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Our Gourmet: Sizzle Bistro a terrific restaurant in an unlikely location

1 Highlander Way, Manchester, NH

The folks who brought you Manchester's popular Hooked Seafood Restaurant and Ignite Bar and Grille have unveiled their new venture, Sizzle Bistro, which is located at the Executive Health Club near the airport.

Sizzle Bistro, which opened last month, is a combination of Hooked and Ignite, according to their website. We haven't been to those eateries (though our other Our Gourmet colleagues have) so we have to take their word for it, but after a visit to Sizzle Bistro, we can tell you that you are in for a really nice dining experience.

Menu: 8/10

We were happy to see some unique selections on the appetizer and entrée menus. It took us some time to decide what we wanted to order because there is a decent variety of seafood, beef and chicken in various preparations. There is also an impressive list of salads for those wanting some lighter fare. That being said, for the most part the entrees and appetizers tend to be on the healthier side (it is inside a health club, after all). The menu is not weighed down by heavy and fried dishes, which is great if you look forward to dessert as much as we do.

Appetizers: 18/20

Our Gourmet: I was undecided on an appetizer until our server told us about the Chowder of the Day, which was corn chowder ($5.99). The chowder had the right consistency, just thick enough, and it featured plenty of fresh corn and chunky potatoes, and it was seasoned just right. I enjoyed it to the last drop. 9/10
TDC: I started with the maple glazed scallops & bacon ($12). Each plump scallop was engulfed by a thick piece of bacon. The bacon was crisp, though not overly so, and in contrast the scallops beneath were nice and tender. The maple flavor was pleasant, acting like a quiet companion that was just present enough to let you know it was there. (9/10)

Entrees: 15/20

OG: I was in the mood for steak so I ordered up my favorite cut, the crusted New York strip ($22). It was topped with a horseradish bread crust and is served with a choice of potato and vegetable. I went with the mashed and chose the asparagus for an additional $4. The seasoning and crust added some great flavor to the steak, however, I ordered it medium rare and it was cooked closer to medium well. The mashed potatoes and asparagus were good accompaniments to the dish. 7/10
TDC: The Asian BBQ steak tips ($17) caught my eye for an entrée. The tips were seared on the outside and cooked to a medium temperature on the inside. These thick, juicy tips were covered in Asian barbecue sauce with a big biting taste that came partially from what seemed to be a soy base. This is a unique type of barbecue sauce and one that will overwhelm your senses, so if you like a milder sauce this is not for you. On the other hand, if you like your barbecue tips with a big and bold taste, these will certainly satisfy that craving. 8/10

Desserts: 17/20

OG: There isn't a dessert menu per se; the server told us selections change on a daily basis. We were given a choice of a few basic selections. I chose the tiramisu ($6.95) and I am glad I saved some room. There are no delicate dessert portions here. I can safely say I was served a piece that could qualify as a “slab.” The tiramisu did not disappoint. The filling was creamy, the spongy cake was moist and it wasn't overly sweet. I ate as much as I could and wish I could have eaten more. (8/10)
TDC: To round out the meal I had a slice of the Chocolate Lovers chocolate cake ($6.95). The cake was served on a plate drizzled in chocolate sauce with whipped cream on each side. Halfway through I was delighted to discover that the chocolate did not stop with the drizzling on the plate or with the cake or frosting that covered it. Tiny pieces of chocolate chips blanketed its back. A real treat for any true chocolate lover; the cake was aptly named. (9/10)

Final thoughts: 27/30

Finding the restaurant was a bit of an adventure. It's located in the basement of the Executive Health Club, but signs to find it were a bit confusing. Luckily we found a helpful employee who showed us the way. We were excited to find out they offered outdoor seating. When you step out onto the patio, you immediately feel you are on vacation, especially because of the large bar, the menu of exotic cocktails and music. And did we mention you are sitting by the Executive's pool? You can't help but relax. You are reminded from time to time that you are right near the airport but even an occasional jet runup couldn't shake our mood. Service was very good — probably the best service we've had on an outdoor patio in the area. When the weather gets chilly, we will have to get back there to enjoy a meal inside, where the atmosphere seems just as promising.

Total: 85/100


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