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October 30. 2012 11:45PM

Our Gourmet: Enjoying a beer and a meal at Milly's

Milly's Tavern

500 Commercial St., Manchester
625-4444;

millystavern.com

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cuisine: Pub fare

Prices: Appetizers, salads and soups, $2.50-$9; Pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, $5 to $10; Entrees, $10.50 to $25; Desserts, $5.

Restaurant Location:

500 Commercial St., Manchester NH

If you consider yourself a beer connoisseur, but have not yet made it down to Milly's Tavern in Manchester's Millyard, you are missing out. The city's only brewery boasts 19 taps of their own brews. But, of course, if you are imbibing, it's a good idea to also be eating, so we ventured to Milly's hopeful that we would get a good meal to go along with the beer.

Menu: 7/10

For a pub menu, we were impressed by the number of options, which include wraps, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, entrees, and a variety of appetizers. Milly's offers a number of gluten-free options and also brunch specials on Sundays. And did we mention that they make their own beer? People flock to Milly's as soon as the seasonal pumpkin ale becomes available, which is now.

Appetizers: 17/20

Our Gourmet: I wanted something hearty, and something that would complement a pumpkin ale, so I went with a cup of the Brewhouse Chili ($4), which was voted No. 1 in New Hampshire, according to Milly's menu. The beef and bean chili is made with their own oatmeal stout and is served with house-made tortilla chips if you prefer to dip. I was pleasantly surprised at the spiciness of the chili. Too often I order chili at a restaurant and it's bland as if not to offend anyone. I appreciated the garnish of cheese, sour cream and jalapeno slices. It was a great start to the meal. (9/10)

TDC: For starters I had the stuffed mushrooms ($8). The mushrooms are filled with a house blend of crabmeat, herbs and spices, and Ritz crackers. The stuffing was crisp on the outside with a soft and sweet mixture on the inside. The mushrooms were medium-sized and juicy. The Ritz crackers gave the stuffing a uniquely satisfying flavor and added an occasional crispiness to the mix. (8/10)

Entrees: 16/20

OG: What better way to follow the chili, I thought, than with Tasha's Tips ($15), sirloin tips marinated in Tasha's Red Tail Ale. The tips that I ordered medium were a little more done than I would have liked, probably because they were not cut uniformly. I liked the marinade and the seasonings on the steak but the fact that they were not properly cooked really got in the way of enjoying the dish. The broccoli and mashed potatoes served with the tips were good accompaniments. (6/10)

TDC: Based on a recommendation from a friend, I tried the Chicken Tender Dinner ($12). I was not disappointed. The tenders come with french fries and honey mustard or barbecue sauce. I asked for and received both. Usually I prefer barbecue, but the honey mustard won me over. It had a thin consistency, but not runny, and the flavor was just the right mix of honey and mustard so that neither sweetness nor spice dominated my palate. The tenders were coated in a thin golden brown crust with just the right amount of crunchiness. I'm not sure what they use for the breading, but there was a slight sweetness to it. The chicken was plump, tender and juicy and tasted fresh from the market. If chicken tenders are a go-to order for you, you don't want to pass up a chance to try these. (10/10)

Desserts: 15/20

OG: While TDC and I make it a policy never to order the same dessert (or meal, for that matter), we were faced with a conundrum when they had run out of one of the two desserts they were currently offering. Instead of the apple crisp, and not wanting to miss out on dessert entirely, I opted for the brownie sundae ($5). The brownie was moist and the dessert was served with copious amounts of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge.

I did think it was a little strange to be served dessert in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon. At the end of the night I felt like I was at a kids' party and not a brewery. (7/10)

TDC: The large, soft brownie was served warm and covered in whipped cream. I haven't yet met a brownie sundae I didn't like, but whatever choice they made for the vanilla ice cream catapulted this over your average dish. (8/10)

Final thoughts: 24/30

Milly's Tavern is a spacious but cozy place tucked in the bottom of a historic mill building. When you walk in, the vibe is similar to a neighborhood hangout and you immediately feel comfortable. We did have to wait a few minutes to be acknowledged after we walked in but after that, service was stellar. If you like a little entertainment to go with your meal, Milly's has something going on nightly on their stage including live music every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And we can vouch that the acoustics are great. For everything Milly's has to offer, we would definitely venture back. Cheers!

Total: 79/100


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