Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Tavern at River's Edge- Exeter, NH

Located below street level at 163 Water St. in downtown Exeter, The Tavern at River's Edge has a great menu to offer you in a casual dining setting. I have been a regular diner for a number of years and often opt to sit in the bar area where you can order off their lighter fare menu or their full dinner menu. I also like that a glass of their house Cabernet (Sycamore Lane) is only $5 a glass. I have yet to have a disappointing meal here and have almost always enjoyed the service. I'm a big fan of their Tavern Wings which are deep fried, then baked and you can have them finished either with spicy hot barbecue or sesame soy sauce ($9). I also like the blackened haddock sandwich- a decent sized pan seared creole filet of haddock topped with optional red pepper mayonnaise and french fries ($8). It's served on a big soft bulky roll and can really hit the spot. Their hamburger is average, but I have yet to find one that isn't on the Seacoast. Off of their full dinner menu, they really have a nice variety of meal options to choose from. When I in the mood for a little more than the lighter fare options, there are two dishes here that I usually go back and forth on. The Chicken Frangelico is a large serving of nut encrusted breast of chicken pan seared topped with a Frangelico cream sauce and finished with long grain wild rice and roasted vegetables ($18). I really like the Frangelico cream sauce (but who wouldn't?) and I find for the price, the portion is well worth it. My other favorite here is the Vegetable Lasagna. You can order a smaller portion of this delish dish for $12 or you can get the full diner portion for $16. I like to find restaurants that offer you the small meal options since I enjoy an appetizer before dinner I rarely can enjoy a large dinner out. The lasagna has roasted eggplant, hot house tomatoes, button mushrooms, onions and spinach layered with mozzarella and ricotta cheese with a smoked tomato cream. Here again (like the Chicken Frangelico), the sauce really makes the dish special and different.It has a very rich flavor that really takes the lasagna to a higher level than one that you would have just with regular tomato sauce. I also must mention that on the weekends they serve up one heck of a piece of prime rib! The chef here does change a few items every couple of months which is always nice, but he knows well enough to keep a few of the popular "staples" on the menu. The bar area is small, but the restaurant dining room is much larger. I really like the location of this place too, it's like by walking downstairs, below street level, you're a part of some secret or something. I don't know that might sound silly, but I think it's an Exeter town secret worth sharing.