February 22. 2012 11:40AM

Terrific technique at Tek-Nique

New Hampshire Union Leader



170 Route 101, Bedford

Open daily for dinner at 4 p.m.; Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cuisine: Casual fine dining

Prices: Entrees, $15 to $29; appetizers $8 to $19; soup and salads $8 to $9; desserts, $7 to $14

It's easy to drive right by Tek-Nique, which is located in a small plaza that sits back from Route 101, but this is definitely a restaurant to seek out if you are looking for upscale food at reasonable prices.

Menu: 20/20

The menu is impressive; it has enough choices to satisfy anyone's palate, but not so many that it is overwhelming. If you are feeling adventurous or are just in the mood to try something different, you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are looking for a tried and true classic such as short ribs, scallops or salmon, Tek-Nique has that, too. The wine and cocktail list is also extensive (Tek-Nique also hosts wine dinners). We went to Tek-Nique for dinner but after a peek at the brunch menu, which features creative French toast, pancakes and egg dishes, we could definitely be persuaded to go back.

Appetizers: 17/20

Our Gourmet: I love gnocchi, so when I saw Hand Rolled Ricotta Gnocchi ($8), served with Parmesan brown butter, nutmeg and applewood bacon lardons, I knew I had to order it. It's easy to figure out when gnocchi, a soft Italian dumpling, is perfectly prepared: That's when the light pillows of pasta melt in your mouth, as they did here. The bacon lardons added a wonderful saltiness to the dish, balancing out the sweetness of the butter. (9/10)

TDC: I tried the Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Sambuca Cream ($8). Red peppers and Sambuca seemed like an odd combination, but the Sambuca triggered some memories from my college days. (Flaming Sambuca is a shot that is lit on fire for a few seconds to enhance the liqueur's anise flavor. I and the shot taker learned you must extinguish the shot before drinking it or you will be turned into a blue fireball.) I was in no danger here. The nonflaming white Sambuca cream floated on top of the contrasting red soup. It tasted creamy at the top and had progressively more mint and licorice notes toward the bottom. The soup's flavor reminded me of tomato soup but with a big red pepper bite. This combination was both interesting and enjoyable. (8/10)

Entrees: 19/20

OG: The House Cured Duck 2 Ways ($27), a dish comprised of pan-seared duck breast, confit leg, pumpkin risotto and veal jus lie is one of the best plates of food I've had in a long time. The duck was succulent and perfectly cooked; the risotto was creamy and flavorful. I've been on the fence for a long time about whether I like duck, but this dish made me a fan for life. (10/10)

TDC: For my main entrée I struggled to choose between the Braised Rabbit Strozzapreti ($16) and the Freeform Seafood Lasagna ($20). My curiosity was beaten back by my love for seafood. I didn't have to worry about starving as I ate the Seafood Lasagna until there was nothing left but plate.

Served alongside microgreens, the seafood mixture contained shrimp, scallops, Maine crab, lobster, and it was blanketed by house-made pasta and lobster cream. (9/10)

Desserts: 17/20

OG: What's better than one chocolate dessert?

Three chocolate desserts, of course. Chocolate 3 Ways ($7), consisting of a turtle tart, a flourless gateau and chocolate mousse, was a great way to end the meal. And they must have been good because I was able to finish the triumvirate of fudgy goodness after eating most of my appetizer and entrée. (9/10)

TDC: For dessert I had the Molten Chocolate Truffle Cake ($7). It was served atop a tasty artistic pattern of raspberry sauce and crème anglaise. The “molten” name proved appropriate on the first slice as chocolate poured from the cake's center like lava from a volcano. This dessert reminded me once again that if there's one thing that I enjoy more than chocolate, it's chocolate hiding inside of more chocolate. (8/10)

Final thoughts: 18/20

Overall, we had a great experience. The dining area, adorned with contemporary furniture and décor, looks sharp and the soft lighting adds to the intimate feel of the place. The service was spot on; our server was knowledgeable, pleasant and attentive.

Chef/owner Matthew Trottier has created something special in Bedford. For the quality of food we were served, we would have paid more, but we are glad we didn't have to.

Total: 91/100