sadly, however, after a handful of visits, I'm starting to find the menu kind of boring. I just wish they'd experiment with some specials once in a while. So overall, I like Oriental Delight, but I'm itching for more choices. +

FISH SHANTY: If you like fried stuff, this place is great. The breading doesn't feel heavy, the portions are large, the homemade tartar sauce is fantastic (and I don't even like tartar sauce, usually), and Annie can talk your ear off. She's the matriarch of the family-run business, which is right next to the Days Inn. The decor is — well, the charm of the place doesn't really have to do with the visual ambience. It's pretty barebones, with some booths and tables, and a handful of paintings on the walls. But the food is good, reasonably priced and the family that runs the joint are great salt-of-the-earth type of people. +

TASTE OF INDIA: Looks terrible on the outside, like a shabby shack with big Pepsi signage on the side. Inside however, it's cute with a definite try for authentic ethnic charm. The people are kind of shy, but nice and accommodating. (For some reason, my request for an iced chai was met with a raised eyebrow and a shrug, but they gave me what I asked for, no matter how strange it seemed to them.) The Shrimp Masala is nothing short of excellent! I could eat that every week. Spicy, but not too spicy. Sweet, but not clawingly so. I have no idea what the rest of the menu is like, because I am so enchanted with this dish, I keep ordering it. The restaurant doesn't seem to have a lot of patronage, though, and I'm not sure why. I wonder if the very thing I like about them is what is getting in their way: I get the sense that their food is authentic. I'm no expert on India, so I don't know that for sure, but to me, it seems like they're not dumbing down their menu to appeal to a generic tastes. I'm grateful for that. It may not necessarily be fine dining, but it's one of the few places in Dover that I actually crave from time to time. +

LA FESTA: Good pizzas. Really. I come from New York, and I'm telling you these are good pizzas. Now, that's not to say that they're perfect (the first time we ate there, the pie was soggy and kind of watery), but the flavor has always been good. I haven't found a decent mom-and-pop, NY-style slice yet, but as far as brick oven goes, I join the chorus of La Festa fans. And, I need to say, I kind of like the decor. It's a bit funky, at least in front room, and it almost makes me feel like I'm back home in NY. The only nitpicky thing is that, again, there's no music. In the separate dining room, which is a lot barer, I would love to hear some jazzy tunes to keep the energy up. Not that music is always required: For example, when a place offers plenty of interesting people-watching or a gorgeous interior theme, then it's forgivable. But when there's not a lot to look at, the wait for your food can feel kind of excruciating. +

THAI CUISINE RESTAURANT: I've had a couple of good meals here. The decor is cute (maybe even a little overdone, by Dover's standards, but I like it) and the service is always friendly. Things can take a little while when they're busy, but they never get snippy. My gripe with this venue has to do with their Pad Thai. It's the standard by which I judge Thai restaurants. This one has a sort of soupy liquid that goes with it. I find that strange. Is it a regional thing? Does a certain province in Thailand do it that way? I have no clue. But I found it odd, so much so that I could barely eat it. But their spring rolls are good, and I love their artery-clogging Crab Rangoons (which are only usually found in Chinese restaurants in NY). So I don't love this place, but I like it well enough to keep trying its different dishes.

KELLEY'S ROW: This venue is the bane of my existence. I live nearby, and the noise that comes out of there is ridiculous. I don't live far from this bar, and I'm often kept awake by the screaming, drunken patrons. I'm trying to overlook this fact and keep my annoyance at bay long enough to eat here. I haven't managed that yet, but I'll report back if I do.

THE BARLEY PUB: This is not a restaurant. Really, it's a funky beer pub with a couple of sandwiches and cheese plates. But I had a meatloaf sandwich there that was amazing. Just really, truly, spectacular. I can't say enough about it. I've never had a meatloaf in a restaurant that I like, and this was melt-in-your-mouth, bacon-wrapped exercise in deliciousness. It was on special, which means I can't have this all the time. That's both good (for my waistline) and bad (for my palate), but it was one of the finest things I've put in my mouth since I arrived in this town. It might not be fair to judge a venue by one sandwich that was put on temporary special for that one night, but I don't care. It was that good. I'll definitely be trying their other stuff. +++

That's it so far. As you can tell, we've eaten out a lot in the short time we've been here (and I haven't even covered the places we've been to outside the town limits). We're hoping there's some hidden gem we haven't heard of yet, so we can check that out too, but so far — the "low-brow" dining scene far exceeds the "high-brow" dining scene. (I keep harboring some fantasy that I can call Gordon Ramsay in to pull a Kitchen Nightmares-style makeover of one of these "fine dining establishments.") Sad to say, I still haven't found a stilettos-and-makeup worthy spot yet. The few places that are attempting to be a swanky resto, with equally exciting cuisine, leave a lot to be desired.

So there remains plenty of space for a foodie place here. None of these "upscale" spots has gotten it right. I might change my mind once we hit the Chop Shop, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up high. I've heard mixed reviews on this one too, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Thanks for reading.

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  1. Wow, what a report! I’ve posted a number of ‘Dover related’ topics, but this is by far the most extensive. Well, I guess I must welcome you to Dover, God bless, you have just entered a culinary wasteland compared to where you have just come from.

    Your assumption that a decent “foodie” place would do well there due to a lack of competition is not exactly true. There were a few upscale eateries a few years back: Crescent City Bistro (now Rj’s—an odd, hip hop dance club), Dover Soul (now one of many sports bars called Central Wave) and Little Louie’s Fish House (now Dover Wine Shop). The primary reason these former eateries went out is because there wasn’t enough local patronage to keep them alive. The only one to survive is Blue Latitudes (you mentioned) which does an extensive bar business, which comes to my next point:

    Dover is primarily a drinking town. If a restaurant doesn’t have a lively bar scene it already has a big strike against it—just look at the names: “Rj’s Bar and Grill” and “Cartelli’s Bar and Grill” also “Station House Restaurant & Pub” (commonly referred to as the “Station House Pub” or just the “Saloon.”) If you would like a reality check go to Jimmy’s Sports bar or even the Station House on a Friday night, but be sure to position yourself close to the exit and have your running shoes on. Those places are redneck central and you “city types” may not feel exactly welcome.

    Dover, is also a meat and potatoes town with a severe lack of culinary sophistication. Being a former mill town on the border of southern Maine; Dover has never been able to shed it’s hard edged image nor does it seem to wish to. Most of the people that grew up there, commonly referred to as “Old Dover” are adverse to change and obsess nonstop about newcomers, rising property taxes and the town becoming “too much like Portsmouth.” That Portsmouth is too cute and dysfunctional there’s a point to be made, but up until ten years ago a majority of Dover was run down and boarded up with a bunch of homeless drunks wandering around (just drive a few miles up to Rochester or Somersworth to see what Dover used to be like). It’s quite scary.

    So, all this being said--what’s a urbane, transplant foodie to do? Well there do happen to be quite a few young professionals coming to the area that work locally in Portsmouth and as far away as Boston. Dover has recently acquired the New Hampshire Children’s Museum and has an emerging arts scene. So Dover does have hope. It seems fitting that three of my favorite local eateries (and some of yours) are run by expats from NYC: the Pepperland Café (in South Berwick), Silver Moon Creperie and Taste of India. My guess is these places survive due to word of mouth by people we may refer to as “New Dover” although I’ve heard Taste of India just celebrated their 18 year anniversary, so they may be fairly ingrained at this point. There’s also Café Ciabatta in downtown Dover that has excellent pastries and decent sandwiches on homemade bread and the Green Bean Café for homemade soup and sandwiches.

    If you don’t mind driving, Sara Thai (in Dover heading towards Rochester) has excellent food. And Pepperland (noted above) has a wonderful Sunday brunch (try their bloody Mary). Two local eateries in Rollinsford worth noting are the Black Bean Café (on Main Street) and Figtree Café (in the Lower Mill Building of Rollinsford) both have good home-made fare. At last count I think Dover has close to 20 pizza places and all of them are so-so. For pizza I usually go to Portsmouth: Savario’s (odd hours), Flatbread and Joes’s NY Style. Sorry, La Festa is way too inconsistent and I’m tired of being disappointed by their “”only game in town” attitude. We can also discuss places father afield in Kittery and Portsmouth—Shio, a new Japanese place that just opened next to Water Country on Route 1 is excellent and I would rather drive there than eat in Oriental Delight any day of the week.

    I wish you good luck.

    14 Replies
    1. re: bewley

      Hi, bewley. Thanks for the great recommendations. The hubby and I will be sure to check out these suggestions.

      Wow, your response gave me a lot of food for thought.

      As far as Dover being a drinking town, well you really hit the nail on the head. But you know, I've also spoken to lots of people who hate the loud drunken hoards. So maybe there's another set of residents who don't patronize the area because — well, there's not much for them here. As for outsiders and tourists, the rednecks and binge drinkers certainly succeed in putting them off, and that's a shame. By day, many of those same people complain about the lousy economy or job losses, meanwhile at night they scare away people who are willing to spend money here. It's a strange contradiction, and it's kind of sad if that suits some people just fine.

      Having said that, I agree that Dover still has massive potential. (It's one of the reasons we chose this town.) I didn't realize that as little as 10 years ago, this was a wasteland. That's incredible. I wonder what it will be like in the next few years. For now, it’s already a charming place with historical architecture, beautiful walking areas and shops. The Children's Museum being here is a big deal, and the town council is figuring out where to put a parking lot to accommodate visitors. That all bodes well for the Dover renaissance. Plus, like you said, there are more outsiders moving to the area...

      Hmmm. I just re-read that paragraph. Looking at all that, I can see why some Old Dover locals are unnerved. "Too much, too fast" can certainly unsettle people, so no wonder places like Dover Soul or Crescent City Bistro, etc..., didn't survive. (I also wonder how good they really were. Judging by the current foodie standards here, I have little faith that they were done well, be it in cuisine or decor. But that’s just a guess. I have no idea what they were like, so feel free to set me straight.)

      Whatever the case, that was then. Even though it may not have been that long ago, times are still changing. With the successes of Blue Latitudes and Chop Shop (no matter what you think of the food), the way has been paved for more and better restos to come in and succeed by actually doing things right.

      I don’t want to be the judgmental jerk who longs for change if the locals are happy with their current choices. Thing is, even they acknowledge that the food scene stinks (at least the ones I spoke to). When they want a great dining experience, they go to Portsmouth or even Exeter. So, it seems, there is at least some desire here for a decent food experience.

      I figure — Old Dover or New Dover, townie or city folk, foodie or no — everyone's got to eat. It’s the one thing everybody has in common. So it seems odd to me that there could be a town (here or anywhere on planet Earth) that wouldn't welcome fresh, delicious food served in a nice atmosphere. And even if they don’t want it, then maybe there is (or soon will be) enough of a stream of visitors and New Dover people to support something more than just stringy steak tips and bland potatoes.

      I’m reminded of a place in rural Pennsylvania. It’s called Gracie’s 21st Century Cafe, and it’s this funky bit of sophistication set out in the middle of nowhere in Pine Forge, PA. So you drive past all the farms, tractors, etc…, through the tree-lined, unpaved roadways, and all of a sudden, there’s this big sign that tells you something unusual is sitting there. You go in, and the decor is upscale and pleasant, the food is interesting and fresh, and the clientele is savvy and stylish. I have no idea where they come from, considering the working-class area, and yet there they are — sipping cocktails and spending money. You really feel like you’re in a hidden, yet worldly place, and that in itself is kind of intoxicating. And from what I remember, the food was amazing. So impressed with this place, I’ve been talking about Gracie’s for nearly 20 years to anyone who will listen — even though I actually haven’t been there in more than a decade. Now that’s a lasting impression!

      I think Gracie’s is a prime example that an upscale eatery can survive, and actually thrive, even in a town with pretty low food expectations — if it’s done right. So I’m thinking, if Pine Forge can support an excellent restaurant, I can’t see why Dover — with all its potential — couldn’t.

      Okay, I’ve spouted on long enough for one post. But I do love this dialogue. I feel like I learned some things I didn’t know before, and that’s so much appreciated, bewley.

      P.S. An emerging arts scene in Dover? I had no idea. It sounds intriguing. Can you tell me more about it?

      1. re: zaetah

        Well, as far as Crescent City Bistro, that was owned by the current owner of the Orchard Street Chop Shop, nicknamed “Koz.” It had an eclectic rum bar and was quite sophisticated for the town. I’ve heard it was good, but I never actually ate there. He ended up buying the building that contains the Chop Shop and, though you should ask him personally about this, I believe he felt a steak house with upstairs lounge was more suitable for Dover. I can say that I have eaten at the Chop Shop and was not that impressed. I think a few of the chefs from the former CCB went on to open Pepperland (noted above).

        Little Louie’s Fish House and Dover Soul were both co-owned by a Portsmouth restaurateur, Jay McSharry, who has opened the Dunaway, Radici, Jumpin' Jay's Fish Café and the Dos Amigos chain. I’ve eaten at both Dover Soul and the Fish House and can vouch that both were high quality, but the main problem was just a lack of business.

        With regards to Dover’s emerging arts scene, it has a lot of movie “shorts” being filmed in and around town. It also has a lively music scene with a lot of Dover’s bands playing a genre of loud angry metal, folk and drunken Irish. The mills at One Washington Center (near the covered bridge) rents out the Picker Building primarily to artists and budding entrepreneurs (some being food related such as two cookie bakeries, Terra Cotta Pasta, a caterer and there has been a rumor of some sausage guy setting up shop there). You should take a walk around that mill. It’s quite interesting:

        http://www.onewashingtoncenter.com/

        The other--and more established arts scene is in Rollinsford at the Mills at Salmon Falls:

        http://www.millartists.com/

        I look forward to reading more of your local discoveries!

        1. re: bewley

          Bartender at the Barley Pub (Bill I think is his name) said the guy who makes their sausages will be opening a charcuterie shop in One washington in the fall. Sounds great to me, he can count on my business. I do want to try Terra Cotta Pasta as well. Thanks for the great suggestions. Wouldn't have thought to check the municipal building for food (Green Bean cafe), can't wait to try it.

          I can't wait to try the chop shop, and love their lounge upstairs. Bummer the cigar room didn't get grandfathered in with the no smoking ban.

          I did have great martini's at Blue Latitudes (4 actually, there were good), but othewise don't expect much from the food.

          I understand how people feel about change. I lived in Willaimsburg section of Brooklyn for 22 years and saw it go from a ghost town where no one from manhattan would visit to the new east village and a tourist destination in just a couple of years. It made your head spin. Dought that would happen here that fast but what has become clear to me is the old saying, the only thing constant is change.

          I would have loved to live in Portsmouth but it was just too expensive. That's why I lived in Brooklyn vs Manhattan. To me, the area (seacoast) is wonderful and a lot is just a short drive away, and then there's what's within walking distance (or a quick hop in the car). With Dover being on rt 16, having the train station and buses, I think it will slowly change. I see Dover much like Brooklyn (easy train ride to manhattan) close enough and easy enough to get to popular hub communities (like Boston and Portsmouth) that people will move here and a demand for certain types of food will grow. Though brooklyn become gentrafied it kept it's great ethnic roots and is now a wonderful mix of new and old, eclectic and traditional. I see the seeds of the same thing here but at a nice, respectful NE pace and I like it.

          1. re: illbixby

            Folks, sorry for the interruption, but we'd like to ask everyone to get back on track by rating the local chow scene. Discussion of neighborhood gentrification is too far outside the scope of our site's mission, and the discussion of Brooklyn NY is definitely out of bounds for the New England board. Thanks, and let's get back to the chow.

            1. re: illbixby

              Thanks for the restaurant and arts info! It’s always good to know the history behind the scenes. And I‘m looking forward to trying Pepperland. It’s not in Dover, but we have a car and will travel, if need be. (By the way, you mentioned Jumpin’ Jays — So far, it’s my favorite fish place in the area. If I lived closer, I’m sure I’d be there a few times a week!)

              One Washington? I’ll definitely have to check that out, particularly the pasta company. Now that sounds really intriguing. And I can’t wait to see what the new charcuterie place will be like. (I’m a sucker for good charcuterie.)

              As for reviews, well I just got back from The Barn Tavern tonight, and I’ve got a lot to say:

              BARN TAVERN: In a word, upsetting. When a menu and website for a restaurant uses words like "gourmet" and "international specialties and New England favorites with a twist," certain expectations are made. None of those expectations were met, sadly. When a side dish of Mac and Cheese is better than the main fish entree, there's something wrong. My stuffed haddock was dry, overcooked and overspiced. There was pepper butter (for the bread), and pepper on the fish itself and then a heaping load of pepper in the stuffing underneath the fish. I love pepper, but seriously? This was a bit much. As I said, the Mac and Cheese was good, if slightly runny. My husband's dinner was a bit better. He ordered Dover's #1 favorite food — the steak tips — which were only slightly overcooked. They were a little tough and sitting in a small pool of thin liquid that was supposed to be mushroom sauce. Even so, the flavor wasn't terrible. His garlic mashed potatoes at least were very good. The mushroom risotto side dish, however, was more like cooked rice with some mushroom in it. Not bad flavor, but it certainly wasn't risotto.

              I would've laughed it off if this was a $25 dinner at Chillis. But no — We paid $93 for apps, drinks, meal and tip, so we expected more. Way more.

              As we got ready to leave, we were gobsmacked by what our server had in his hand when he dropped off our change: He had a couple of wedges of iceberg lettuce on a plate, drizzled with a little dressing, for another table. My husband and I looked at each other, puzzled. Iceberg has virtually no nutritional value; it's like the Joey Fatone of green, leafy vegetables. At best, it’s used as the casing for certain types of SE Asian fresh rolls. At worst, it’s the garnish at low-end sandwich shops. But Barn Tavern was selling it as an Iceberg Salad. Maybe I’m being too harsh about this, but I can’t help feeling like no self-respecting chef at a “gourmet” restaurant would ever make a dish out of that. It just screamed, “Amateur.” Suddenly, in that moment, our dinners made sense.

              So the meal was not good. On the up side, the white sangria my husband ordered was delicious, and the river view was nice. I also hear that they have jazz combos sometimes for a pretty laidback clientele. So if I want to hear a trio while enjoying some Mac and Cheese, garlic mashed potatoes or a sangria, then I know where to go. But if I’m actually hungry, I’ll probably go elsewhere.

              (By the way, is it me or does it seem that prices at several Dover restaurants are way too high for what ends up on the plate? In some cases, we are seeing Manhattan or San Francisco prices for food that’s… well, no where near the same league. That's just crazy.)

              1. re: zaetah

                The whole Dover dining scene is crazy. There is no direct correlation between the quality of food and high menu prices in the area. It's not that a good portion of the population is frugal or without means, it's that a good portion of the population don't have any idea what quality food is. They don't go to restaurants for a "culinary experience," they go there to be seen as in it's the "place to be" (a certain variation of that theme can be read on menus and websites of many of the downtown businesses) and to get intoxicated.

                Your experience at the Barn Tavern is unfortunate, but fairly standard for the town. The Barn tavern used to be better, but business has dropped off the past year. In response to this, the owner has changed up the menu a bit and made it more interchangeable in that they now let you choose your sides and portion sizes, etc. It has also gone a bit more "exotic" in its offerings, but not in the quality of their actual product. The same things may be said of some other places in town. Talk about high prices? Wait till you try the Chop Shop.

                1. re: bewley

                  Wow, so people go out "to be seen." Interesting. I hear that phrase bandied about in Los Angeles, Manhattan, London, etc..., usually in regards to extremely hot, trendy lounges or hip restaurants. Seeing it applied here is, well, kind of interesting.

                  bewley, you have an amazing knowledge of the local area. You’re background info is extensive, and quite impressive. Did you grow up around here? (And where does your palate come from? I'm guessing not locally.)

                  I get seriously bummed to think that the Jumpin' Jay's restaurateur failed in this town. But even so, I still have hope for Dover’s culinary landscape, long-term at least. The Dover Dines event was an ambitious effort. I also see how the Dover Chamber of Commerce and Main Street organization are trying to further the revitalization of the area and turn this into a destination for tourists, and the local Seacoast Growers Association is trying to promote fresh, local fare.

                  I'm hoping all these efforts will ultimately result in better cuisine and dining options.

                  By the way, the hubbo and I took a stroll through One Washington and wound up buying some Terra Cotta Pasta ravioli to make at home. (Nothing like going to the source!) It was wild mushroom with roasted shallots. Though the texture of the pasta dough was a bit thick for my taste, I still really enjoyed it! The filling was delicious, and it was so easy to prepare. And the 12-yr-old aged balsamic was a real treat. Thanks for the suggestion.

                  I haven't brought myself to try any other restaurants in Dover this week. I'm still trying to get over the Barn Tavern fiasco. But I'm sure we'll venture out again soon. This weekend, though, we'll try a few places in Portsmouth, when we go see the Tall Ships.

                  1. re: zaetah

                    Ah well, consider Dover as a "gem in the rough" that needs a bit more polish.

                    I've lived in and around New England and the Northeast most of my life, but no, I'm not local. I moved to the area for work. My "palate" comes from the fact that I live to eat.

                    I recently heard the owner of the creperie and one of their patrons having a conversation about the local culinary scene and it nearly mirrored this thread. The owner, who's a bit quirky, was quite animated in his POV, but the upshot was they were debating starting a "dining club" for like minded individuals and that Portland was the best local hunting ground for eating out vs Portsmouth. You really should get to know them, they're interesting people.

                    BTW: you should try the Terra Cotta black pepper linguine, good stuff.

          2. re: bewley

            I would personally like to thank all of you for THE most interesting thread on the New England Chowhound site in a really long time! I gained so much information and hope for the seacoast even reading these posts! Very inspirational and promising that there are other foodies that actually live in NH and care about the restaurant scene. All too often the same places are referred by the same people...over and over and over again! Thank you for keeping it fresh!

          3. re: zaetah

            This conversation reminds me of a good restaurant near me (outside of New Haven, CT), that is in a run-down manufacturing community. Very blue collar. The restaurant serves very good food, on par with downtown New Haven, yet it is noisy. There is a good bar crowd. Yes, they often eat, but they also start at the bar and end at the bar. It has been off-putting to me and my SO. I wish this loud, hard-drinking crowd would leave or be discouraged. Also reminds me of Heirloom, in New Haven, that has very upscale, fantastic food and atmosphere, who just started doing "happy hour" specials for the students, which turned a slick place into a bar scene with cheap burgers. Noisy, liquored-up people;not something older foodies enjoy or want to put up with. Drunks don't care about food quality...

            1. re: Scargod

              Yes, these are both very good analogies (but I hope this particular conversation doesn’t put you off too much). ☺

              1. re: bewley

                Nope. It's good for this information to be out here and up for discussion. It's good to know.
                Do they have entertainment in any of these Dover places? In Texas they would put up a chainlink partition so performers wouldn't get hit by flying beer bottles.

                1. re: Scargod

                  Yes, a number of places in Dover have live music.

                  I spoke with a musician once who play at a place called Biddy Mulligan's. As I recall, he played an acoustic set and he did say some people actually threw bottles at him.

                  1. re: bewley

                    Biddy Mulligan's has changed owners, is being renovated and may open this week or next. Got word from gals from the Butlers Pantry at Fiddlehead Farms. Will have new chef and slightly upscale pub food. Menu not confirmed but what I heard sounded good.

        2. I love this topic. I grew up around Boston at the time that Pier 4 was the "in" place, and then moved away to LA and SF for many years. I now live in the seacoast, and the restaurant scene around Exeter, Portsmouth and even Kittery has dramatically improved. However the restaurants in Dover just plain suck. I totally agree that the town would not and cannot support a high quality restaurant; there is a striking lack of culture, and an acceptance of mediocrity in most everything, and not just food. I found the Chop Shop to simply be poor. How hard is it to buy quality meat, serve it with decent sides, and not overcook it?

          My two favorite restaurants in the area are Pesce Blue, which rivals anything in Boston, and Anneke Jans, which has a SF/NYC feel to it, along with great food.

          To open a great restaurant in Dover is doomed. Better to start a bar called "Chuggers" and serve Miller lite with 25 cent wings.

          4 Replies
          1. re: aadesmd

            Hi, aadesmd. I can see your point and, after living here for a little bit, I have to agree that this is probably true for any Dover resto looking to give most residents what they want. There will probably never be a shortage of those types of places here.

            But I don't know if that dooms the food scene here. Like I said, city planners and other groups are trying to turn the town into a real destination, so there might be other eateries in the future that will try to extend their reach beyond local tastes, to tourists, visitors and etc. I realize decent restos have come and gone here before, but in those cases, the timing may not have been right. I hear that there's a 4-color brochure on Dover in the works now, and they're planning on putting it in travel centers, airports, etc to promote tourism here. That's pretty ambitious. I'm praying there will be some visionary out there who will defy the pull of mediocrity and recognize the opportunity to draw in visitors with diverse palates.

            So there's hope for the Dover restaurant scene, however slim it may be. (It's the only thing I have to hold on to!) :-)

            bewley: Thanks for another great tip. Will definitely get to know the Crepes people. And Black Pepper linguine — yum.

            Finally tried Kelley's Row. I'll write up that review as soon as I get a chance. But for now, I'll say this: While definitely not a place to satisfy a foodie craving, it wasn't the unmitigated disaster I thought it would be. I could eat there without fear of food poisoning, which already makes it better than some of the other places I've tried here so far.

            1. re: zaetah

              Hello all.
              I finally had to weigh in. I've been in Dover for the last 10 years and know many of the business owners in this town so time to fill in some gaps and give some long held opinions since we've opened Pandora's box.

              Silver Moon Creperie - These folks are absolute angels. Love this place, loved the place it was before with the amazing greasy white bread toast, and I wasn't sure they could do it - but these folks are absolutely incredible. Love them. Crepes are amazing, they are amazing... it is a gem in the Seacoast. I hope they stay in Dover forever.

              Barley Pub - another absolute gem. Amazing people, amazing place, amazing music. When they added bar food because they had to, and switched things over to non-smoking it made all the difference for me. But it's always been great. Good pub. Limited menu but who cares? Only real reason to go there is for beer and to eat when there and fufill that unbelievable need to nosh on something. Plus who can beat $1 brews in snowstorms?

              RJ's was Mojitos previously... flat out - what the hell? Many of us miss Crescent City Bistro and still wonder what the hell happened there.... on that note....

              Chop Shop - don't bother. Bar upstairs is great for drinks and ambiance. Have had three terrible meals there. Koz - what happened?

              La Festa - Good people. Good pizza. Period. I have never experienced inconsistency as mentioned in an above post. If anyone was unhappy I know 100% had the owner known, he would of bent over backwards to make it better - granted the fact the complaint was reasonable. They do a high volume of business and have also done a lot of local outreach... and they make a damn fine pizza (not to mention cinnamon knots which I am munching on now).

              BLUE LATITUDES - okay, these guys I have a bone to pick with. I have brought tons of my business clients there, tons of my staff there, only to have one of the owners come racing out of the building a few weeks ago screaming at my husband at an early morning hour about not picking up after our dog which
              a. obviously we live downtown and...
              b. by the way he always does clean up after our dog religiously in fact and...
              c. you should be careful at who you scream at ~ it could end up on a blog.
              That aside - I love the ambiance of the place, but you need to know what to order there. Don't deviate once you find it. My opinon - stick to the appetizer menu - the sashimi appetizer is my favorite, the nachos, the crabcakes are also a hit with most I know, and the martinis - since Dover Sol went out of business - they do make the best martini in town. Their option for three appetizers for around $25 can't be beat. Bring friends and absolutely go... just tell them to stop yelling at random people in the park unless they have their facts straight.

              Barn Tavern - again same thing as Blue Latitudes. Find something and stick with it.. Complain if it's taken off the menu - you may see it again. It is lovely to sit on the river to have lunch or dinner. The mixed greens salad with roquefort, steak and fried onions is almost addictive - apparently so because I can barely stand to order anything else. It sounds pretty run of the mill - but somehow I wake up in the middle of the night and have cravings... are they putting drugs in the salad? to be determined...

              Christopher's - Had a dinner there once, know several folks who work there. The dinner was lovely - but the ambiance did nothing for me. If they could change the look a little they could have an amazing business...

              Fish Shanty - absolutely no ambiance, but good basic seafood owned by good people. Kind of a "blue hair" place, but I happen to find that charming.

              Taste of India - excellent. absolutely best place to get Indian Food in the Seacoast or maybe New England. Their Sunday Buffet is an amazing deal. And how much do we all love the anise candies at the end?

              Thai Paradise is well... I'm not a Thai food fan... I have had fairly good Pad Thai there (not soupy as previously mentioned), been there five times in the last two years, it's always been consistent - but let's just say I wouldn't try to "wow" someone there.

              Cartelli's - I really want to love this place and can't. Is it Italian with a dash of heavy metal? Is it Sushi with loud sports games? Is it all of the above? I have dined on both Sushi and Italian there while enjoying heavy metal and sports - which may not seem odd to anyone else in the course of a three hour meal but is to me... Is there something wrong with this picture? Last I checked Japan and Italy are fairly far apart in culinary tastes. I applaud the ideal but just go ?huh? on a regular basis. I want this place to suceed or else simply split into two restaurants. Being able to order tuna sashmi as an appetizer followed by eggplant parmiganno is flat out odd.

              In short - or maybe not really - Dover is trying. There are so many young artists here, so many young families. An upscale restaurant in this area that meets NY standards would be welcome. I fantasize of a wine bar/tapas restaurant opening. Dover is an up and coming community with so much potential. I don't think that Dover Sol and Little Louie's were ahead of their time. No offense to Jay and Lou, but the two venues (which in the mind of the public were inherently joined at the hip), changed what they were doing on a biweekly basis (they were a coffee shop that offered breakfast, then they weren't - the hours constantly changed) - as residents we never knew what to expect. I thought they were the best thing that ever happened to Dover, I was so bummed when they closed. So many of us were. Adelle's has provided a new answer to the coffee shop dilemma, but nothing has replaced Little Louie's. The restaurant that replaced it has become a sports place, which is fine, but how many sports bars do we need? The problem in Dover is (in my not so humble opinon) that restaurants open with all the best intentions and little to no marketing budget. Which is what they need to focus on more than anything else. Many of us are looking for "the place" to go, it needs to be downtown, and just tell us why we should care and we are there. Dover for as big as it is; is in actuality is very small, locals know where to go, who to support, and why. Live Free or Die right?

              Kelly's Row - seriously, for bar food and being able to sit on the potentially flooding, waterall not bad, I am too bothered by the noise living downtown... but its no worse than I remember manhattan at 2am and it's walking distance to home which is huge. I say give it a try. It is my go to place for guiness and anything fried.

              1. re: imafoodsnob

                I really liked Little Louis's. I too thought it had a chance, given its small size and herculean efforts by the owners, but I think that the changes, that were rapid fire to be sure, were efforts to stay afloat in a market that bases the quality of a restaurant on the size of its portions or the potency of the drinks, or in the case of the many sports bars, the size of their waitress' cleavage.

                I totally agree that LL has not been replaced, and I don't have much hope that it will, in the near future. How sad.

                1. re: aadesmd

                  I agree that Dover Soul had lost it’s identity being at first a bohemian coffee bar/café that morphed into a martini bar at night then turning itself into a small plates style resto with jazz and so on. If they had stuck to just the coffee bar concept it may have had a chance, but the locals all preferred Café on the Corner because it was a known commodity. That Little Louis’s Fish House and Dover Soul shared the same kitchen and restrooms made it a lead ball on the foot of the other. I don’t think, however, that LL changed their concept at all during their tenure, it was Dover Soul that had a lost identity.

                  Yet, I still think Dover locals were not ready for anything the two establishments had to offer.

                  Another example of a Portsmouth business that misjudged Dover acceptance was Celebrity Sandwich, which last about 5 months before they got in their electric Zip car and hightailed it back to civilization.

          2. Here is my review of Dave's Spicy House in Somersworth.

            This is pretty much the most authentic asian restaurant I've encountered here in the seacoast.; nothing fancy, with members of the Indonesian community hanging out. I was thankful the karaoke was not being used when I went. You can't get more Asian than a simple restaurant with karaoke! Onto the food. I tried the beef rendang and a stir fried noodle dish that tasted like Filipino pancit with thicker noodles. The rendang is cooked in coconut milk and spices and was very very good. It was definitely home made and tasted as good as the rendang made by an Indonesian friend in NY. Great on rice with a little bit of the chili sauce that they provided. It's not spicy, but flavorful. The noodle dish was also excellent with a lot of flavor. Generous amount of veggies and small pieces of chopped meatball? Since I stopped by at the end of the day, I am not 100% sure how long the food had been on the steam table; but you can order from a men

            Surpisingly they had empanada and giant chao siu bao (steamed beef bun) at the front table. They looked filipino. I'll come back some day and try those.

            So I recommend you give this place a try. It brought back happy memories of my trips to Indonesia. I was surprised to see a pork entree, and realized they were Christians.

            1. by the way I tried the raw kibbe at the Lebanese schwarma cum Getty gas station in Somersworth.., it was divine. I only eat raw meat (steak tartare) in Paris, but i decided what the heck, lets try raw lamb. No regrets. It was very tasty, I did not get sick. The stuffed grape leaves were the best I've ever had. Tomorrow i might try the spicy chicken. That place is a diamond in the rough.. who knew a gas station would have such yummy Lebanese food (the cook used to be a chef in Beirut.. not sure if she owned the resto)

              20 Replies
              1. re: minibrings

                I like Dave's Spicy House, yet I'm not a great fan of the Getty Gas station Lebanese. I've been told it depends on the day you go (I think Friday is best) and the rest of the week they just reheat the food in microwaves. It's authentic like you would find in someone's home kitchen, but I honestly didn't think it was that good compared to other Lebanese/Syrian places I've eaten at. That being said, there are NO other Middle Eastern eateries in the area, well, except for Paulie's Pockets in Durham (which is ok). So, anything is better than nothing I guess.

                1. re: bewley

                  I have to respectfully disagree. As minibrings pointed out, Michelle was a bona fide chef with her own restaurant in Beirut. And I think her pedigree is evident. The ingredients are wholesome and good, taste fresh, and most of it (maybe even everything) is handmade. Michelle was generous enough to show me how to make her creamy garlic condiment, which she chops and whips completely by hand. Her gyros and other sandwiches are nothing short of excellent, and the meat pies as well as spinach pies are delicious.

                  Even if Michelle wasn't a chef, but just a darn good cook with homespun recipes, I would certainly count that as authentic. Actually, I'm not sure it gets more authentic than that. And while she does have family recipes, she also had some culinary training, which I think is what separates hers from other crappy gyro places I've tried in the past. In NY, I've frequently had overspiced, overcooked, dried-out, multiply microwaved shawarmas and gyros with old, wilted vegetables and jarred sauces. Michelle's food is in a whole other class. I find it a real treat when herbs and spices aren't ridiculously overdone to disguise bad quality ingredients. This is street food done right.

                  As for her work on Fridays, she mentioned that she does it out in front, so anyone who's interested can watch her in action. Other days, she'll just do it in the back. That might be why some people think she only cooks on Fridays. (I do think that's false. In fact, my husband and I went in on a Thursday, and she pulled some spinach pies fresh out of the oven for us.)

                  As you can tell, I'm pretty enthusiastic about this place. When I eat a $7 shawarma that beats the pants off a $29 entree at Blue Latitudes, I want to give props where it is due. Apparently, I'm not the only one who's impressed. A professor from UNH asked Michelle to get involved with a class or seminar on the geography of food. Again, I think that speaks to the authenticity of her cuisine.

                  I really do hope you give it another chance, bewley. I think the owners deserve it. They are the nicest people who genuinely care about the food they serve, and get excited when people take an interest in it. My husband and I have popped in, and wound up spending an hour with them, learning about their food and their backgrounds.

                  So although it's not technically in Dover, it's close enough that I lump it among my favorites in the area. Go figure — an awesome food experience in a gas station, of all places. I'm tempted to call in Guy Fieri, and have him do a spot for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

                  1. re: zaetah

                    No, I absolutely disagree. I lived and traveled in the Middle East extensively. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco (not the ME, but influenced) and Azerbaijan. That Gulf station couldn't hold a candle to many of the alleys, carts, souks and courtyard grills I've eaten at. Regardless of the places you've eaten at in NYC, this place unfortunately I cannot recommend. My wife says we went there twice, I think once, but that was enough for me. We ate recently at a place in Fairfield, CT called " Layla's Falafel" that would absolutely blow it away in a taste test..

                    http://www.laylasfalafel.com/

                    I'm not trying to put it down, but it’s not professional if she cannot maintain her standards every day.

                    You know, after you've been in Dover for a while you will start to grab at anything that has a personality or a spark of life. You may soon realize that you are beginning to settle for second rate. You will find that when you finally return to Brooklyn or NYC for a visit that you have been living in a culinary and cultural wasteland.

                    Try Dave’s Spicy House, it’s much better . . . and report back!

                    1. re: bewley

                      Well, I certainly can't argue with your experience! Wow, that must be fascinating. (I'm almost afraid to ask you more about your time there, for fear of the Chowhound admins coming down on me for not sticking to a food topic ;-) But hey — maybe you can tell me about it over a beer someday.

                      All I can claim is a short visit to Egypt and Turkey, so I'll have to concede that I'm not an authority on the matter. (Hmmm. I wonder if it's like the difference between authentic Chinese food and General Tso's chicken? While delicious enough for most people, it's not exactly the real stuff.)

                      As for the gas station, I still genuinely liked what I had there, as well as the sweet-natured attitude of the people who run the place. I'm going to relent on the authenticity argument, but as for unprocessed, good-tasting food, I'm sticking to my guns on that one!

                      Dave's Spicy House: Well, I only went there once. Got to say that I wasn't super keen on the one chicken dish I had there. Don't get me wrong. It was good, but it didn't bowl me over. Still, it was just tasty enough that I want to give it another shot before writing that one up.

                      bewley wrote:
                      "You know, after you've been in Dover for a while you will start to grab at anything that has a personality or a spark of life. You may soon realize that you are beginning to settle for second rate. You will find that when you finally return to Brooklyn or NYC for a visit that you have been living in a culinary and cultural wasteland."

                      I have to admit I felt the same way at first. Admittedly, it hasn't been long that I've lived here in the NH seacoast — just a few months, really — but I'm starting to look at things in a different way. In NY, we didn't have lobster pounds — only $30 lobster tails that were shipped in from somewhere else. Real farm-to-table is also hard to come by in that city, though a few places are trying. So overall, I feel it's an okay trade. In exchange for swank restos and hip new chefs' concoctions, I'm getting fresh air, (some) food with heart and a mellower environment that's not so focused on turning tables. I won't pretend the food's just as good or exciting, but in a few cases, the dining experience has actually been better.

                      Cultural wasteland? Maybe. But when I have a jones for museums, ballets or other culture fixes, I can always hit Boston or Portland. In the mean time, I'm enjoying the water, open air and farmlands. It's beautiful country out here.

                      1. re: zaetah

                        I'm truly happy that you have found a good niche for yourself. I shouldn't be so negative. Have you heard of/or tried Zampa in Epping? And how do you like Fiddlehead Farms market in Dover?

                        1. re: bewley

                          I haven't tried Zampa. What kind of food do they serve there?

                          There are quite a few spots I've been meaning to try out in other towns. The Crystal Quail in Barnstead, The Black Bean Cafe in Rollinsford and several Portsmouth places (like Four, Black Trumpet, etc...), among others.

                          Fiddlehead Farms is great. The hubby and I have made friends with the cheesemongers there. A great couple of girls, and actually rather urbane and savvy. I prefer getting fish & veggies when we go to FF, as opposed to the grocery items there (which I think is a bit overpriced for some of the standard stuff). But overall, really love the place. It's nice having an alternative to the big supermarkets. I tried the Dover farmer's market, but there aren't nearly enough vendors, IMO. I hope it gets bigger over time.

                          Speaking of Dover, I've been to The Chop Shop, Kelley's Row and even The Brick House over these past few weeks. I'll try to find some time soon to write those up. One was a really nice surprise, one was kind of mediocre and one was half awesome, half baffling.

                          1. re: zaetah

                            I would really like to read your opinion on these places . . .

                            1. re: bewley

                              So we went to the chop shop finally. Had checked out the reviews to see what to order but mainly rain into distressed posts about steaks not cooked to order (*whispers* they're a steak house by the way).

                              It was a Friday night, there was only one other table with diners, (not good sign) and when we sat down we overheard them send back their steak for not being cooked to order. Oh boy, here we go.

                              I always, always eat meat medium rare (MR), and have eaten at steak houses where they only cook MR (ie Peter Lugar's in Brooklyn). They won't cook any other way (mr is considered in many steak circles as the only proper temp to cook a steak). My point is, you learn to cook steak, you learn to cook MR right. That's how I was taught when I cooked on the line.

                              So I get my steak, it's rare, I mean cold in the middle, uncooked, not pink, raw. The cooked outside section is very thin and hard, was cooked at way to high a temp. I have never sent a steak back before for being under cooked, and if it's over I usually just eat it (you can ask my wife, I don't like to make waves at a restaurant, I just don't send stuff back). But I couldn't eat it, it was just raw.

                              Showed the waiter (who was great by the way) and he agreed, that was extremely rare. In the end, it wasn't that great a steak even when cooked right. and I told the waiter that there is no way I would come back and take the chance of ordering say a $40 porterhouse for fear it wouldn't be cooked properly. It's a steak house, get that part down. Sorry, I can't see why I would return.

                              And yes, the space is nice, though the platitudes for the chef are everywhere and overly self serving. What you did at CIA is in the past, it doesn't cook your steaks properly now. I hear he's a great guy but his personality and likability factor don't make the food taste better. Check the ego at the door and then go in the kitchen and check the calibration on the meat thermonitors.

                              1. re: illbixby

                                This mirrors an an experience I had there with a burger over a year ago. I said I would never return, cause if they couldn't do a burger right (the meat had gone bad), I would never pay the high prices downstairs.

                                This place not only exemplifies Dover, it is typical of high prices and overall crap food. The chef, "Koz," is a local celebrity, though it's a wonder to me how the place stays in business. I've heard they want to start doing "exotic" "big game" meats there . . . can you imagine? Can't even cook a burger or a steak and now wants to cook emu?

                2. re: minibrings

                  Wait wait , You only eat raw meat in Paris and then you decide to eat from a gas station in Somersworth! Wow LOL. That tickles the hell out of me (-:

                  1. re: chefj

                    heh heh, that IS pretty funny.

                    1. re: zaetah

                      I am coming home for a visit in Oct. I will have to check out the gas station! I love stuff like that. Hawaiian gas stations have great sushi and Spam!

                      1. re: chefj

                        If this thread is still alive, please report back on what you think! It seems minibrings and I are both fans, and bewley — well not so much.

                          1. re: chefj

                            ah, i just realized that the lebanese place is in a citgo, not a getty. i moved to somersworth a few months ago, and on the basis of this thread i stopped in at the getty on rte. 9. last week. only fried chicken happening there, and the woman at the counter didn't know of any lebanese in the area. i try and avoid rte. 9/108 like the plague, unless i'm due for a trip to market basket, so i've completely missed out on this place. gonna try it this week.

                          2. re: zaetah

                            Well it was pretty good. I had the sausages and M had the falafel . My sandwich was good but I thought that the falafel was pasty and undercooked. Both could have used fresher pita (lavash) and the tomatoes were pretty bad.
                            I guess this won't sound good but, it is ok for Dover due to its lack of options. I do not think that it would stand up in a more metropolitan area. That said I would eat there again if the mood struck me while in Dover.They were very nice people and I hope they can make a go of it. I told her about the chowhound boards hopefully they can use the criticism to improve.

                            1. re: chefj

                              This is definitely a fair assessment of the Citgo Lebanese place.

                              I'm afraid that zaetah (the op) may have left the area as we haven't heard back from her in a while and I really enjoyed her take on the area.

                              1. re: bewley

                                No zaetah's around (she's my wife), she's been crazy busy with work, but has been drafting some reviews offline to post.

                                1. re: illbixby

                                  Ah, that's wonderful, very good! (I was afraid you went back to NYC.)