I seem to miss more local food events than I actually make it to, but in this case my husband and I did manage to squeeze into the very last day of NH Restaurant Week 2017, and we chose La Belle Winery in Amherst, NH. While I have eaten there twice for lunch with friends over the years, it was his first time and I’m so happy that we had a great experience. It seems so rare that he and I go out together, and when we do sadly we end up having a bad meal experience more often than not. It is very unfortunate that our dates don’t measure up too often, especially given how very rarely we can go out together (I’m talking 2-3 times a YEAR, at most). I distinctly remember that we went out for dinner three times in 2017, and 2 out of the 3 times were a disappointment. I am very happy to show you the one winner of 2017, and it was La Belle!
I am a high value seeker when it comes to restaurant dinners, and I think there is hardly a better value than the 3 course dinners offered during NH Restaurant Week. Sure, the menus are limited, but this is a once-a-year opportunity to try an excellent (and normally expensive) restaurant for a very good price. I believe last year the prix fixe menu at La Belle was $35, which is an outstanding value if you’ve ever seen their regular menu prices.
La Belle is of course, famous for their wines so I started with a red wine flight and got to sample their Granite State Red, Americus, and Red Alchemy. Only drawback? The pours are too small. Ha ha, Just kidding….. I’ve never been able to figure out if 3 small pours are a better value than one full glass, but I think it varies from place to place. The only thing I’m sure of is that there just never is enough wine. And it was delicious.
3-Course Prix Fixe Menu
For me, the first course was the best and nothing else topped the amazing pork belly that I had. Pork belly was of course the trendy ingredient of the culinary world in 2017, and with good reason. It’s absolutely delicious. I’m glad to see it getting the attention it deserves. It was complemented perfectly with the smooth and creamy texture of the yogurt dill cucumber sauce.
My husband ordered the mussels in curry sauce, and we were dying over the aroma. He enjoyed it very much, but was absolutely vocal about wishing he had also ordered the pork belly. We’re still kinda talking about it a year later.
Unfortunately, because I take too long to blog things, all mention of the 2017 NH Restaurant Week menus have been removed online so I can’t go back and reference was was actually offered for the main course. (note to self: take a photo of the menu next time…..) I had a wonderful chicken entree, but I cannot tell you exactly what was in it. Sadly, the sun had gone down and erased every bit of natural light for my photos. The yellowish interior lights came on just in time for our entrees to be delivered to our table, so I lost the opportunity for good light for the photo.
Dave again went for the seafood and enjoyed sorting through his giant bowl of baked breaded seafood hodge-podge. Notice again the sweet little bouquet of micro greens on top of every dish. I’m beginning to think it’s La Belle’s signature garnish.
And lastly, we both chose the lemon tart for dessert which was just a wee thing (thankfully without the micro greens), but it was so pretty, and tart enough that it was a perfect palate cleanser after our meal.
It was such wonderful meal and experience that could not be dampened even by the most pretentious conversations going on around us that you could possibly imagine. We are looking forward to 2018 Restaurant Week, and who knows? Maybe we’ll go back to La Belle simply because we know it’s consistent for great food. I always like to try as many new places as I can, but (see above) when you only get to go out a couple of times a year with your husband, it’s a tough gamble, and an opportunity that I don’t want to waste.