Monday, March 9, 2009

Ron Jillian's- Hampton, N.H.

Ron Jillian's is a small, well known, casual Italian restaurant located along Route 1 in Hampton, N.H.. There is limited seating as well as limited parking so if you are heading in on a weekend evening, be prepared to wait. Half the restaurant is a small bar area that fills quickly with the locals. The food here is flavorful and the service for the most part is friendly and helpful. There is nothing fancy about the decor and when it's busy it can get really loud, which to me is always a good sign of people dining out and enjoying themselves.
****Update 11.9.09- I don't know what has been going on at RJs the past 6 months or so, but I have seen a decline in the quality of food served as well as the odds on getting good service. A new chef perhaps? I am curious to see if this downward slide continues or if they get their act together. I recently had the Lobster Mac n Cheese and it just wasn't as good as it was. Very disappointing.******

We started our meal with an order of the Bianco Sauteed Mussels ($9.95). They are a heaping mound of fresh PEI Mussels sauteed in garlic, white wine and herbs. I really enjoy them, but I think they can pull back a bit on the garlic. I was paranoid the rest of the evening with my killer garlic breath! For dinner we enjoyed their Eggplant Parmigiana ($13.95) and their Chicken Parmigiana ($14.95). The portions here are no joke! You will almost always have enough leftovers for another meal and you will see many people leaving the restaurant with their little bag or two of leftovers. Each entree here comes with your choice of soup or salad and these days, not having that a la carte is very much appreciated. Ron Jillian's offers a good selection of daily specials and menu options that expend beyond Italian and their brick oven pizzas. On this visit, they had a broiled haddock special that looked delicious. My absolute favorite meal here is served as a special on Sundays (although I did luck out once and they had it on a week night!) and it's their Lobster Macaroni and Cheese ($18.95). I love this dish. You get a huge portion of this rich, cheesy special that has big pieces of fresh lobster meat throughout. They don't skimp on the lobster meat at all! I say give Ron Jillian's a try and if you can manage, make it there on a Sunday for the Lobster Mac n Cheese.