April 27, 2006


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A bit Italian, a bit egg foo yong
Tuscan blends with the chef’s imagination
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

Black Orchid Grille is Nashua’s newest urban bistro.

It has wide windows with a brick façade, the dining room is below street level and there are tables that overlook the street.

Crisp white tablecloths, cobalt water glasses and carafes of ice water with oranges acting as stoppers on the tables. This bistro has a small bar and tables ideal for people-watching. Vintage advertising posters for chic Italian beverages line the walls, as does an automated series of palm fans that make you feel like you are on the set of Casablanca.

The menu is funky — a mix of Tuscan, American and the chef’s whim.

Dishes such as pan-seared tuna with pepper served on a tower of seafood egg fo yong with a ginger reduction ($28) sit beside herb-encrusted salmon topped with grilled scallops and shrimp on a bed of red bliss polenta with a Dijon cherry glaze ($26).

“The menu here is eclectic. It is based on my habits in regards to cooking,” said chef and part owner Constantine Brianas. Brianas owns the restaurant with longtime friend Tim Gilbay. They opened Black Orchid Grille in September 2005.

The menu is interesting and not too big – a good sign. Too many restaurants try to do too much and end up doing most of it poorly. Black Orchid Grille seems to have a manageable menu, small enough so that everything is fresh, but large enough to offer a good selection of beef, chicken and seafood.

Brianas says he buys ingredients daily. Fish is delivered to the restaurant each day and three times a week he heads to Boston to get the rest.

The robust flavors of the dishes reflect the freshness.

On a recent visit, I tried the caramelized sea scallops with ricotta lobster gnocchi and pumpkin puree with an almond lemon crema ($14). The scallops were moist and the gnocchi light.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com  

Black Orchid Grille
8 Temple St., Nashua, 577-8910
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

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A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
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You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch