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Northern New England

Mombo in Portsmouth:The Good and the Meh


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Restaurants & Bars Northern New England

Mombo in Portsmouth:The Good and the Meh

opinionatedchef | | Mar 28, 2014 11:42 PM

I have to tell you, I felt so guilty not eating at Black Trumpet, our go-to whenever we go to a show or film at the fantastic Music Hall. But I just wasn't impressed by the BT menu of this week. We WOULD have gone to the Green Monkey, except that it doesn't exist anymore. I asked My Love to choose between Mombo and Moxy, and he chose Mombo.
The Good:
-The room. Handsome comfortable open-to-the-rafters barn construction; wood, chinese red paint, subdued fabrics, antique paintings throughout, all due to Mombo being part of Strawberry Banke.
We sat by the fireplace and had a beautiful view of Prescott Park across the street.
- Bar drinks were good and generous.
--Crispy crusted hot table bread was a nice touch.
-Crab and Butternut Squash Chowder . Rich clean creamy base. Flavorful and lovely, no cornstarch.
- Duck (rare) cooked to perfection with unusually tasty meat.
- Lemon Ice Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream, house made
-Excellent, pleasant, efficient, knowledgeable waitress who was not on Automatic Pilot; she really thought about the details.

The Meh:
-- Special App of Octopus, cavatelli, white beans. I set aside the red pepper marinara sauce (which i detest w/ seafood) so maybe i shouldn't be dissing it because the dish lacked oomph in a major way. But plse tell me- have you ever been served octopus as part of a dish like this- that was MINCED beyond recognition- either taste or visual? Just plain weird.
--The mini torta of swiss chard and chevre, the side to that lovely duck, was mushy in texture and muddy with indistinct flavors. Sambuca demi was made well but i don't find licorice a good complement to duck.

My Love enjoyed his Scallops w/ Cajun Creme Anglaise but i didn't taste it.

Unfortunately, I think this young chef has a long way to go with his palate. (ymmv) Too bad because i loved the room and the feeling and service there. Is there any chef in Portsmouth as talented as Evan at Bl Trumpet?