My husband and I and 2 friends were guests at this restaurant last night. While the atmosphere gets five stars, the food doesn't, nor does the service. We arrived almost on time, as we had trouble finding a place to park on a busy Portsmouth Saturday night. We were shown immediately to our table as we had a reservation. The restaurant itself is beautiful, perfect for making a grand impression. We had to wait several minutes for our waiter to come. He was very nice and personable. After serving us water, we again had to wait maybe 10 minutes for our menus and then even longer for our drinks. The meal progressed that way, with the longest wait being about a half hour for our entrees. The entire meal was 3 hours and 15 minutes. While we all enjoy a leisurely meal, this was way too long. The restaurant did not seem to be overly crowded, so we had trouble understanding why it was so slow.
On to the meal - in a word, bland. We all know good food, and while the premise of the offerings was good, the execution was not. I had the arugula and fig salad, which was ok, but mediocre, and my husband's spinach appetizer was small but well prepared. It was maybe 3 bites. The best item on the menu that night was the Chet's special butternut squash soup. Really good and really rich. The oyster appetizer was ok, but not impressive. Except for the oysters, all portions were on the small side, definitely not large enough to share if you were so inclined.
I had the gnocchi and beef primo for my entree. It was bland. The dumplings were not good and I, who never add salt to anything, added salt just to give the dish some flavor. The meat portion was decent, but not as flavorful as it could have been. Thank goodness we still had bread left, as we all had it to fill us up! My husband had the duck entree, which he said was just bland. There were only 2 ravioli and there was nothing else to give the dish body. There was a good amount of duck, though, he said. Our companions had the shrimp entree which she said was good but very rich, and her husband had the steak, which was large and looked to be cooked to perfection.
Dessert was, I'm sorry to say, not good. My husband and I split the plum tart, which was insipid and the plums tasteless. The crust of the tart was very good. Very disappointing, overall. Our companion had the chocolate cake which was ok, but nothing special, according to his wife.
We will not be going back to this restaurant, especially since our meal was nearly $250 without tip. We definitely did not get our money's worth. It' s miss for us. Too bad. We need fancy restaurants but this isn't it.
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