We heard there was a new chef at Epoch Restaurant in Exeter, NH, so my food friend booked a table for her birthday and we all went to check out the changes. I had loved the previous chef for his technical mastery of desserts. Would this one stand up?
A girls' night out, we claimed a big round table hugged by a comfy banquette and settled in with a glass of bubbly while we looked through the menu. Somehow they surmised it was my friend's birthday and before we knew it the new chef, Peter Agostinelli,came out to our table to personally describe all the dishes on the menu and to recommend some he had just been able to add that he was quite proud of. Then he slipped away to the kitchen.
Back to opening presents and sipping more bubbles, we were delightfully interrupted by an amuse. A wonderful little spoonful of beef tartare.
I adore beef tartare. This one was just lovely. From then on, we turned our attention to the food. He had gotten our attention. So we ordered a few appetizers and waited with anticipation and another bottle of wine!
Foi gras. Light as a cloud. Absolutely perfect……….
Quali stuffed with wild rice………deep and beautifully blended flavors…..
For main courses, one of us had salmon on beet jus…..which was again, cooked to perfection.
This didn't photograph as well as it tasted. It could have had a lot more sauce as a bed for the 7 ounce filet because the filet and the sauce together were so satisfying. They were sided with duck fat cooked potatoes.
The swordfish entree with fritters was a hit as well………..
On to dessert!!!!!! After all, the birthday girl needed her chocolate! Chocolate bread pudding that is!! It was a good as it looks.
A bit sloppy looking, but we bypassed that fact by the windblown look it gave us after tasting it! Awesome cheesecake showered with tropical toasted coconut!!!
One more. We couldn't resist. So we ordered a molten chocolate cake. Yes, it was just what we hoped for. A gooey hot mess of fudge on the inside oozing outside around a devilishly delicious dark chocolate cake. Did it need the ice cream on the side? Not really. But we weren't complaining.
Did the desserts stand up to the level of the previous chef? No. But they made their own place in our hearts with their homey look and satisfying flavors.
Did my friend have a good birthday? I hope so! Are we going back to Epoch? Absolutely!
If you are in the eastern part of New Hampshire or driving up to Maine, make a detour to Exeter. It is one of the most beautiful towns in New England, home to Philips Exeter Academy, and it is the home of Epoch Restaurant. You'll find it in the Exeter Inn. I think you'll like it.
Epoch Restaurant, in the Exeter Inn, 2 Pine Street, Exeter, NH 03833