Haggis Heaven in Salem, NH
Well, today was the day we visited the newly opened Haggis Heaven on Salem's famous Broadway strip.
The menu is pretty simple, consisting soley of Haggis and Scotch Whiskey.
My kids were disappointed in the lack of appetizers in the menu, nor were there any special pricing for children's portions. However, they do offer the Family Special consisting of four servings of the main dish and accompanying Scotch, so the place does cater to families.
Despite the fact that the place was empty of patrons when we got there, a friendly host named Mac greeted us and immediately asked if we had a reservation. Since we did not, he told us that he liked us and would find us a table, although a $20 charge for not having a reservation would be added to our bill. We were seated at a nice table with four pine chairs.
The decor of the place shows black and white pictures of scenes in Scotland (and they have a television showing videos of highlights from a recent Highland Games tournament), as well as other prominent Scotch paraphernalia, especially kilts and Scotch tape. Poems by Robert Burns can also be found on the walls. They also have live entertainment, as the chef and wait staff take turns crooning the patrons with their virtuosity on the bagpipes and accordion.
My oldest daughter asked our waiter what exactly haggis was. His answer was, and I quote, "Ah. I dinna think you'd a-like to find that out quite yet, my fair lassie!" From my knowledge of the dish, I think the waiter's suggestion was apropos.
We ordered the family special, despite the kids' complaints about the lack of Buffalo wings, and the dishes came out quite promptly. I was a bit taken aback at the fact that they served Scotch Whiskey to everybody, including my underage daughter. ("The Scotch is necessary," the waiter informed my when I raised my concern. "It helps anesthetize the stomach before you take that first bite.")
As to the quality of the food, I must state for the record that it was the best haggis that I've ever had. That is almost certainly due to the fact that I never had the dish before (or since). My wife and kids seemed to agree to my assessment, although they tended to use more colorful adjectives that the censors on this site would prefer me to avoid.
Would I return? I'm not sure. I tried calling the restaurant to get a reservation (to avoid the surcharge), but was told they are fully booked through August, 2012, but they could put me on "standby" in case a reservation becomes available before that for a minor $10 fee.
If you feel a hankering for some good, old fashioned haggis, along with a few shots of pretty potent Scotch to help steel your nerves, you may wish to give Haggis Heaven a try. It's just over the Massachusetts border on Salem's famous Broadway strip, nestled between the Shalleigh Sheep Shoppe and MacPherson's Stomach Pump and Dairy.