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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