- I do not know as much about my home town, Manchester NH, as I thought
- I may already be living in one of those up and coming foodie locales that I was reading about
The atmosphere was cozy but open, with obvious attention paid to mix a modern feel while having the exposed beam and brick pay homage to Manchester’s Mill Town roots. We were both happy to see that the kitchen was open allowing us as food dorks to sit and watch the action and, since everything appeared to made to order, there was a lot of action. The staff was fabulous, when they overheard us talking in detail about food and food experiences they were only too happy to converse with us about some of the restaurant’s other dishes. As Jay put it “we found our people”. Our server even gave recommendations on where to find some good local beef and bison for home cooking.
Starter: Hummus Republic Style and a Basket of Fresh Foccacia. To drink Jay had Bonny Doon Vin Gris Cigre, a French style rose while I had a glass of Diana’s White Sangria.
The foccacia came to the table nice and hot with the fresh bread smell that we all love made us both smile. It was toasted so that the crust was crunchy but the inside stayed soft and welcoming. There was a bit of sweet onion on the crust which went very well with my sangria that was light and fruity without being too sweet. Jay mentioned that the slight sweetness of the onion made the tartness of his wine come out. The hummus was terrific, creamy with some texture throughout and a slight hint of heat. We both agreed that we could taste: dill, tomato, red pepper (this is where we think the heat came from), and some type of aged cheese. As we ate the hummus we immediately started coming up with ideas for variations on this recipe that we could make at home. As many of you will agree, often times the sign of a good dining experience is that it immediately sparks your own cooking creativity. This definitely happened at the Republic, numerous times.
You could smell Jay’s burger before it got to the table, and the great thing is that what you smelled, and tasted, was beef….not grease. Jay best described the beef by explaining that it tasted “clean”. There was no need for an overdose of salt or seasoning as the meat had such a wonderful flavor and it was allowed to be the star. The arugula on top was a perfect match and Jay said that they just “go together”. The Malbec was a great match too, peppery with an earthy taste and just a hint of wood smoke. The long smooth finished really went well with the freshness and earthy flavor of the beef.
Not to be out done the frites were no mere side dish, they were a standout all their own. What made them so wonderful and surprising is that they were fried and served with fried capers which gave them the saltiness that you look for with fries without having them covered with table salt. The saltiness was almost infused into the fries, similar to what happens when you drizzle them with malt vinegar. This way allowed them to stay crispy. Delicious (and I know this because I stole more than one from Jay’s plate!)
Though full we needed to try dessert (all in the name of research you know) and settled on the Olive Oil Cake with citrus. The cake was similar to a crumb cake but was moist enough that it would be eaten on its own. Plated with two types of sauces, one a citrus sour cream, the other a honey citrus sauce, the cake was the perfect ending to our meal. Jay commented that a small portion would make a lovely palette cleanser between courses since it wasn’t very sweet.
So, whether you are looking for a great meal, or want a friendly fun place to have some wine and appetizers the Republic Café would be a good fit. Their menu is specifically designed to allow for a group of friends to socialize over some great drinks and share some wonderful dishes. They have cold and hot antipasti that can be mixed and matched to allow a sampling of everything. Just make sure you order the frites, or, steal some from your husband……
You can find the Republic Café at:
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