Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poutine and cornbread a winning combination at New England's Tap House Grille

Always on the lookout for something new, I couldn’t help but notice a fairly new strip mall in Hooksett. After driving by several times, there was a restaurant in the distance that has been on our list to visit. Finally having some extra time on a Friday night, we decided to try New England's Tap House Grille.

Arriving with no idea as to what to expect we walked into an extremely busy restaurant. Normally we prefer to sit at a booth and asked for one here. Unfortunately, the hostess told us that these are for larger parties only and we ended up at a half booth in the back. In hindsight this has its advantages and disadvantages. What you lose in privacy you gain in this open concept that is more conducive to conversing with those at neighboring tables.

The bar is the focal point as you enter the restaurant. It’s quite large with plenty of big screen TV's to watch your favorite sporting event. This is definitely a bar first and a restaurant second.

We settled in and ordered some drinks. For you beer lovers there are over 50 on tap including selections from Woodstock Inn and Longtrail. Next cornbread arrived:

Let my preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of cornbread. Most of the time it is too dry and needs a couple of tablespoons of butter but this was different. Moist with a nice maple flavor they won me over. If you are a corn bread fan you will love this.

Don't expect to find gourmet food here. Their menu is filled with simple basic pub comfort foods along with wood fired pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups and wraps.

Per usual when we visit someplace new we begin to look over the menu with excitement and sometimes angst. We debated whether to start with an appetizer. Noticing that Poutine was listed, a French food item that we have been thinking of trying for a long time but hadn’t even though we’ve been to Canada on many occasions. Not sure why it took so long to try it since we both love fries, gravy, and cheese. There was also a nice woman at the table next to us who could see and hear that we were having trouble deciding. She said that it was delicious and we went all in. The salt from the fries mixed with the gravy and cheese was outstanding.

My choice on an entree was the grilled steak skewers.

These were steak tips served with garlic mashed and green beans and all were prepared to my liking.

My wife had the Tap House Pub Steak which was also served with the same sides as mine. The only difference between our meals is that her steak was served sliced with a mushroom gravy covering the meat.

The service was okay but we were a little disappointed at the end of the meal. When we asked our waitress to box our leftovers she seemed uncomfortable and said that this was not something she normally did. She ended up boxing the meal but the transition was rough. To whomever is training the staff, make sure they are prepared for anything that might come up so a simple request does not seem like a monumental task.

The New England Tap House Grille has a lot to offer for decent food in a fun relaxing environment. Try the poutine and cornbread and let us know what you think.