At 36 deLux Restaurant, culinary moguls Chef Matt Provencher and Ita Isakov form a powerful duo bent on sourcing the freshest produce, seafood, and meats from local suppliers. Matt graduated from the New England Culinary Institute before honing his skills at eateries all over the country, and Ita heads up Carmel Produce, a distributor of just-plucked produce. Together, they mastermind a menu headlined by salmon and calamari from the raw bar, pecan-crusted pork tenderloin, and sole stuffed with lobster and spinach. Paired with house made breads and desserts, the sizzling dishes make for a hearty meal complemented by potent cocktails and martinis from a recently revamped drink menu.
In a gallery space, the eatery spotlights revolving masterpieces from local artists. Nearby, its private function room sets the stage for making small talk with imaginary friends among up to 35 seated guests or 60 standing party goers.
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.
Social 24 combines the chic atmosphere of a nightclub with the comfortable feel of a sports bar. More than 30 high-definition televisions beam down from above, showcasing the athletic prowess of the country's finest pitchers, linebackers, point guards, and dancing mascots, while a wall-sized projection screen gives a high-voltage view of pay-per-view sporting events. As guests revel in the adrenaline-fueled competitions on display, they can whet their whistles with one of 16 on-tap beers and feast on braised shortribs, beef tips, barbecue pulled pork, and coconut shrimp. From time to time, the bar also hosts acoustic acts, karaoke, comedians, pianists, and other forms of non-sports entertainment.
Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Chef Patrick Ogle crafts a menu of updated American favorites that pair perfectly with World Sports Grille's expansive selection of craft beers, bourbons, whiskies, and single-malt scotches. Burgers start with certified Angus beef, turkey, or chicken breast meat, and can be further customized with the diner's choice of toppings. Other examples of elevated pub fare include a Guinness-braised bratwurst, maple-glazed scallops, and rustic pizzas.
Even diners who aren't hungry can find fun at Worlds Sports Grille, however. The venue broadcasts professional sports games on numerous HD televisions, and fifteen billiards tables invite guests to show off their own competitive skills. A dart room, a shuffleboard area, and occasional live music will also keep the recently revamped space pulsing with energy, much like a snake with his tail caught in an electrical outlet.
Despite being thousands of miles from the Californian-Mexican border, California Grille somehow manages to encapsulate fusion food that walks that very border. Distinctly American and Mexican cuisine mingles on its menu, each incorporating a bit from the other. For example, the Baja burger is topped with fresh guac and housemade pico de gallo and skewers with sirloin, shrimp, or southwestern grilled chicken blur the lines between the United States and Mexico.
Old family recipes form the foundation for many of the classic Italian dishes served at Rig A' Tony's Italian Take-out. The restaurant’s chefs craft fresh pastas to order, then sauté them with a variety of ingredients, such as broccoli and chicken, eggplant, and seafood. When forging their customizable pizzas, they begin with fresh dough, then hand-toss it and top it with pecorino cheese and whole-milk mozzarella before placing it in an oven and drizzling it lightly with olive oil. Most dishes are available in individual or family portions, and can be served in the restaurant or, like tax forms, toted home in their frozen form and baked.
Visitors to Whippersnappers can fill up on American-style cuisine including sandwiches, burgers, and steaks in a spacious pub setting. Every Tuesday, diners can participate in trivia at 6 p.m. and rock out to the tunes of a video DJ at 9 p.m. Five nights a week, live bands provide onstage entertainment; Thursday nights are devoted to acoustic acts.