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Sugar Hill NH--recs?

  • whs Aug 13, 2010 03:29 PM
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We're staying at the Sugar Hill Inn next weekend--have dinner reservations at the restaurant, any feedback? Also, aside from Polly's Pancake House, any other recs in the immediate area for lunch?

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  1. I have eaten there twice and loved it!

    1. The Sugar Hill Inn is the best fine dining in the area. Great 5 course pre frixe menu with amuse bouche but wine list was a little sparse last time we ate there. Polly"s Pancake Parlor is a must. Wendles in Franconia would be a lunch option. I would avoid The Dutch Treat and The Sunset Hill Inn.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phideaux

        Thanks Shooley and Phideaux--we'll report back.

      2. I've eaten at Polly's once. I love the idea of getting three or four types of pancakes in multiple servings, but I generally consider their prices too high for what you get. It's basically a tourist trap.

        3 Replies
        1. re: bewley

          But with a great view! And the cool red horse out front.

          1. re: bewley

            Yeah, I actually really like Polly's, but the prices are indeed high.

            Like Phideaux says, avoid Dutch Treat.

            1. re: kaszeta

              And the other thing I don't like about Polly's is that the waitress's cook the pancakes. It's not the most hygienic arrangement. (But yes, the view is wonderful and they do have that creepy wooden red horse out front.)

          2. Sunset Hill House just up the street is outstanding.

            1. Some quick feedback: dinners at Sugar Hill Inn were superb--Val, the chef, is self-taught, and elevates his cooking with inventive and counter-intuitive combinations. The pasta and clams featured a bolognese sauce on a little swirl of homemade pasta, topped with cherrystone clams--wow. His caesar salad comes in a parmesan tuile. The salmon poached in EVOO melted on the tongue. This was extraordinary cuisine, better than a lot of Boston or New York destinations. Pancakes for lunch at Polly's was fun--the secret is to call an hour ahead so your wait is minimal; we were seated within 2 minutes. Lunch at Cold Mountain in Bethlehem was OK--service dragged but the sandwiches and chowder were tasty.

              Can't stress enough how amazing the cuisine at Sugar Hill Inn is--the owner Steve has set a new standard for dining above the Notch!

              -----
              Cold Mountain Cafe
              2015 Main St, Bethlehem, NH 03574

              2 Replies
              1. re: whs

                whs, I'll be staying at Bishop Farm soon, and DGF and I decided to do dinner one night at Sugar Hill Inn. We considered dinner options among Ammonoosuc Inn and Sunset Hill House, but your recommendation for Sugar Hill Inn made my decision process a bit easier. I just told her: "But whs said....."

                I'll let you know how we like it - thanks for the suggestion!

                1. re: Dave B

                  Hope you like it!

              2. We've had outstanding dinners at the Beal House in Littleton.
                First-class service and some very interesting foods.
                We think this is the best place,outside of where you are staying,to eat.
                Also the hash at the Littleton Diner,in Littleton is not to be missed.
                It's made fresh everyday and many go to the diner just for this outstanding hash.
                Baliwick's in Littleton is another good choice that we frequent on our annual trip to the area.
                Good eating!

                8 Replies
                1. re: catnip

                  Thanks, Catnip, for the suggestion of the hash at Littleton Diner.

                  Are you able to describe the hash? I am assuming you refer to a corned-beef hash, as in a breakfast/brunch dish?

                  1. re: Dave B

                    They cook the hash a day ahead Dave and they roast the hash in all kind of spices.
                    When I asked how the hash was made,and yes,it is corned beef hash with the leanest corned beef I've ever tasted,they told me that it's a "secret recipie".
                    Guess they didn't want me to make the hash at home(LOL) and not come up there for the hash.
                    We usually take around 5 lbs. of the hash home with us each year to enjoy a few times at home.
                    Sorry I can't give you more information.
                    Give it a try and let me know what you think.
                    We've met people from all over New England who stop there just for the hash.
                    I wish I could tell you more about their other meals but we just eat hash and eggs when we go there----and we've been doing this for decades.
                    Perhaps someone else here can give you am more complete rundown on their other foods.
                    I can say ,from what I've seen them serving to other patrons,that the portions are huge.
                    There is another diner across the street and by the theatre called the Coffee Pot that we've gone to also.
                    Again,huge portions and a good breakfast,but we thought the coffee was lousy.
                    This is just our opinion however.
                    We ate at the Mt. Washington Hotel two years ago also but it wasn't that good.
                    A lot of portion control but the place is beautful and elegant.

                    -----
                    Coffee Pot
                    30 Main St, Littleton, NH 03561

                    1. re: catnip

                      Catnip, that hash sounds wonderful. I regretfully report I returned today and didn't see the details you provided in time - so I wasn't able to make it a priority as I should have and therefore missed the Littleton Dinner. It will have to wait 'till my next visit north. But I WILL BE BACK (said with Arnold voice).

                      This gives me chance to a do a mini food-report here mixed with Franconia area activities, before I comment on our Sugar Hill Inn dinner experience for whs. I owe it to him after steering me toward Sugar Hill Inn for dinner.

                      OK - quick wrap-up of a weekend in and around Franconia Notch..... On the way up we stopped in Lincoln for the Alpine Adventures Zip Line tree tops tour. I give this my highest recommendation for anyone visiting the area. DGF doesn't like heights, but she wanted to challenge herself with it. I had a blast, and am sure all but the most height and adventure-adverse people would as well. An amazingly well-organized and safe experience for a little thrill-seeking while in the area. I was an instructor for a climbing ropes course at one time and was completely awed by what the Alpine Adventures people have put together with their zip-line course over 300 acres in Lincoln. Very impressive, and incredibly well-organized.

                      Later at Bishop Farm B&B in Lisbon, we stayed in for the night in one of their cottages. Made a fire and grilled bell peppers, and asparagus I had marinated in olive oil and garlic. Grilled natural casing hot dogs, then smores for desert. We needed our calories as we had an active day ahead of us.

                      The next day we went for a run - me 4 mi and DGF 9 mi, then to Wendle's in Franconia for brunch and to get some sandwiches-to-go for a hike up Cannon Mtn in the afternoon. Wendel's was packed so it took a while to get our food, but it was worth the wait. A funky, crunchy place, with lots of sandwich choices, almost infinitely so. You place your order at the counter and pick up your food when called. It is obvious you clear you own table as there is a big station with large signs indicating where to put your dirty plates, trash and recyclables, so I was disappointed to see a table of 4 leave a big mess on their table when they left, with nary a dollar among the refuse to make up for it. After an egg sandwich with thin-sliced ham, and two eggs over easy with toast, and we were ready to go.

                      We set off up Cannon on the Kinsman trail from the Cannon tram parking lot, with plans to eat our sandwiches at the top. (A little over 2000' elevation gain from the base.) We thought we might get to the top in time to take the tram down since we had already run that morning, but just missed the last tram at 4 pm, so we had to hike back down. I was a little anxious about the time of day and the dropping temperature at the top, so I wasn't in the mood to sit and enjoy our Wendle's sandwiches then. I have some climbing and back-country experience, including climbs on Cannon cliffs (Whitney-Gilman and Moby Grape, as well as the easy Lake View which finishes on what was the Old Man's right ear), so I really didn't want to push our luck trying to flirt with the remaining day light. These mountains are NOT to be underestimated if you don't have enough gear to ride out the night.

                      Back to Bishop Farm for a shower before an 8pm dinner at Sugar Hill Inn. I'll post separately about that in this thread so I can give it proper attention.

                      The next morning we made it to Polly's Pancake Parlor around 11am. Thanks again, to whs for the call-ahead idea. The place was jamming, but we were seated after only a couple of minutes. DGF had a six pancake sampler, and I had a 3 pancake assortment with eggs and bacon. The pancakes were very good, and I particularly liked the corn meal pancakes. If I find myself at Polly's again I would get a large order of just the cornmeal cakes. The bacon that came with my eggs was wonderfully smoked. I should have asked what kind it was, as it was better than any regular supermarket bacon. Some have knocked the prices at Polly's, and yes it's obviously a tourist trap sort of place, but the food was very good so I have no complaints.

                      Heading homeward south, we did the hike through Flume Gorge. Worth a visit if you've never been there, and an easy hike/walk virtually anyone could do. After the Flume Gorge hike we found a picnic table to sit and finally have our sandwiches from Wendle's from the day before! DGF's was smoked turkey and I-don't-remember what else, and mine was corned beef in lavash bread with smoked gouda, tomatoes, onion and mayo. Foil-wrapped pickle and small bag of chips included, it was perfect. And I always travel with a bottle of Tabasco for such occasions. For day-old sandwiches, they were darned good! But perhaps with all the calories we had been burning anything would have been. I'm glad I know where Wendle's is now, and would certainly stop there again.

                      And I will get to dinner at Sugar Hill Inn later........ I'm tired.

                      1. re: Dave B

                        We stumbled upon Wendle's on the way back to Boston from Quebec City. It was a great spot to stop for lunch. I had a really good curried egg salad sandwich with roasted red peppers and a hot chocolate that they made with frothed milk (like a cappuccino). Everyone else's sandwich's were fine but nothing special. My hot chocolate was so good that my friend ordered one for the road. Unfortunately, their technique for making it is not uniform and her's was practically undrinkable there was so much chocolate syrup in it.

                        1. re: Dave B

                          Great report Dave B! I think the bacon is North Country Smokehouse bacon from Claremont NH.

                          1. re: whs

                            The best bacon I've had in years comes from the Brick Store in Bath,New Hampshire.
                            I'm a smoked bacon lover and this bacon is so mild and flavorrful that it melts in your mouth.
                            I believe it's apple-smoked which may acount for the mildness.
                            Thye have their own smokehouse on premesis.
                            We always bring back a half-cooler of this great bacon to use over the Winter.
                            if you get up to Bath,a bit West of Littleton give this a try.

                            1. re: catnip

                              OK..... finally getting around to comment on our dinner at Sugar Hill Inn.

                              I'll cut-to-the-chase and state that it was one of the better dining experience I've had in quite a while. There is something calm and stately in the atmosphere when you enter the B&B/Inn, and it carries through into the dining room. We were about 20 minutes early for our reservation - we were greeted and told that it would be about, well, 20 minutes until our table was ready. The small lounge was a cozy, comfortable place to wait and have a pre-dinner drink. As a beer appreciator, after an active day I would have enjoyed a wider selection and hoped for a couple of good draft options, but among their limited bottled options I found something to suit me.

                              I am searching for an apt way to describe the dining room - perhaps whs can assist. I'll say that it felt somewhat like a tea room, but not in an excessively stuffy way, as I mean it as a compliment toward the classiness the dining room conveys. When we go to any restaurant we absorb the decor, the 'vibe,' the essence...of the environment, and whether we make mental notice of it or not, the feeling we get as we walk in and are seated stays with us and lends toward our overall experience. Upholstered high-back chairs and generously-sized tables made for a very comfortable place to sit and dine. I can't quite put my finger on it - it just doesn't feel like a restaurant in the typical sense. There isn't the usual hustle and noise, and it somehow feels non-commercial. A very, very relaxing and pleasant environment. I felt myself trying to keep my voice down so as to fit in with the calm atmosphere.

                              The prix fixe menu was just the right size - lots of options, but not so many to make the menu decision process a chore. Billed as a four course dinner, if you include the amuse-bouche, it is really a five course dinner, priced at $55 pp. There doesn't appear to be any other dining options..... it's the prix fixe menu in the evening, and the prix fixe menu only. Fine with me.... it's the prefect way to have a nice dinner.

                              This evening's amuse-bouche was steelhead trout atop a bed of wild mushrooms. From the menu categories 'Beginnings,' 'Salads' and 'Entrees,' we had from two options to choose (salads), or as many as five (Beginnings and Entrees). Deserts with four choices was a separate menu, presented after the other courses were finished.

                              The menu was creative, without trying to be over-the-top for the sake of faux attention. 'Beginnings' offered; Trio of Soups, Beet Ravioli (Vermont goat cheese, oranges, apples and mint, pistachio pesto), Mushroom Risotto, Surf and Turf (beef short rib and sauteed fish cake, natural reduction and crispy onion), and Cheese and Pears (Saga blue cheese, red wine poached Bosc pears, crostini and spiced walnuts).

                              The salad choices were a special Caesar salad in a Parmesan cup (I think what whs may have had?) and a Walker Hill Farm heirloom tomato salad.

                              'Entrees' included Slow braised Veal Osso Bucco "Gremolata," (with buckwheat spaetzle, Swiss chard, baby beets and carrots), EVOO Poached Monkfish, Roasted Loin of Australian Lamb (wild mushrooms and vegetable farce, maple mustard demi-glace, Berny potato, acorn squash puree and broccoli rabe), Horseradish Crusted Filet of Beef Tenderloin Maitre' De, and last but not least, Truffled Mac and Cheese.

                              My dining companion and I each ordered different dishes so we could sample each other's, and we each loved every bite throughout the dinner. For my appetizer I had the Surf and Turf, and the beef short rib (off the bone) was perhaps the most tender, rich and delicious piece of meat I had ever eaten. Out of this world - I would have been in heaven to make the rest of my meal this item only! DGF had the Trio of Soups, and I tried each one. All were thick, rich, hearty soups. For my entree I ordered the EVOO Poached Monkfish (with crushed fingerling potatoes, ragout of corn, leek and fennel, white wine chive sauce, and preserved lemon.) Outstanding. The fish was very flavorful and done perfectly, and I enjoyed every bite of the accompaniments.

                              I will give it a 9 out of 10 overall, weighing heavily on the food preparation, quality, freshness and imagination for that 9 rating. The pace of service was just right - attentive without being overbearing. Bottom line, other than our server not being completely familiar (yet, I presume) with some of the terminologies of food and fine-dining, I will repeat, one of the better dining experiences I've had. Highly recommended for a more formal dining experience. I don't give out a 9 very easily on my personal grading scale, and this little treasure in the NH White Mountains definitely earned it. Thanks again for the idea, whs. The Sugar Hill Inn was a wonderful part of our weekend.

                              1. re: Dave B

                                Glad you had a good experience Dave B--we enjoyed it so much we're thinking of going back sometime after leaf-peeping season just for a night.