Monday, May 14, 2012

Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth, N.H.

On Friday evening, Z and I drove up to Portsmouth, N.H. to meet my older sister and her husband for dinner. My sister’s birthday is tomorrow – and she’s also a Mom (who just so happens to also be 8 months pregnant) – so we offered to treat her to a nice dinner to celebrate. Z and I chose a restaurant none of us had ever been to before, with a menu that had plenty of options for the omnivores, vegetarians and pregnant people: Black Trumpet Bistro

Black Trumpet Bistro’s food mainly comes from local sources in New Hampshire and Maine (the back of their menu boasts the farms they’re currently working with). The menu, as a result, reflects ingredients that are in-season – and the dishes are innovative, original and downright impressive. The restaurant’s intimate décor is also worth mentioning, from the copper tables to the rustic wooden ceiling beams to the old, brick walls. Z and I felt like we were back in Italy, dining at a historic eatery. We ate on the first level, but the second level had a lively yet classy bar scene.

My sister and her husband were running a little late, so Z and I ordered cocktails and a snack while we waited. I sipped on a 29 Ceres Cup ($12), which was made with gin, Pimms, earl grey syrup, fresh citrus and cucumber (Black Trumpet’s cocktails also incorporate seasonal ingredients). It was refreshing and delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to the Fried Almonds, Olives and Garlic ($6).

Soon after our almonds came, my sister and her husband arrived. We ordered the Harbison cheese plate ($11) for the table – the cheese was a raw cow’s milk wrapped in birch bark from Jasper Hill, Vermont, and was served with raisin birch mostarda.

For my entrée, I decided to get a “Medium Dish” of Baked Polenta Stuffed Mission Fig ($13), which was served with sauteed wild mushrooms and asparagus tips and a vincotto drizzle, along with a bowl of the Asparagus Soup ($9), which came with a dollop of vanilla parsnip cream and some crispy Vidalia onion rings.

I washed my meal down with a Moat Mountain Brewing Pale Ale ($6).

The fig and polenta dish was wildly flavorful and full of fresh ingredients. Several bites were a little too salty, but the dish as a whole was successful. The asparagus soup with the sweet vanilla parsnip cream proved to be a fantastic combination, despite how odd it may sound. The salty, crispy onion strings helped to keep this a savory soup.

Although we were all beyond full at this point, we had to make sure my sister's birthday was acknowledged. She chose the Opera Cake ($8) for her dessert, which was coffee soaked almond genoise (an Italian sponge cake), buttercream and chocolate, served with an orange sauce and whipped mascarpone. The waiter brought it over with a lit candle in the center - and didn't charge us a dime for it. Yay for birthdays!

From start to finish, our dinner at Black Trumpet Bistro was elegant, delicious and all-around enjoyable. The waitstaff was also extremely knowledgeable about the menu, not to mention friendly and accommodating. My sister and her husband don't get to get out of the house too often, so I was really happy we were all able to have such a great dining experience.

What was the best meal you ate this weekend?

Black Trumpet on Urbanspoon


  1. I adore the Black Trumpet! Everything you ate looks amazing.

  2. That sounds fantastic. The best thing I ate was some grilled duck breast that we made on Saturday!

  3. I love Black Trumpet! We grilled on Saturday, and I ate a ton of grilled corn, eggplant, and zucchini. It was amazing.

  4. Sounds wonderful! I had a great acorn squash dish there once. I made a delicious grilled dinner last night.

  5. I've read many rave reviews (including those of the ladies who have commented on this post) of the Black Trumpet. Glad your sister had a great birthday dinner! I love any Pimms cocktail for summer. So refreshing!