Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: Riding the Waves at Surf

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A few weekends ago, I went to the birthday dinner of a friend at Surf in Nashua, NH. Been wanting to eat there for a long time but just seemed to always end up somewhere else. J and I were the first ones to arrive for our reservation and the first thing I noticed was how much larger the restaurant appeared to be compared to the days of the Paradox restaurant (I spent way too much there in my early 20's). While the room was the same shape and size, the lighting really opened up the space. I wasn't a fan of the color, a very light mint green, or the general decor but it wasn't unpleasant.

I ordered a glass of the Paso A Paso Tempranillo while we waited for our friends to arrive and J had Hennessey on the rocks. The Tempranillo was a rich shade of plum but had a little too much acidic bite for my taste. I knew after just a couple sips that it wasn't going to get better and I would not be ordering another glass. A friend was drinking a cabernet our waiter had recommended and after trying his, I switched over to the same and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, I forgot to ask the name of it so now I have no idea what I was drinking! But it was good. haha.

When our whole party arrived, they brought out baskets of fresh bread, cinnamon, cranberry and a plain french style bread. Yummy. Can't go wrong with fresh bread and even though I'm not big on sweets with my meal, I can appreciate offering different varieties to diners. It's a nice touch.

My friends order the raw sampler and offered everyone some. I tried the ceviche which was served on a tortilla chip. The ceviche was very nice, tangy and sweet but I think a crostini or pita toast may have been a better vehicle for delivery.

The menu had a lot of mouthwatering options. I had a really difficult time deciding what to order and asked our waiter, Rob, if I could order last after he had come back several times and everyone else was ready but me. I finally decided on the Surf salad, mixed greens w/ onions, bell peppers and a tamari ginger vinaigrette, and a half portion of the Surf and Turf which consisted of a tenderloin fillet, chive mashed potatoes topped with a crab cake and a drizzle of bearnaise sauce and served over grilled asparagus. Being blessed (or cursed, depending on your view) with a healthy appetite, I was worried that a half portion would not be enough food and I would be ravenous for the rest of the evening. But, my fears were allayed when the meal came out because it was clearly enough food. So much, that I was still eating once everyone elses' plates were cleared away (might be because I'm a talker but I like to think it was from the generous portion). I can only imagine how large the regular portion is!

The salad was just a basic house salad with mixed greens but the dressing was very good. Sweet and tangy without being too acidic. The fillet was a perfect med-rare, with a very red center (the way I like it!), and super tender. The mashed potatoes were creamy and light and the crab cake and bearnaise were divine. I would have been happy eating nothing more than crab cakes. The asparagus were cut in half lengthwise, which added an interesting texture to the grilling. The whole meal was scrumptious. I felt a little silly ordering steak as my main course in a seafood restaurant but I'm not disappointed that I did.

Our waiter, Rob was very attentive for the most part and pleasant. He knew the menu well. I could have had my water glass refilled a couple of times but I'm a water gulper so that may just be me. For dessert we decided to order to desserts to share for the group since everyone was stuffed but wanted a taste. We had the Key lime torte and a chocolate creme brule. I thought the key lime torte was a little too cream cheesy and didn't have enough lime but the rest of our group really enjoyed it. I preferred the chocolate creme brule. The crust was a little over cooked, giving it a burnt caramel flavor. It wasn't bad but they should watch the blowtorch a little. The chocolate creme was less chocolaty and more caramel-y which was delicious and buttery and I would eat again, however it should be renamed Caramel creme brule.

Surf didn't blow me away. The decor needs some work, the desserts half did their job but the food was very good and I look forward to going back to try some more seafood options next time!