33 S Commercial St, Manchester, NH | Directions 0310142.985005 -71.467179
Can be great, can be dissapointing – Warning, we came to Manchester after 22 years in Chicago and San Francisco, so we have high expectations.
We eat out every Sunday evening to relax before starting a new work week. We alternate between three or four restaurants, including Cotton and Richard?s Bistro. After about three occurrences of arriving to discover Cotton decided to close early, we took them off our list for a while. So we were excited when CSF decided to open on Sundays. Unfortunately, CSF has become equally frustrating. We heard the host and waitress talk across the restaurant about to close early before another party arrives. And twice before, we?ve arrived to find CSF closed at 7:00 Sunday evening. This week, we arrived a bit late at 7:45 and found the inside door locked. We knocked and the host told us it had been a slow day and the kitchen wanted to go home. Who wants to risk food from a kitchen that doesn?t want you there?
So we headed off to Richard?s Bistro and discovered their dining room was nearly full at 8:00. At Richard?s, we were greeted with warm recognition and seated promptly. Richard has recently tweaked the menu and added $20 daily specials. We enjoyed very professional service, a great meal, signature fresh baked breads, and the total bill was exactly what we usually spend at CSF. I wondered why we should even take a risk showing up at CSF anymore? How do they expect to grow their business?
Over probably a dozen visits, we found the food at CSF to be inconsistent. Our first time, we had the Rhode Island style calamari appetizer and it was fantastic. Second time, rubbery and mushy. Gave it a third chance and it was decidedly mediocre. Never again. On the other hand, the cioppino and both scallop choices on the current menu have been great every time. The clam chowder is very good, but borders on being too rich. The carrot ginger bisque is wonderful. The wine list rarely has anything I crave, but I can usually find an adequate glass.
No need for a Legal's – If you are looking for a Legal type place plan a trip to Starfish. Staff is very freindly and on top of things. The side dishes need some work. The fries though hot were a but soggy and the red bliss potatos need some creativity. I enjoyed the zuccini. The main dish was beyond approach! You can not go wrong here.
The specialty cocktails are a delight as well.
The lighting at the booths was a bit irritating. It they raised raised the light 1 foot it would be fine. Bring a sweater since the AC was a bit overwelming(1 Oct).
Call ahead to see if there is a wait. I dont think reservations are needed yet. I think it is a hidded jewel that needs a chef with some imagination.
Overall though critical, I would go again.
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