The Lyme Inn’s parking lot is jam-packed every Thursday night thanks to “Live Music Thursdays”, so last week I planned a dinner out with my husband, looking forward to music by a “supergroup” composed of Dan Freihofer of Spare Parts, Gary Hubbard of Breakfast of Champions, Pooh Sprague of Sensible Shoes, and Mike Gareau of Cardigan Mountain Tradition.
No surprise we had to park in the inn’s overflow parking just across the street at Lyme Computer Systems before making the short walk to the building. As we entered the tavern, Jack Elliot, the innkeeper and one of the owners, warmly welcomed us and offered a couple of table options, laughing as he pointed out neither would be quiet. Once seated, we were handed dinner and cocktail/wine menus. The band was starting up, and I noticed a happy vibe throughout the recently updated room. I settled in with a smile.
First – cocktails. The cocktail menu isn’t overwhelming, but has great choices that still make it tough to decide. I felt like something warming without actually being warm and, voila, the Sugar House Storymaker made its appearance…“a warming and mellow concoction” with brandy, Lillet, lemon, crystalized ginger, and local “Innkeepers maple syrup” made just down the road at Jack’s house. My husband chose “the gentleman’s drink” (I forget its name), with rye whiskey, bitters, absinthe, simple syrup, and a twist of lemon. Our server took our drink order and asked if we were ready for the rest. We weren’t, but knew the Steamed Mussels, with white wine, garlic, tomatoes, and scallions, under Starters were a must.
By now, the bluegrass/country/rock band was in full swing crooning covers of The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the always-popular “Yippee Ki Yay”. I looked around again at the clientele – groups, couples, young, seasoned. All energized from what I presumed to be the music, comfort food, and craft cocktails.
Our mussels arrived with grilled focaccia, and we ordered entrees while barely holding back from digging in. Once we cleaned the meat out of their shells, while playing Jenga with our discards, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the entrees to arrive. I was slightly confused at what appeared, as it wasn’t the Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad I‘d ordered, but rather the Roasted Breast of Chicken. It looked delicious, so I didn’t acknowledge the mistake. I wasn’t disappointed – the dish’s shallot glaze and watercress complemented the chicken perfectly; plus, who sends back a side of garlic mashed potatoes? My husband got the Grilled Scottish Salmon with stewed red and gold beets, also delicious. (Sidenote: the salmon was served not quite medium rare, so be sure to speak up if you’d like it cooked longer.) Both entrees were hearty.
Even with more than enough food, we gave one of the desserts a go, the Gelato Affogato – vanilla gelato served with espresso, which you can drizzle on or just sip, and chocolate-iced biscotti. We were influenced by the menu’s description to drown the gelato with the decaf espresso shot. I nearly blacked out at this point from all the yumminess.
Delicious food, great music, good service, and happy people will make Thursday nights at The Lyme Inn a definite go-to. Here’s my advice if you decide to check it out (and you should): make a reservation and go with an empty stomach!