October 1, 2009

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T-Bones: 22 new dishes for 25 years
Family restaurant updates its menu

By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

T-Bones Great American Eatery recently rolled-out a new menu, one that took more than three years to create. Twenty-two new items join some old favorites, and the menu itself has an upgraded look to fit the restaurant’s style as T-Bones celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The creation of a new menu “is a long, fun process,” chef Nicole Barreira said. “We look at what’s selling and what we think will sell. We look at some of the top sellers and think about how we can make them better.”

One example of old made new is the popular appetizer sampler. Instead of a combination of four appetizer selections, it now has five. Still included are the boneless Buffalo tenders, fried mozzarella, and bacon cheddar fries, plus two new items — the signature onion rings (just moved to the appetizer menu) and the new Buffalo chicken spring rolls. A twist on both traditional Buffalo chicken wings and Asian spring rolls, Buffalo chicken spring rolls are made with wonton rolls stuffed with grilled Buffalo chicken, bleu cheese crumbles, shredded carrots, celery and tangy Buffalo sauce, rolled in cornflake crumbs and fried crisp.

Ideas for new menu items come from many sources — Barreira, owner Tom Boucher and his partners, managers, the serving staff and customers. For example, the Buffalo chicken spring rolls idea came from a customer e-mail. Other dishes made a trial run on the specials menu, and all new prospective items are demonstrated for the owners and staff to try first before they hit the big time. “I have a chef mindset. I like unique flavors that some of the guests might not like,” Barreira said.

Boucher said of Barreira, “She has a tough job. It’s a lot like being an artist. Some people like an artist’s work and some don’t. She comes at this process with the world as her palette. We have to make sure what she creates works within the limits of our operation.”

Boucher said his favorite new menu addition is the Asian Fusion Salad. Its blend of romaine lettuce, cabbage, shredded carrot, slivered almonds and crunchy chow mien noodles is topped with strips of crispy citrus-honey glazed chicken.

Barreira’s favorite on the new menu is the roasted veggie pizza: “My mom called and said, ‘I saw the veggie pizza on the specials board. Can you put it on the menu?’” The pizza, topped with a cream sauce, baby spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and grape tomatoes, is made with a flavorful multi-grain crust to entice people who don’t normally eat pizza crust. “If people don’t eat the crust on a pizza, it’s because it’s boring and has no flavor,” she said.

The “Bouch”etta Bread was inspired by Boucher, who loves bruschetta. To add a twist to this traditional Italian favorite, Barreira brushed grilled sourdough bread with olive oil and topped it with slices of mozzarella, oven-roasted grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. The dish is baked until warm and topped with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

Long-time T-Bones fans shouldn’t worry; their favorite dishes are still available. Those include the baked line-caught haddock fillet, made with lemon, white wine and butter and topped with garlic crumbs, and the C.B.C. sandwich, made with boneless chicken, that’s breaded and deep-fried and then topped with melted cheddar cheese and bacon strips.

Boucher, who started as the Bedford restaurant’s manager 20 year ago, said, “When you open the restaurant’s doors, it’s like inviting someone into your home. But everything has to be perfect.” Then he added, “I think the common theme is value. There is so much value in all our restaurants, from the way you are treated when you walk in to the food and the prices on the menu. It’s the value of the whole experience, not just the check.”

Barreira said, “If you think about the reasons people go out to dinner, be it a family night out, or a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, you get to be a part of people’s happy experiences and do something to make it better.”


T-Bones Great American Eatery
Five locations in New Hampshire. Go to www.t-bones.com for locations, hours, and the complete menu


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3/12/2009 Irish meals
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5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
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10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
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10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
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6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki ó a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
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3/29/2007 New 'nuches
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1/18/2007 The writing foodie
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12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
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12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
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11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
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10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
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09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
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09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
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07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
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A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís 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
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead ó 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
Itís 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 ó 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: itís whatís 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
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch