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Matt Provencher has left Richard's Bistro

Today's Hippo Press reports that "On Saturday, March 5, executive chef Matt Provencher worked his last shift in the kitchen of Richard's Bistro...Provencher says his decision to leave was sparked by his desire to spend more time with his family...Provencher said his next career move will likely be to join the kitchen staff of a different area restaurant...Richard's Bistro owner Richard Vareschi...said he will be calling the shots at the restaurant now and his "very talented and hard-working prep cook" will have a bigger presence in the kitchen...

I thought that Richard's was the best restaurant in Manchester and that Matt elevated the cooking there to an even higher level than Richard had achieved.

Matt - you will be missed; best of luck in the future and enjoy your family!

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Richard's Bistro
36 Lowell St Ste 1, Manchester, NH 03101

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  1. wow, I too love Richards and wish Matt the best. I'm sure he will do well wherever he goes and the same is true for richard - he's been a successful restaurant for many years back even in his beginnings in methuen or lawrence (? My dad always reminds me), he obviously knows his stuff and picks great people to move him forward and shine. It's a hard business w/ a family, there are no do overs w/ kids so I applaude Matt for his decision.

    1. I'm really surprised Matt left--he just had the restaurant redecorated, and was putting his personal stamp on the menu. There must be a back-story.

      4 Replies
      1. re: whs

        I agree with you 100% WHS - seems kinda fishy that he's leaving his restaurant job to spend more time with his family ...... then turns around to say he's going to work at another restaurant. And, I thought he bought Richard out a while back - that's why he redid the restaurant & menu. Good luck to them both - hope it's not something serious.

          1. re: whs

            I asked on a recent visit and was shut down cold.. But it is not the same without Matt. I ordered the Baked Stuffed Lobster ($35 served with 5 pieces of asparagus) as well as my dining companion and we were both so disappointed. There was ONE scallop, ONE shrimp, and ONE claw mixed in with very dry cracker stuffing inside barely one pound lobster shells. We didn't complain but we will NEVER order it again. The bread basket is still amazing, and maybe the other menu options will be as spectacular as ever...but this item is on my "never again at that price" list.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper

              I just heard that Matt has purchased a storefront on Elm St in Manchester and plans to open his own restaurant.

      2. Thanks for this post. I have been looking for a restaurant in Manchester and just finished reading a long post about Richard's Bistro. I was all set to go... then I linked over to this thread. :-(

        Where do you go now, since Richard's Bistro doesn't sound like it's worth going without Matt? Looking for something super foodie. Thanks!

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        Richard's Bistro
        36 Lowell St Ste 1, Manchester, NH 03101

        7 Replies
        1. re: travelames

          It's frustrating because there isn't another place that combines Richard's intimate, clubby atmosphere with Matt's cooking. We love Republic, and I would say the cooking is as good as anything we ate in San Francisco recently. It's definitely NOT a fine dining experience, more of an "urban kitchen" feel. Z Food and Drink recently expanded, and I'm embarrassed to say we have not been back, considering it was on our rotation for a long time. We wore out the limited menu, but if you go, have the lobster risotto, one of the most decadent things I've ever eaten. Though it has haters on this board, the Bedford Village Inn has always been a destination for high-end, gourmet food in a slightly formal (for NH) setting. The wine list is impressive.

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          Bedford Village Inn
          2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, NH 03110

          1. re: travelames

            It is still very good, but avoid the baked stuffed lobster, not worth the money anymore. The specials are usually the best bet. Richard himself is an astounding chef and I am sure his recipes are still being followed to the letter. I still plan on going to Richards on a regular basis as I always have, but I stick to my favorites.... the Haddock or Lamb.

            1. re: travelames

              Richard's was worth going to before Matt ever worked there. My wife and I actually liked it better before he was the chef and can't wait to go back.

              1. re: jread23

                whs, gryphonskeeper, jread23... thank you all for the quick reply. We'll give Ricard's Bistro a try! Just made a reservation for tomorrow night. I will post how it goes... thanks again.

                1. re: travelames

                  You'll enjoy it--the bread basket is legendary, and the staff is wonderful. Looking forward to your report.

                  1. re: whs

                    Sorry for the delay in reporting back... @whs, you were absolutely right, the bread basket was wonderful. They started with a spoonful of crab salad, which was a bit disappointing... rather bland. Their caesar salad with polenta croutons was creative... really enjoyed the polenta croutons. For my entree, I had the haddock as suggested by gryphonskeeper... it was wonderful. The flavors were fresh and clean, but not distinct. The risotto was cooked to perfection. I would definitely order it again.

                    The rest of the table had the salmon and scallops, and they seem to have enjoyed their meals. For dessert, Richard's Bistro offers a mini version of dessert... $3 vs. the full-size $9 version. It was just the right amount. I would definitely go back to Richard's if I was in the Manchester area... not sure that I would drive more than an hour out of the way for it though.

                    The service was great. The people were very friendly, and since we hadn't seen our friends in a while, we were taking our time chatting... they did not rush us in any way.

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                    Richard's Bistro
                    36 Lowell St Ste 1, Manchester, NH 03101

                    1. re: travelames

                      I'm happy that you enjoyed it. Thanks for replying back, so few do.