Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clutter in and Rolecek out at Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester

I heard a rumor that Chuck Rolecek had sold the Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester and hoped that it was not true. If you read this blog you probably know that I am a big fan of Chuck Rolecek restaurants. I don't remember reading anything about this in the press but my suspicions were confirmed when I found out that Steven Clutter is the new owner. He must now show that he can keep up with what Rolacek started. Would the Chophouse be as good as it has been in the past?

Let me begin about a month or so ago when I called in for a reservation to find out about Valentine’s Day. After looking over their fixed menu four course meal ($175 per couple), I decided to make a reservation. To confirm, I had to give my name, phone number and credit card to ensure that I was not going to skip town and miss the meal. They have one person designated to handle the reservations for the event and although this makes it easier for the restaurant it does not for their customers when they are trying to reach someone to book a reservation.

Surprisingly the weather cooperated this year and it was a fairly mild night and we looked forward to a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. We arrived early and were told it would be a little while before our table was ready so we made our way to the bar for a cocktail. The drinks are always exceptional here. My wife ordered a martini and I had a glass of Conn Creek carbernet sauvignon. There was a musician playing the piano in the background adding to the cozy environment of yellow lights and dark undertones.

After about 10 minutes (sooner than expected) we were called to be seated and my wife went ahead of me so I could settle the bar tab. My heart sank as I headed over to the area where my wife was seated at a table and not a booth as I had requested. Walking back to the hostess station I explained the situation and was told that we would get the next available booth. To be fair this was taken care of a short time later but there needs to be improved communication on the reservations. This did not get our Valentines evening off to a great start.

Our waitress dropped by with a friendly hello and the menu for our review. She also brought over a bread basket with a delicious selection.

To begin the meal, my wife chose the asparagus risotto and I ordered the jumbo sea scallops wrapped in bacon. We were not disappointed. The risotto was a tender mixture that melted in your mouth and the scallops had a strong maple flavor.

For the second course, my wife selected the lobster stew and I had the clam chowder. Although these were both good in taste there was not a lot of substance to them. There was very little lobster meat in the stew.

On the main entree, we both had the duet of beef, a bacon wrapped filet along with a hanger steak (they ran out of the boneless short rib) served with parmesan potato gratin and creamed spinach. The filets were tender and juicy and the hanger steak had a nice strong flavor. I can't believe I'm saying this because I love meat but it seemed like beef overload. The parmesan potato gratin was fabulous and I wish they had selected something different for the vegetable, the creamed spinach just didn't work.

And finally for dessert, my wife chose the Chocolate Raspberry Decadence and I had the Red Velvet Cheesecake. Given that she loves chocolate this was an easy choice for her. Mine was was lighter than what you think when cheesecake comes to mind. This was even better because you could eat more without feeling so full.

Our waitress was exceptional, she was there when needed and everything was timed perfectly. A manager also stopped by and asked how our meal was.

The booth that we ended up with was okay, near the kitchen so we could see what was going on in the back of the house and gave a nice view off the dining room. A word of caution, later on in the evening it became very hot because of the proximity to the kitchen. This was at the very end so it certainly did not spoil the meal.

So there you have it, I spent about $300.00 including tip for our visit to the Hanover Street Chophouse. All in all it looks like Steven Clutter has maintained what Chuck Rolecek had started. That said, there is some room for improvement and everything needs to work like clockwork at these prices. Steven was seen walking around keeping an eye on things which is always a good sign.

Hanover Street Chophouse on Urbanspoon