Pitch-Perfect Pub Grub at Ipswich’s Choate Bridge

Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Casual/Pub Food, Choate Bridge Pub, Ipswich, Seafood | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

After spending hours doing yardwork on Saturday, we were in the mood for relaxation: laughing over a few beers, hearty sustenance, and a laid-back atmosphere.  We found ourselves at the Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich, which filled the bill perfectly.

Long a favorite hangout for Ipswich locals, the pub is named for the adjacent historic bridge, one of the oldest stone-arch bridges in the country.

The restaurant’s configuration, divided between a bar and dining room is a bit odd to navigate, with three entrances but no obvious hostess station to inquire about seating. The large bar was packed and pretty loud, so we opted for the dining room. The atmosphere is typically pubby, with friendly waitresses, wooden booths, menus printed on the paper placemats, and specials scrawled on a chalkboard.

Taking advantage of the free popcorn machine, we munched fresh, hot popcorn while sipping our drinks and perusing the menu. We started off with a buffalo calamari appetizer special that was fine but unspectacular ($11.95). The squid weren’t particularly tender, but this at least helped them from being overwhelmed by the buffalo sauce, and the portion was plenty for four people.

For entrees, two of our party decided on the haddock special, ($11.95) which was a deep-fried bonanza that included both onion rings and fries. The fish portions were generous and the fillets were tender, fresh, and lightly breaded.

I opted for the deluxe pub burger ordered medium rare ($8.95 accompanied by french fries. For $7.50, the regular pub burger comes with chips). It was  served on an onion roll with lettuce, tomato, and pickles and done perfectly—a tasty grilled char on the outside but lightly pink and juicy in the middle.  Really, it was a damn good burger I would order again without question.

Aside from burgers, Choate Bridge is known for their pit barbeque plates, and the last member of our group went for the lamb tips plate served with choice of starch and vegetable/salad ($14.95). The meat was tender and flavorful, grilled with a house-made sauce and once again, the portion quite generous.

If you’re headed back from the beach this summer and looking for a change from the ubiquitous clam shacks, try stopping into Choate Bridge to see what they’ve got on the grill. It’s not fancy, but neither are the prices or their attitude.

Choate Bridge Pub
3 South Main Street, Ipswich
(978) 356-2931
www.choatebridgepub.com

Choate Bridge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Restaurants Bloom on the North Shore

Posted: April 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

It was a mild winter, but it still feels wonderful to welcome spring. There’s lots happening on the North Shore food-wise, with new restaurants starting up and farm stands re-opening in many towns.

But first, we need to congratulate the winners of the Warwick Film and Food Festival. Swampscott’s City Grill won the judges award for taste with their smoked beef short rib rillette with candied green tomato and soft polenta. Pickwick Baking Company was the big winner of the night, winning for best presentation and best film pairing (a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party a la “Alice in Wonderland”). Pickwick’s Alison Ryan put her tantalizingly delicious macarons into a woodland fairy-tale setting that delighted the judges and the crowd. City and Pickwick tied for the Best of the Festival Award. Last but not least, Kappy’s Liquors won the people’s choice award for keeping Coppola wines flowing to match their “Godfather” theme. You can see photos of all of the awesome restaurants entries here.

We start the restaurant news with the folks at Serenitee Restaurant group (Cala’s, Alchemy, 15 Walnut), who just opened Maggie’s Farm on Rt. 114 in Middleton. A pub-style restaurant, Maggie’s features starters like smoked goat cheese jalapeno poppers, roasted pork tacos, and crispy corn and crab cake. Entrees include seafood jambalaya, stuffed eggplant, and pan-roasted statler breast; there are also pizzas and sandwiches to choose from.

Next, the Wenham Tea House has re-opened under the management of Henry’s of Beverly, with Peter Capalbo (owner/operator of Beverly’s Tryst) as the executive chef. In addition to breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and weekend brunch, the take-out options feature selections from Henry’s and loose-leaf tea from Hamilton’s Jolie Tea Company. They’re building a 70-person patio and will be holding wine dinners starting in the summer.

Several new restaurants are coming to Salem, including Life Alive organic café in the former Coven location on Essex St., Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt on Lafayette St., Something’s Brewing on Wharf St. (a new tea shop), and Three Potato Four on Washington St. (baked potato snacks with a variety of toppings).

Endicott College’s School of Hospitality Management has announced their restaurant’s spring schedule. Dinners at La Chanterelle Restaurant begin at 6:30 and feature seasonal selections prepared and served by students. Call for more information and reservations: (978) 232-3040. You can also sign up for their mailing list.

Three new food shops are opening in Marblehead. In Old Town, the Candy Pop Sweet Shoppe will feature penny candy, bulk candy, organic candy, vegan candy, sugar free candy, popcorn, and dessert pops, while Captn’s Bakery will offer artisan bread, bagels, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. In downtown, Absolutely Fabulous will serve up specialty cakes on Atlantic Ave.

For those who can’t wait to buy local produce, Russell Orchards in Ipswich will open on April 28, Cider Hill in Amesbury will open on May 4, and Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton is open already with pansies, home-made treats, and lambs and piglets for the kids to see. And Swampscott is getting its own farmer’s market, located at the high school (200 Essex St) and open from 10am to 1pm on Sundays from mid-June to October.

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