XO on Elm St.
Upon arriving for a late night bite and glass of wine (late night for Manchester--8:30), we were asked outside the restaurant if we wanted a table by proprietor #1. We said we were waiting for friends and would like to wait at the bar. There were no seats, but we didn't mind standing. That's when proprietor #2 also asked if we wanted a table. We explained again. He assured us there would be a seat at the bar soon. Nice. He took our drink order. That's when proprietor #1 had followed us in and almost insisted we get a table for ourselves and our friends. Now I felt badgered. I explained to her AGAIN how we were expecting company and preferred to wait at the bar. I didn't know how many of my friends were showing up, but do I really need to get into this in order to enjoy a glass of wine?
Seats opened up shortly, and the bartender gave us menus. I thought this was a tapas bar, but there were only four items under the tapas label.
Soon after, our friends came in, and gathered around us at the bar. Now, close to 9 PM, the place was slowing down. More seats became available and diners were leaving. However, my friends couldn't get a drink. The bartender, when around, just flitted by and then disappeared. Proprietor #2 hugged my friend, but then was gone. Finally, 20 minutes later, the bartender took their drink order and our food order.
The food didn't take too long. My mussels steamed with beer and sautéed with Chorizo sausage for $9 were excellent. Unfortunately about a third of them did not open and my bread for mopping sauce was burned on one side. When I showed the bartender, she took the entire appetizer off the bill. I thought that was more than generous.
My friend's dates stuffed with Chorizo and cream cheese filling wrapped with crispy pancetta were outstanding. I could have eaten a plateful, but getting three of them for $7 is not enough value for me.
Another friend ordered the Middle Eastern Taster for $12. It came as cute little bowls of hummus, cucumber taziki, tabouli, and olive tapenade. It was all delicious, but the grilled Naan bread was also burned.
This is a beautiful restaurant, but I did not have a good experience. I will try it again, but not for a while.