A few weeks I met the very passionate owner of Tuscan Kitchen. He was at the Top Desserts event serving artisan meats and cheeses and effusing about his (newish) restaurant, which is way out in Salem, NH. That is way out for me.
Ever since meeting him and thoroughly enjoying our conversation and of course the amazing breads, which they make at the restaurant, cheese and meats, both Stacey and I kept saying we needed to venture out there to see what it was all about. The website definitely adds to the lure of the place.
On a hot Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, we decided to make a day of it. Surprisingly, the drive was just about 30 minutes with no traffic. The restaurant is reminiscent of an Italian villa and located on main street just minutes away from Canobie Lake Park.
It was early afternoon and the place was relatively quiet – after the lunch crowd but before the dinner crowd. We were greeted by a super friendly host and offered a table or inside or out. We decided on outside. Enclosed in a smallish patio with wrought iron tables and chairs and a cozy fire pit off to the side, we felt we made the right choice. The view is not great as you are looking straight at the car park, so we both chose to face inwards and look at the patio. This definitely gave more of a feel of being in an Italian village on a warm day.
Our waiter came over to talk about the menu, specials and to tell us a little about the history of place. He was equally as passionate about his place of work as the owner was. Starting with a crisp, fresh glass of Soave and crusty Tuscan bread, we perused the menu and wanted so many things. This is true Italian with a plethora of meats and cheeses, pizzas and pasta dishes, along with a large offering of tasty looking entrees.
We started with the Grand Tasting of Artisan Cured Meats and Specialty Cheeses. A superb selection of tastings that complemented the house-made Tuscan bread to perfection. My favorite being the creamy fresh Burrata drizzled with the most amazing truffle honey. I also loved the salty meats, especially the prosciutto. Bread, burrata, prosciutto and truffle honey sandwich – oh my!
For my main I picked the half portion of Lobster Ravioli. Large freshly made, unbelievably perfect pasta absolutely filled to bursting with huge chunks of juicy lobster meat. The ricotta added a delicious creaminess to the dish along with the sweet tomatoes and carmalized fennel. Truly fantastic.
Stacey picked the half portion Ravioli Ai Quattro Formaggi. Equally as good as the Lobster Ravioli with the perfectly created pasta and a mouthwatering aroma of truffle. This is a dish cheese is created and loved for. Heavenly good with the musky taste of truffle and sweetness of the brown butter sauce.
Half portions are more that enough for an overindulgent lunch and of course leave room for dessert.
As pretty as the dessert looked it couldn’t stand up to the pasta dishes or indeed the Burrata with truffle honey of our starter. All of the gelatos and sorbets are house-made and were very good.
After lunch we asked if we could take a look around this enormous restaurant. We were free to go wherever we wanted. The inside is spacious, warm and welcoming with a large open kitchen and a brick oven for the pizzas. Upstairs they have a really nice wine bar that I can imagine draws quite a crowd in the evening. Numerous private rooms were hosting a shower when we took a look.
I will be going back soon with some visitors I have coming in from England. The Lobster Ravioli is worth the drive alone.
This is a great place to go with your family, friends for a celebration or just to do something a little different on a weekend afternoon followed by shopping at the new Merrimack Outlets, which is exactly what we did.
They have a store opening in the fall across from the restaurant, which I will be driving to if only to buy the Truffle Honey.