Friday, November 14, 2014

Restaurant Week Spotlight: Moxy

Last year, about this time, I used Restaurant Week as an opportunity to visit the newly opened The Rosa on State Street. I got all dolled up, ate some amazing food, and had an absolutely marvelous time. Restaurant Week is such a great impetus for a night out on the Seacoast that I wouldn't dare waste it when it came around again. After some deliberation, I decided to continue the trend of "new/new to me" and chose Moxy.

Moxy, a hip, streamlined spot on Penhallow Street has been all of the buzz lately around the port city. I appreciate a good meal, so I try to eavesdrop as heavily as possible on conversations regarding restaurant experiences and the consensus was overwhelmingly positive. Not surprisingly, as the heart and soul behind the operation come with some serious credentials. Owner Jay McSharry is the Jay in behind Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe, and Matt Louis, Chef and Owner, worked with Bouchon, The French Laundry, and even Per Se in New York City. Louis also recently participated in the Seacoast Rep's successful series of food talks, winningly entitled "Eat It Up!", which celebrated local movers, shakers, and innovators in the foodie world. This background, combined with that curious sign (modern American tapas? Oh?) was more than enough to get me through the door.

It was wonderful. The menu was the most interesting and enticing that I have seen in a long time, with options that were first class, but without pretension. With options like "Johnny Cake Community" (cornmeal pancakes, brown sugared pork shoulder, house sauces, crispy onion, pickled cucumbers), "Sauteed Delicata Squash" (autumn squash puree, cranberries, sunchoke chips, pea shoots), and "Fried Dough", if good old fashioned fried dough were getting dressed up for a date (chocolate, maple caramel, apple chutney, blueberry compote, oh my). Here's how it works. Everyone at the table choose three or four small bites (three each was more than enough for the black hole stomachs of my boyfriend and I) and then I recommend sharing, because you won't want to miss anything. This aspect really makes it more of a dining experience. We couldn't wait for our next dish to come out of the kitchen, to see how beautifully it was presented and then, of course, to taste it! My personal victory for the evening was getting my date to try blood sausage. Trust me. Don't be afraid. Try the blood sausage.

Of course, in true Portsmouth style, there is a fabulous selection of local beers (flights available!), but I was most amazed by the number of local farms and suppliers that Moxy uses. The list is on the back of their classy wooden plank menus and it truly enhanced the experience to know that the cost of your dinner, in many ways, goes right back into your community and local economy. Shop local. Eat local. Moxy gives its love to this area, give it some love back and plan a date to go out to dinner and experience the food, atmosphere, and excellent service. Restaurant Week may be nearly behind us now, but I am sure that the kitchens at Moxy will continue to raise the bar in the city for quality and innovation, hopefully for many years to come. And if you are reading this on 11/14 or 11/15, you still have a chance to catch their amazing Restaurant Week menu!

A big thank you to Lady Pickwick's for letting me borrow beautiful, made in Paris, La Vie jewelry pieces for the evening out. The heirloom quality brass, Swarovski crystal earrings are $48 at Lady Pickwick's, the beautiful delicate medallion necklace is $64, and the bracelet is $84. They are only a small selection of the many lovely, vintage inspired styles available at the boudoir shop on State Street, two doors down from Pickwick's Mercantile! Also, many thanks to Chris D'Amore of Chris D'Amore Photography for accompanying me and taking the wonderful photographs!

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