The Weekly Whisk - 7/6/22
Musings from a foodie…
Comparison Shopping on The Foodie Front – This past week presented a unique opportunity for our household. Since my wife – Suzanne – was retiring, we decided to celebrate with some friends at two stellar restaurants that we’ve visited in the past on consecutive evenings. The back-to-back dinners allowed us the opportunity to do a bit of comparison shopping on the foodie front. The only issue is that these dinners will require a visit to Southern New Hampshire and Maine. First up was Otis Restaurant [******] a small bistro located in Exeter, New Hampshire. I originally met the Chef, Lee Frank, when he worked with Jason Canty – the owner of Anneke Jans – in my hometown of Kittery, Maine. Just before the pandemic hit, he was extended the opportunity to open his new place and use his 20+ years of experience. We were lucky enough to get reservations at the Chef’s Table (which I highly recommend) so that we could observe all of the prep and serving in real time. The process is a five-course menu with two fixed options for each course. When I say “fixed”, they are very accommodating to the dietary needs of their customers. For example, we had a gluten-free member in our party and they were able to offer the entire menu under those constraints. Each night, they offer up a variety of OUTSTANDING preparations. In fact, while I know I’ve been a bit constrained in my culinary exploits due to the pandemic, I will submit to my readers that Otis Restaurant is the BEST restaurant I’ve experienced in the last 4+ years. If you get to this neighborhood – for either the summer or the fall foliage months – make it a plan to stop by Otis Restaurant. Tell ‘em “Kevin sent me” and maybe they’ll give an extra dollop of something.
The next night we visited the White Barn Inn [*****] which is always at the top of every culinary explorer’s list of places to visit in New England. It was as good as always!! I have no complaints. The preps on all of the portions were wonderful. The seafood was cooked to perfection. The service was outstanding but…but…but…it was no match (in my estimation) for Otis Restaurant. Perhaps it was the presentation along with the food prep that pushed me over the edge – along with our friends – in support of Otis Restaurant as the better of the two options. Nevertheless, the back-to-back comparison of these two outstanding restaurants provided a unique view into culinary excellence. Use the above hyperlinks for locations and contact information.