For seafood and barbecue that's earned the attention?and praises?of Phantom Gourmet and TV Diner with Billy Costa, hungry locals need look no further than Lobster Q. Servers dole out cool pints of local craft beer and baskets of sweet potato fries to complement steamed crab, pulled pork, ribs, and grilled fish entr?es. And, of course, lobster: steamed whole, baked into pies, stuffed into rolls, or hidden in ravioli, lobster is the centerpiece of the restaurant's broad menu. Lobster Q also uses its dual emphasis on seafood and barbecue as an artistic opportunity for kids, awarding a free meal to children who draw the best versions of the chimerically delicious Lobster Pig.
Three Dogz Diner serves up traditional American diner fare and Southern cuisine for breakfast and lunch in a cozy, kid-friendly diner environment. Smoking specialists layer beef or pork barbeque ($5.99) and turkey sandwiches ($5.99) with thin slices of meat that has been seasoned with special dry rubs and sauces, then slowly smoked on-site over the objections of hoarse smoke detectors. The steak and cheese loads almost a pound of brisket grilled with veggies and american cheese onto an 8-inch roll ($8.39), and daily specials add edible unpredictability throughout the week. For breakfast, sample the biscuits and gravy, with two homemade biscuits bobbing in a sea of homemade sausage gravy accompanied by a pair of eggs any style ($5.79). Sneaky chefs poach the finest eggs from Faberge farms for the eggs benedict, then stack them on english muffins, add succulent ham, and smother the steaming stacks in hollandaise sauce ($6.79).
The American BBQ, which was featured on "The Phantom Gourmet," has its cooks dry-rub each cut of their meat with a house blend of spices and seasonings before placing them in a wood smoker for up to 16 hours. Sliced beef brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken fill sandwiches or rest on plates next to sides such as southern greens or homemade potato chips. Classic memphis-style pork ribs arrive at the table in a third rack, half rack, or full rack, which diners can fashion into makeshift xylophones after their meals. Inside both locations, rustic adornments dapple the walls, from vintage Coca-Cola signs to weathered road signs.
Offering up authentic Southern-style barbeque, Lester's meats are rubbed with seasonings and spices and are infused with the flavors of hickory and oak as they slow-cook in Lester’s genuine Texas Bar-B-Q “pit.” Check out the menu before plunging face first into starters such as the brisket plate with smashed potatoes, pan gravy, and green beans ($12.49). Grab a North Carolina pulled-pork platter with two side dishes and cornbread ($11.49), or try out pit-smoked barbecue in sandwich form served with a side of your choice and homemade pickles. Fill gullets with other meat-sterpieces such as St. Louis dry-rub ribs ($6.99–$23.99), barbecue chicken ($8.49–$11.49), and red-hot smoked sausage ($6.99–$11.49), or opt for deluxe hamburgers, hearty salads, sumptuous sides, and fresh desserts.
At its Dover location, The Farm Bar & Grille serves hearty plates of home-style food inside what else but a big red barn. But just as the familiar comfort food gives way to subtle surprises, the barn hides an 80-person outdoor deck, in full view of the Cocheco River. Yet, despite the picturesque vista, the best part about dining amid the fresh air might be the barbecue smell. A mammoth smoker rests just beneath the deck, releasing the aroma of slow-roasted baby-back ribs, fall-off-the-bone chicken, and pulled pork, piled onto platters and sandwiches or wrapped inside quesadillas and burritos.
Across the city, The Farm Bar & Grille pops up again, this time in Manchester. The menu is the same: half-pound burgers, sandwiches stacked atop Virgilio’s Bakery bread delivered fresh daily, and hearty comfort food, such as chicken pot pies and meatloaf dinners, and what NHmagazine.com calls the “Best Pulled Pork." Here, rustic furniture crafted, as NewHampshire.com discovered, from an old barn fills the cozy, red-walled space. A cute chalkboard mural of a moonlit farm hangs behind the bar, where servers offer 20 kinds of draft beer.
Named a Hidden Jewel by Phantom Gourmet, The Farm Bar & Grille's rustic wood furniture and floors and exposed brick walls inform the eatery's comforting vibe. To craft a menu of comforting southern-style fare, the kitchen team doesn't skimp by pulling ingredients from the freezer. Instead, they put together entrees from all-fresh components, including some of the vegetables they grow themselves in the on-site garden and the 90-acre cornfield they fit in their endless broom closet. As baby-back ribs bask in the smoke from a hardwood fire, the kitchen crew bastes them every half hour, in between searing burgers made from fresh angus chuck. Starters such as fresh beer-battered jalapeno poppers are made to order. The staff also pours a large selection of draft beers and specialty cocktails.