NEXT MONDAY IS A BIG DAY for New Hampshire restaurants.
For the first time since March 16, they will be allowed to host patrons for sit-down dining. But because of the restrictions imposed by the state’s Stay At Home 2.0 rules, seating will be limited to outdoor dining areas only.
Unfortunately, not every restaurant has the space to do outdoor seating, which means those that can’t will have to stick to takeout service or, worse, remain closed until the restrictions are eased.
Until that happens — or at least until the weather warms up consistently — the Our Gourmet crew will remain on hiatus from our regular weekly reviews of individual restaurants.
So we’ll leave it to you, faithful readers, to continue sharing your comments about your favorite restaurants and the good work they’re doing under difficult circumstances. The response over the past few weeks has been steady, so keep up the good work.
Here are a few recent submissions:
Phyllis Milan says Sabatino’s North in Derry has been a regular date-night spot for her and her spouse, a tradition they’ve kept up in the age of takeout. “The food is as delicious as when we go into the restaurant and enjoy a meal,” she says.
“The food is fresh, hot and well packaged. We usually order an appetizer and a meal… The meal stays packaged until we finish our appetizer and is still very warm. The portions are no different than before.”
Fred McNeill is a fan of Asian Kabab & Grill in Manchester. “The majority of their business has traditionally been takeout and they have thrived under the recent restaurant restrictions.
“Serving up tasty traditional and authentic Indian and Pakistani food, the highly recommended Asian Kabab provides very large portions at a great value. All takeout food is well packed in secure individual containers and travels very well.
“In addition to the traditional Indian fares such as vindaloos, curries, and kababs, the Asian Grill also carries several exotic starters, vegetarian dishes, and delicious desserts. Personal favorites include Vegetable Biryani, an aromatic basmati rice rich in vegetables, nuts and spices, Chicken Korma cooked in a cream sauce with cashews, and the Bullet Naan, a spicy version of the traditional Indian bread.”
Diane Martineau recommends a Manchester landmark: “A great restaurant to try for more than burgers is Red Arrow Diner. Last Saturday night my husband tried the steak tips with mushrooms and gravy dinner ($14.75). It came with 2 sides. He opted for rice pilaf and a small green salad. The tips were cooked perfectly, they were tender and flavorful. The mushrooms were sauteed and packed separately as was the gravy, the salad was crisp.
“I had the turkey dinner, which included real turkey meat and the usual fixings along with 2 sides ($11.99). Both dinners were well packed, delicious, plentiful and still hot when we got home.
“The waitress was friendly and the dinners were ready for pickup when we got there. Give them a try you won’t be disappointed.”
Two readers are big fans of Ollie’s in Goffstown.
Tonya Angwin says “Ollie’s has such an extensive and varied menu, many call it the Puritan West. Some say their specialty is lamb — tender and savory — but I think they excel at seafood. My husband loves their haddock while I find their baked stuffed scallops divine. And if you’ve never tried their fried clams, you are no foodie. Theirs rival any in NH. I only have them a few times a year, because I’m dieting.
“Ollie’s has always had a robust takeout service. I’ve sat next to many men as they consume a beverage at the cozy bar (shoutout to Tracey the bartender) while waiting for their orders to be readied.
“It is no surprise then, that Ollie’s is rocking the takeout trade. Their website utilizes an EASY order form. It also features new offerings at reasonable prices; I’ll be trying the lobster roll soon. And the pork pie. I’m not on the kind of diet you’re thinking of.”
And RLG says “Ollies hasn’t changed their takeout menu at all. You can get anything for take out. We have been enjoying their food for over 20 years. I have never had a bad meal there. Their fish is to die for. So fresh. It’s like going to Cheers, where all the staff know your name.”
Harve Tancrede recommends another Manchester fixture, Billy’s Sports Bar & Grill.
“Ask to have Coach Spirou’s chicken wings DOUBLE DIPPED for the BEST and crispiest wings ever.”