Friday, June 8, 2012

Savory Square Bistro- Hampton, N.H.

Chez Boucher
32 Depot Square
Hampton, N.H.

I have found an excellent hidden gem right in downtown Hampton, N.H.! Founded by Executive Chef Ron Boucher, C.E.C., A.A.C., Savory Square Bistro is the restaurant he has opened located at his Culinary Arts Training Center. Savory Square Bistro is open Wednesday through Saturday 4:30-10:00pm as well as on Sunday 10:00am to 4:00pm. You have the option of dining on the classically decorated and inviting dining room side or the comfortable and more casual lounge/bar side of the Savory Square Bistro. I have dined here several times recently and have brought different dining companions with me so that I can get other opinions on the food, the service and the atmosphere. I haven't left Savory Square Bistro dissatisfied after a meal yet! The friendliness of the staff in a restaurant is always a big factor with me. I can love the food of a restaurant and crave it, but I won't support a restaurant that leaves me feeling that as a patron, I didn't matter. That is a feeling that is completely in the hands of the staff and so far, the people that Chef Boucher has working at the Savory Square Bistro is great and I hope they continue the good work. I have to say, this restaurant is one of the few that I have been to that actually "takes me away". You know that feeling that you seek when dining sometimes, that you just want to be taken away from your humdrum everyday life and enjoy a really good meal with friends or loved ones? Savory Square Bistro has been able to accomplish this for me. I walk through the front door and I don't feel that I am in downtown Hampton, N.H. anymore at all. It's a rare find for the Seacoast area. I can count on one hand how many restaurants can make me feel as if I am escaping for a few hours while I visit. 
My favorite appetizer is the Baked Oysters Rockefeller Gratinee ($9.99)- fresh oysters baked with a pernod, cheese & spinach stuffing. This appetizer can be easily shared as it includes four large stuffed, mouthwatering oysters. From the Lighter Fare menu, I have tasted the Grilled Flat Iron Steak Sandwich ($11.99)-served on an open grilled baguette, topped with a savory wild mushroom gravy & homemade bistro fries. This sandwich is very filling and the mushroom gravy adds great flavoring to the sliced steak. I found the seasoning added to the fries was way too salty. I have to remember next time I order any of the Lighter Fare sandwiches to ask that the fries be served unseasoned.
 An entree that I hope transfers to his next menu (as they will be changed seasonally) is the Pan Fried Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi ($22.50)-Finished with a dark rum orange-mango glaze, served with peach chutney rice & a seasonal vegetable medley. The fish has been perfectly cooked each time I have ordered the dish and the blend of the Macadamia nut crust with the dark rum orange-mango glaze had me returning to Savory Square Bistro within a week to have this Mahi Mahi dish again. A dining companion one evening at the restaurant had the Norwegian Pasta ($18.50)-House cured salmon with tomatoes, black olives, scallions & capers with fresh egg fettuccine & tossed in a light vodka lemon cream. Although she said was very filling and worthy of ordering, it is (as she expected) a bit on the salty side.
 I can not end the review without mentioning the desserts! All desserts are $7.00. My favorite dessert currently available on the menu is the Poached Pear with Chocolate Truffles with Gorgonzola cheese and is served with a small glass of Port wine. The pairing of the pear, chocolate, cheese and Port wine is divine! The Port really helps intensify the flavors in your mouth of the fruit, cheese & chocolate. I have also ordered the Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pot de Creme with whipped maple cream & toasted tuile, but I found the flavors of the ingredients to be muted where I was expecting more richness.
If you are seeking that same "take you away" feeling from an enjoying dining experience on the Seacoast of N.H., I highly recommend you try Savory Square Bistro and let me know what you have and how your dining experience goes!