During a recent trip to the seacoast, I eagerly took on a recommendation of the new-ish Hayseed Restaurant at Towle Farm in Hampton, NH. Owned by Smuttynose Brewery, the spot opened in February.
It was a Saturday around 4pm when we pulled into the large parking lot for both the restaurant and impressively large brewery, also new. The lot was close to full and a few boisterous folks came out of the restaurant, which is situated in a modest Victorian farmhouse.
My accomplice in cuisine (husband) and I walked to the un-showy entrance…it was like a homey front porch. We opened the door to find an unexpected buzz, at least at this time of day. But then again, we were there to enjoy a late afternoon beer and snack, so why not others? The host was on queue and led us through the open dining room/bar area to the back…to a set of stairs that led upstairs. You know that feeling when you don’t get to sit in the “cool kids” section and have to settle for the overflow zone in the back? That feeling creeped on initially, but once I noticed the energy level upstairs came close to that of the main area downstairs, my disappointment was squashed.
We sat next to the window and took in our comfortable surroundings…very bright, clean and simplified. Two large blackboards displayed on the walls showed the day’s beer selections and food specials. Needing some guidance with the beer list, I asked our server a couple of questions and then opted for a flight of Finestkind IPA, Shoals Pale Ale, Gravitation Belgian Style Ale and Short Weiss, (Finestkind and Gravitation were my favs.)
Because we had dinner plans elsewhere later, we opted for appetizers. Mussels with a garlic arugula cream option sounded divine, and a no-brainer second choice was an order of pommes frites. And just minutes after selecting the two, we added a third – the day’s cheese plate.
The mussels were plump and tasty and that cream sauce was to die for! A side of grilled bread to soak up the goodness was especially appreciated. The pommes frites were soggy, but their accompanying mustard, ketchup and aioli sauces were good guises. And the cheese plate – spectacular! Beautiful. Three cheeses…a blue, a smoked mozzarella, and a soft brie-like one, with honey drizzled lightly atop each. Crostini were displayed, as well as a jalapeño jelly and a spiced preserve topped with candied ginger. Pickles, pickled onions and porcini mushrooms were also on the side.
The menu is great for snacking, but also offers plenty of sandwich and entrée options including pulled pork, veggie pot pie, Bolognese and schnitzel! We’ll be back for dinner.
Prices are reasonable – snacks and starters: $2 - $10; entrees: $13 - $19