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The Boardroom (Varsity Club) - new resto Salem, NH

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The Boardroom (Varsity Club) - new resto Salem, NH

Rabbit | | Jan 11, 2009 06:51 AM

The Boardroom is the re-incarnation of the former DeVito's in Salem, NH. It's a large two-storied resto with a formal dining room downstairs and a sportsbar on the top floor (now called the Varsity Club).

The main dining room is quite pretty with a large and comfortable bar area and an open kitchen. There are big windows and enough space for a grand piano. We were informed that they will be having a jazz ensemble in for Saturday evenings and Sunday brunch. Note that there are large televisions in the bar area, which I personally detest in any establishment that considers itself fine dining, but that said, this is undoubtedly the nicest dining room in Salem.

The menu is Italian-ish, although there's really a little bit of everything with grilled meats, a greek pasta, sesame crusted ahi tuna, hickory smoked ribs, and even fish and chips. I'm always anxious that a kitchen with a do-everything approach simply can't execute such wide variety particularly well. We made some mistakes in ordering, but next time around I think we could navigate the menu a little better.

We started with a couple of cocktails (a manhattan and a gimlet), both properly executed. We weren't overly hungry and honestly none of the starters really caught our attention, so we went straight to mains. Mr. Rabbit opted for the veal scaloppini from the pasta menu. The dish looked very monochromatic and it tasted quite Olive Garden, making it entirely forgettable. My tuna was slightly overcooked, but still tasty enough. It was described as coming-with stir fried vegetables and white rice. This sounded like a relatively clean and healthy plate, but the veg and rice were a drowning in a gloop-y mess of soy sauce and sugar (the once white rice was very, very brown and there was a lot of oil at the bottom of my dish). Both servings were very generous. With dinner, I put back a glass of chianti chosen from a serviceable wine list. We opted out of dessert - a choice of chocolate or cheese cakes or creme brulee (the creme brulee is house made, cakes are sourced elsewhere). Service seemed like it was still finding its feet a bit, but the bar is a fun place to sit so we really weren't concerned.

We popped up to the Varsity Club (the sports bar upstairs) after dinner, and this has clearly become the place to be in Salem (not that there are a lot of choices). The room was packed (around 9:00) and there was a lot of buzz.

Sooo, I was definitely not blown away by the Boardroom, but that said I can almost surely guarantee that I'll be back. I'm thrilled to have an in-town option other than the Colosseum... and I think that we could "order better" next time around. While our choices both tasted like mall food, the kitchen was turning out some steaks that looked quite nice. Next time, I'd go for something from the grill and something green from the a la carte side dish menu. Otherwise, I might opt for one of their green salads with a some protein (you can add beef, chicken or shrimp to all salads). I sincerely wish these restauranteurs well, and I think the Boardroom is a much welcomed and much needed addition to Salem.

www.theboardroomnh.com

PS - I'll post a couple of pics at www.rabbitreporting.com

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