Tag Archives: restaurants

Chowder Greatness: River House

Portsmouth NH’s River House Restaurant should be on your must-try list if you would like to enjoy some of the best seafood chowder in the region. I have had the pleasure of dining at this quaint establishment a few times over the past few years and was always met with consistent chowder greatness, no matter the season ~ an impressive feat for any restaurant.

river house 4

I remember the first time I walked into the River House. It was a late-winter afternoon peppered with light, feathery snow showers that showcased giant tongue-catching flakes. Downtown Portsmouth is beautiful any time of year, but that day, a coating of glimmering white kisses made it feel electric.  My husband and I wandered up Bow Street under a giant umbrella, looking for a warm spot and cold beer. We chose the River House, a new place in the neighborhood at 53 Bow.

River House 2

We ordered the seafood chowder with a cold beer after briefing the menu and chatting with the warm staff. What a delight we found! I consider myself a bit of a chowder snob, since I make a damn great one myself, not to mention that I try the house chowder (if it is on the menu), almost everywhere I go. But this creamy, dreamy bowl of succulent sweetness was downright delicious.

It was so good, in fact, that we went back by the River House the next day to get a quart-to-go to enjoy at home. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t the magical atmosphere of a snowy afternoon in Portsmouth that made the chowder taste so good. Nope. It wasn’t magic, it was simply great. Ever since that day, every time I am in Portsmouth, I visit the River House for their fantastic chowder.

RIVERHOUSE CHOWDER

My last visit, on a quiet Monday night, cemented my affection for the place and prompted this review.

The A-frame chalkboard standing guard outside the front door announced that the deck was opening in 4, no – cross that out, 3 more days! I love deck dining and I liked the enthusiasm the tiny sign shouted, especially after a long winter.

Inside, I sat at the bar and ordered the seafood chowder and a cold Sam Adams Summer Ale. The girls working the bar I chatted with were funny, engaging and genuine. The seafood chowder…delicious, as always, served with Westminster Oyster Crackers. Another hit for me.

river house 3

Portsmouth, NH has a lot to offer in the way of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and fun. For those who wish to enjoy a warm, creamy, seafood-filled bowl of heaven, accompanied by an ice-cold beer while visiting this beautiful port-city, the River House is the place for you. Come meet the friendly staff, eat some great food and peer out over the handsome Piscataqua River. I have never regretted my visits there and you won’t either.

Jaime’s Restaurant: A Hidden Gem

Hunting for a hidden gem, I went to Jaime’s Restaurant located in the beautiful and historic Davis & Furber Mills at 25 High Street in North Andover, Mass. On my  visit there, I had the pleasure of talking with one of the owners, Jaime Faria, who has tirelessly run the restaurant with business partner Wally Santos since November 2010. Along with its collaborative and fresh menu, dedicated staff, cool-vibe atmosphere and great beers on tap, Jaime’s Restaurant is well worth seeking out.

Jaime's Blackboards

As you work your way inside the refurbished machine shop mill to Jaime’s, you are met with high, industrial ceilings and brick and mortar walls, evidence of the wool industry in North Andover that lasted from the late-1800s until the 1980s. Sprinkled throughout the restaurant hang giant blackboards with colorful chalk displays of the menu and specials offered. An inviting atmosphere.

Jaime's Deck

The main dining room has casual seating with a semi-private area for special events or parties, but the bar is the star! As you walk past the open kitchen, the bar wraps around the large  room with seating for dozens of customers. Rock music plays at a conversational level and there are several TV’s to catch the game of the day. There’s even outdoor seating for warmer weather dining, which is nestled in between brick buildings.

Jaime's Gears 2

Although the restrooms are in a common area, the view of the original machine shop gears and flywheels painted bright red adds to the appeal of the building and the restaurant’s ambiance.

        nbt aleJaime's Potatoes

 When I sat down at the bar, I was met with a bowl of handmade potato chips served with a tangy and addictive chipotle-ranch dressing. I munched on the kettle-style chips as I cruised the menu, which is changed seasonally.

Jaime's Rolls My choice for food included Sesame Crusted Tuna Ahi, Vegetable Spring Rolls and Chicken Tinga Quesadillas, served with a cold and delicious Newburyport Pale Ale. The Tuna Ahi was thickly cut with generous slices cooked perfectly, served with an Asian slaw and wasabi. A liberal portion of spring rolls was crispy with snappy veggies inside, along with a tasty ginger dipping sauce. The quesadilla was grilled and large enough for three with succulent chicken, spinach and blended cheeses melted together in harmony, dotted with a cilantro crema. Delightful.

Jaime's Beer

North Andover has many dining establishments to choose from, as well as a few good hang-outs for locals, but none compares to the coolness of this well-loved place. The deck will be open in the spring, and I am looking forward to going back to dine outside under the stars and to converse with the regulars. I suggest the next time you are looking for a hidden gem, no matter what season, think of Jaime’s Restaurant. You will not be disappointed.