About a month ago, berkleybabe posted a request for good chow near Concord, NH where I was headed for a month of work. I took some good suggestions and thought it was be fair to report on a few choice spots.
The best meal by far was at Brianna's Bistro (in Eagle Square across for the Capitol bldg in Concord). Terrific bread. I had an onion and mushroom sautee with polenta and then the chestnut ravioli with a garlic and maple cream sauce. It sounded odd to me, but there was just faintest sense of maple in it. Very tasty. The affordable part of the wine list did not appeal to me much. Dinner, appetizer, one glass of wine plus tip was about $35.
A bunch of us ate at the Common Man (exit 13 off I-93) more than once. It reminded me a lot of the sort of man's chop house that my dad used to like in the 60's - hearty portions, high quality ingredients and a little bit of creativity. The pork tenderloin with plum sauce was very good; grilled trout with with an apple compote was excellent; the duck, as reported by a guy who discovered duck last year, was dry. I am a sucker for garlic mashed potatoes and these were great. The desserts were huge but not completely satisfying - eg, the strawberry shortcake came with a marvelous biscuit, but with way too much whipped cream and not enough liquid to properly moisten the biscuit.
The house labelled wine is weak. Dinner and a glasss or two of wine ran $18 - $30.
I give them points tho for giving me a good table by a window one night when I dined alone with a book. The hostess opened the curtains to give me more light.
In Tilton (about 20 miles north of Concord on I-93) the Tiltin' Diner is part of the Common Man chain. It's a '50's concept diner - a lunchtime burger and chocolate malt were fun, but I wish I'd skipped the meat loaf dinner I had there.
Makris Lobster and Steak House (Rte 106 a few miles out of town) was widely recommended in town as the best seafood house around and I agree. The Shellfish stew consisted of a huge pile of mixed shellfish - 2 lobster claws, mussels, crab meat, scallops and shrimp - in, well not a stew exactly - it was more moistened by a bit of light tomato broth. Others at the table had grilled swordfish, lobster and steak and all were very satisfied.
Finally, when I ordered pancakes for breakfast at the FootHills diner in Warner (20 miles west of Concord on I-89), the waitress suggested I have the single pancake order, unless I knew what I was getting into. She was right - a pancake here is two inches thick and overflows a 10 inch dinner plate. It was a cake, almost. I enjoyed it, but ate a bit less than half of it.
So, thanks for the chowhound suggestions. There is indeed good food in Concord.