Monday, April 14, 2008

Brookstone Grille

Not too far away from the Salem / Derry line on Rt. 111 is what I would normally call a country club. The place is called Brookstone Park, which encompasses a golf course, practice range, miniature golf, an "ice cream shoppe," and the subject of this blog entry: The Brookstone Grille. (Apparently, the owners just love those quaint silent-e endings).

I knew about the Brookstone Grille for a while, but its location was a bit out of the way. My youngest daughter had pizza there a couple of times with a few friends from school, and all of a sudden, I started getting email from the Grille sent to my email address, but addressed to Sandra. What was even stranger is that every November, I get a special offer from the place for my birthday (Sandra's birthday is in November, not mine... whoever signed us up for this email must have gotten a wire crossed; the email doesn't appear in any way to be SPAM).

Last summer, Sandra and I decided to give the place a try.

Like most golf courses, the landscaping of the place is very nice. There's ample parking, although the spots closest to the restaurant always seem to be full. There is an enclosed full service bar area, a dining area, and a special area on the other side of the bar for a pizza and raw bar.

The place settings in the dining room look expensive, and the menu seems to specialize in grilled steak, chicken, and pork chops. There's also a section of the menu for pasta, fish, and other entrees as well. The prices are moderately high, but not abnormally so for a restaurant of this type. If the dining room is too fancy for you, you can always opt for the more casual atmosphere of the bar, or perhaps the raw bar (I've never eaten in the raw bar area, though). The full menu is available in the bar, which makes it very attractive for Sandra and me.

For appetizers, Sandra and I love the Pot Stickers, which are prepared in a large bowl with the dumplings sitting on top of the tip, and service with an interesting and spicy vegetable slaw. I've also had the Buffalo wings, although I believe that this is only served occasionally as an appetizer special.

The raw bar selections are amazing. Neither Salem nor Derry are on the seacoast, but the selections are always fresh. They offer tasty oysters, Cherrystone clams, seared tuna, and beef carpaccio. My favorite from the raw bar is what the Grille modestly calls their Colossal Shrimp Cocktail. At $3.50 per shrimp, and $18 for a half dozen, this seems to be expensive, but you won't believe the size of the shrimp you get! Those half dozen shrimp can be a main course in and of itself—and I've made them my meal on more than one occasion. They arrive perfectly chilled, and are presented with every two shrimp intertwined together and service with a deliciously wonderful cocktail sauce.

Sandra loves the creamy chowder at the Grille as well as the salads, and has had soup and salad for her meal many times. She has also had the pizza there, which is made fresh in-house. Sandra's favorite pizza here is the four-cheese pizza.

When I ordered a steak at the Grille, it was done exactly the way I ordered it (Medium-Well), and it was delicious.

Sandra and I visit the Grille once every month or two, mostly sitting in the bar and watching the local sports teams on the wide screen televisions there.

If I had to rate this restaurant, I'd probably give it three and a half to four stars (out of five). The food is always fresh and plated well. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting—even the bar isn't too loud.

Perhaps this summer, Sandra and I will try out the miniature golf there, and perhaps end up at the Ice Cream Shoppe...!