Tuscan Market, Salem NH
My husband and I were driving through Salem, NH the other day and noticed (hard not to...it's pretty large) both the restaurant Tuscan Kitchen and the nearby Tuscan Market. We stopped into the market and were pretty impressed. I sort of felt like I was at Disneyland.
The first thing we did was to split an Italian panini, which was preassembled but pressed to order. Delicious. They have a nice selection of sandwiches to choose from, as well as pastas, salads and some nice-looking oblong pizzas. There is a small seating area if you want to eat in, and lots of yummy-looking house-made desserts and gelato. Coffee and espresso are available, too.
The market itself offers gorgeous fresh breads and excellent house-made pastas. We bought some short-rib tortelli, capellini, 4-cheese ravioli and a square of foccaccia. They also had hand-made orecchiette, lobster ravioli and mushroom ravioli along with different widths of plain egg pasta. The pasta is silky and delicious. The short-rib filling was a big strong on the sweet spice flavor for our tastes, but still excellent. The marinara was a touch sweet and needed a little salt, but again, still tasty.
They have a small but impressive selection of meats and house-made sausages, with in-house butchering. We got hot Italian sausage and Broccoli Rabe/Fontina, and enjoyed both kinds. They also have a decent selection of Italian wines.
I definitely can see myself heading back up to Salem just to shop here every once in a while. Dinner comes together pretty quickly and deliciously with so much to choose from.
Coincidentally, we heard a promo yesterday for New Hampshire Chronicle featuring the market, so it would be worth checking that out.
The Chronicle story was definitely appealing. I have friends who I meet for lunch once a year and previously, Salem was ruled out after a couple of mediocre lunches but I think all of us would like to try the restaurant and do some shopping afterward. Thanks for the report.
Funny, I just watched the NH Chronicle video and had to chuckle when Joe Faro described the market as Disneyland, which was how I felt when I went in.
We had the four-cheese raviolis and cappellini last night and once again were impressed with the silkyness of the pasta. The cheese filling was really tangy and flavorful, maybe with lots of asiago in the mix. I preferred these to the shortrib tortelli.
A link to the video:
I have been in, briefly. It's a nice place. I wouldn't rank it with J. Pace in Saugus (which has it beat in terms of price, selection, and knowledgeable help) or some North End places, but it's local and very handy, and fun to browse. I got some nice Forelle pears and good size bottle of olive oil.
Good to have another report, pinehurst.
I think the comparison to Pace is a good one but they are different in many ways. I actually preferred the Tuscan Market for several things, mostly prepared foods. I may be wrong, but I don't think that Pace has fresh house-made pasta, and this is where Tuscan shines for me. I found the breads at Tuscan to be a bit bland (needed a bit more salt and fermentation for my taste), but otherwise good quality. I don't remember Pace's bread. I think Pace has the edge on overall taste for sausages, although Tuscan's were very good. Tuscan definitely takes it on desserts, and Pace has a much better selection of imported Italian products.
It's hard to compare the sandwiches. Pace has excellent old-school Italian-American subs, and Tuscan's are slightly more delicate and wonderfully crispy pressed panini. Both have excellent meat fillings. It's also nice to be able to get Tuscan's fresh pasta cooked to order or an interesting pizza at reasonable prices for a casual lunch.
I stopped by for lunch yesterday and was impressed by the place. Plenty of parking and the building is gorgeous both outside and inside. The selection of pasta and meats was impressive and the place was spotless. They just got their liquor license so the eating area now has waitress service. I didn't realize but ordering at the counter defaults to take out. There is a take out seating area where you can eat. I tried the Parma Panini and it was excellent and I also liked the homemade chips.