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Upper Valley VT/NH Roundup...Hanover, Norwich, Lebanon et al

Upper Valley hounds...lets pool our knowledge on what's going on. Granted the pickings are slim...but there is some good stuff out there!

I have finally found good Chinese food...and it is, I kid you not, in a gas station in Lebanon. no joke. Ask for the authentic menu and ignore the regular one. Tell them you want to know whatever is on special...I have gotten some great ginger and scallion shrimp and very tasty veg dishes.

Robert Irvine was at Gusanozs for Restaurant Impossible! They have a new menu and I hear it is actually good! But I have not yet tried it. Anyone venture that way yet?

Another new place I have been hearing good stuff about is Taj e India...a Hakka Chinese/Indian place in WRJ near the Bowling alley. I hear good things and since I don't love Jewel of India I'm excited for a new option.

New grocery in Lebanon...Hannafords...I find to be pretty average. The Coop is better for specialty stuff, and Price Chopper beats their prices for staples.

In the JCP plaza there is a Mexixan place that is a step up from Taco Bell and a step down from Boloco, called Moes. My ten year old son and his friends love it...and it's a quick option if you are on 12a shopping. Basic tacos, burritos, etc.

The Hanover farmers market returns to the green next Wednesday for the season...lots of good vendors again this year and I'm looking forward to it.

Chime in! Any other hits, misses or notables?

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  1. I keep getting mixed reviews on Taj e India. Several of the Indian people I know don't like it, but several others do.

    Random place that I enjoyed recently that appears not to be on most people's radar is Limerick Irish Eatery in Quechee. I've had two decent breakfasts there.

    Another random place I'll mention is Cantore's Pizza. The pizza is good, but the real catch is the $5 burger and fries special, which is actually a really good burger and fries for the price.

    1. Oh, good info on original post, thanks! Gas station Chinese? It just has to be good! I must try.

      Don't forget about Yama in W. Lebanon for Korean, there is also a branch in Hanover too I believe.

      2 Replies
      1. re: starvinginNH

        I must try the gas station Chinese now. Been doing Yamas for years and have found it to always be a nice experience..

        1. re: starvinginNH

          Oh...we LOVE Yama. Eat ther prob 3 times a month.and they are VERY kid friendly.

        2. So far I haven't found much that's consistently good but would recommend places for specific items - for example, I don't think Molly's is very good, but their black bean burger is great. I would also recommend the black bean nachos at Salt Hill.

          Morano Gelato is fantastic.

          I posted recently about Salubre, which was not bad and a nice option to have for non-red sauce Italian. I'm eager to try more of their menu, which I think changes seasonally.

          I've generally been disappointed with Canoe Club and the pub at the Norwich Inn.

          1 Reply
          1. re: julesc

            I like Salubre and think their small plates and bar are great for light fare.

            We have a street cart! StrEats is located across from Listen and next to Stateliness Sports. do far I have had a tasty fish taco and look forward to sampling more.

          2. We've had several enjoyable, casual meals at Colatina Exit up in Bradford. It's been 2-3 years since we've been, so I wonder how folks feel about it now....

            1. Gas station chinese is the best! Have eaten there many times. I only discovered it about two years ago through a Chinese friend, when I was still at Dartmouth College. I haven't been a student at the college for a year now, but visit the school during every term for the big party weekends, and make a trip to gas station chinese every time. No visit back to Dartmouth is complete without it.

              Favorites are the black pepper squid, spicy chicken, and singapore rice noodle, although the last can be a little bland sometimes (when this happens I usually just add sriracha from one of the many bottles sitting out on the nearby tables). I've tried a few other dishes I really like, but can't remember which ones they were...but I highly recommend!

              Also, I've heard really good things about Stella's (Italian food) in Lyme from a couple of different people, but have never been there myself.

              1. Grantham Cafe off of Exit 13 on 89. New place with good local sourced food. Also has a brick wood fired pizza oven. Worth the short trip down 89 and a nice place to support.

                  1. re: Brian03777

                    I visited for brunch this summer, and the food was delicious and well-presented but quite pricey. I'd like to hit it up again for dinner, though.

                  2. Does the Oriental Wok have tables or is it just sit down? Our favorite Asian in the upper valley is Yama. The Orient in Hanover isn't bad for Chinese, but not as good as the old Panda. Another gem for Asian is the Angkor Wat in Woodstock. It's a real mom and pop kind of place, but the food is quite good AND it's a BYOB - the only one I know of in the area.
                    Too bad there isn't a good Thai place in the area, the one in Hanover is pretty mediocre. The best Thai close by is the Thai Bamboo in Brattleboro.
                    I see that the Chinese place in West Leb (Tea Room?) has already closed down - no surprise.
                    Whatever happened to the Turkish place that was supposed to open in old West Leb?
                    I'd love to see a byob Greek Brochette place (like the ones in Montreal) open around here. I think it would do very well.
                    We still never tire of Three Tomatoes. They now have a huge awning for outside dining. Across the plaza Salt Hill also has setup some outside tables.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: zootsi

                      Oriental Wok Express has two booths there, but it's primarily takeout.

                      Regarding Thai food: Royal Orchid in Montpelier is actually pretty good.

                      1. re: kaszeta

                        Well, yeah, but Montpelier is not in the Upper Valley. :)

                      2. re: zootsi

                        Yes you need to takeoy at OW.

                        there are some lovely picnic table at the dam on Hanover.Lebanon line

                      3. Just to add a few more notes...with no students for a few more weeks there are no lines anywhere!

                        We're getting a 5 Guys! Yup, opening soon at the Kohls plaza in West Leb. My kids and I are psyched.

                        3 Guys BBQ continues to be mediocre, consistency wise...and it's not cheap. If they could get it together for a consistent experience this would be a great casual addition.

                        Wicked Awesome BBQ is much better, especially for the price! If you haven't been, it's a BBQ stand and smoker in thetford, right across the Lyme bridge. Only open a few days a week, but good stuff. Now that it's cold they have chowder too.

                        Soft shell lobsters continue to be 4.99/lb and sometimes 3.99 at Hannafords.

                        Happy holidays...and add your ideas here!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: madisoneats

                          My sources have 5G's opening on Wednesday. I'm of mixed minds on them; I loved 5G's back when they had two locations in the Arlington, VA area, but have found them to be wildly inconsistent as the chain continues to exponentially expand. But then again, we can use another burger joint (I love the new Worthy Burger in SoRo, but more for their beer list than the burgers).

                          Enjoyed the complete lack of Dartmouth students so I could go to Lou's without a wait.

                          Anyone here run across Himitsu Sushi? They've been running a "pop up" sushi operation running out of various VT establishments, but the closest I've seen them come to the UV is Montpelier, which is a bit of a haul.

                          1. re: kaszeta

                            And I can confirm that 5G opened today, since I went there for "second lunch".

                            1. re: kaszeta

                              I've been to Himitsu Sushi several times, and it's worth the schlep -- though Montpelier is about to gain a dedicated sushi place within the next week or so. Montpelier is such a great food town and totally worth the hour drive (though I need to drive through several times a week, so I suppose it seems close to me). Three Penny, Salt, Kismet....and now gelato. It's all good.

                          2. My husband and I love Miriam's in Windsor. Husband and wife team and the husband cooks African (via Tanzania) food. Delicious! They also have a nice vegetarian selection and some blander fare as well - steak sandwiches, etc. I prefer the curries and the African menu.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bri

                              I love Mariam's, too. I have trouble convincing peeps to go there because of the atmosphere, but the curries and breads are so so good. Windsor is about to gain a new place, too: Redhead Bistro. Was supposed to open in mid-December but it looks like it's been delayed.

                            2. Can some one elaborate on the Chinese gas station food? There's no address in this thread, and the link in the original post is dead.

                              Is it still there? If it is, what is the location?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: giantmouth

                                Gas Station Chinese is actually Oriental Wok Express (and is referred to upthread as such). I suppose what you call it depends on where or who you learned about it from.


                                address is in link above, but if you can't click it's

                                97 North Main Street West Lebanon, NH 03784‎
                                (603) 298-5588

                                If you look it up on Yelp or something, I would say most of the bad reviews are from the people who ate food from the steam table. There is a small steam table with typical Chinese-American dishes when you go in, but I would not recommend getting those. When people say Gas Station is good, they are talking about the Chinese menu, which is the laminated handwritten menu on the counter by the cash register. All the menu items are translated into English, but don't have any descriptions, so just try a few dishes. Once you order, they'll make your food from scratch, which is another reason why you shouldn't order the steam table food.

                              2. Have to give the new Chinese place a try.

                                A "better than you might think" Chinese place is Yummy Yummy in Windsor. Had Chicken with broccoli last time and it was pretty good (not too saucy). Fried pot stickers are good. House lo mein (on west coast we call it chow mein) is not bad. I need to try a few more items.

                                The Fort in Lebanon is a recent surprise. Very diner style and closer to us than Lou's in Hanover. They have pies too.

                                Lou's in Hanover of course is great and the Hanover fudge cake is killer and one of the best chocolate cakes I've had.

                                Speaking of Thai (it appeared in the thread) apparently the guy who runs Thai Garden in Keene tried to set up a location in Hanover, but was turned down because they said they already had a Chinese place (the Orient). Who knows!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: pianola

                                  It's funny that you mentioned Thai. Hanover did have a Thai place called Mai Thai, but it was quite mediocre as someone said. However, Mai Thai closed about a month ago and is being replaced by a new Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid. If I recall correctly, one of the people that worked at Mai Thai is opening Thai Orchid, but all the cooks and everything else will be different.

                                  No idea why the other guy was told he couldn't set up a location in Hanover, and the reasoning behind it is bizarre as well (Thai =/= Chinese???).

                                  1. re: SarachkaInBrooklyn

                                    Mai Thai finally closed eh. I'm surprised it stayed around as long as it did.

                                    Thai Orchid - is that the name of the place up in Montpelier? That place is quite good. Hopefully it's related to them. Or the new owner will surpass the old Mai Thai (not hard).

                                    BTW, I enjoy the Jewel of India - though I think I can understand some of your reaction to it. It tastes just like the Indian place in Burlington and in Northampton. They must be a chain in some way, because the recipes are all the same. I must say, that place is consistent.

                                    Will look forward to the new Thai place opening up.

                                  2. re: pianola

                                    Thai Garden was turned down? What a loss for Hanover. The Keene, Northampton and Brattleboro locations are very good. Would have fit in quite well.

                                  3. Finally tried Taj e India. Looks like someone's house, takeout only. Absolutely delicious, and probably 20% cheaper than Jewel.

                                    Rosey Jeke's has closed and there is a sign out announcing a new tapas place opening soon Could be interesting.

                                    Yipings market in West Leb now is carrying a great variety of Indian groceries.

                                    1. Went to Guzano's with a small group last Saturday (kid eat free day) and was pleasantly surprise. Still getting used to the "redone' surroundings and the lack of a salsa bar. But the food was back to the way I remembered it. Still the best Mexican in the Upper Valley (I think).

                                      Have been to Moes a few times and just doesn't cut it for me. Think I've been to the one up in Burlington area and that one seems better. I might choose Taco Bell over Moe's but I haven't been enough to say definitively (though I've been 2-3 times).

                                      Did we ever get a location address on the Chinese restaurant working out of a garage? Does anyone know if Oriental Wok in West Leb is the Lucky Wok that moved up from Claremont?

                                      1. Haven't been to the new Thai place yet - I'll wait until they iron out the kinks. Is it the same owner as the one in Keene? If so, that gives me hope.
                                        We just went back to the Cambodian place in Woodstock, Ankgor Wat. Love this place - very casual, the food is cooked to order, and it's BYOB. Drunken noodles were perfectly spiced, and I asked for scallops, which was no problem. Killer cheese cake for dessert. The owner is a very friendly Cambodian who used to be a hip-hop dancer in Montreal!
                                        We also love both Yamas, never disappointed with the food or service. Totally different vibe in each place - the West Leb one feels like a mom and pop luncheonette, the Hanover one feels like a trendy urban eatery.
                                        We've been to the 'gas station' Chinese place twice. the first time we had the Korean special, which was quite good. The second time we split the Thai special which was pretty mediocre.
                                        Even though the prices have gone up, and the menu is more limited, we still love Three Tomatoes in Lebanon. Never disappoints,