Black Trumpet Bistro

Our Boston blogger trip to Portsmouth brought us on a fun and food-filled journey that ended in dinner at the highly acclaimed Black Trumpet Bistro. I didn’t know much about the bistro except for the fact that at the Hood Dairy Challenge in 2010, Michelle and I got to taste food made by Chef Evan Mallett, and it was delicious. The Black Trumpet Bistro is on the banks of the Piscataqua River, a fact that is fun for me because my own hometown was settled by the Piscataqua tribe and was called Piscataqua before getting it’s modern day name, Piscataway. Yes, friends, this blog is just full of useful information.

Black Trumpet Bistro

We headed to the Black Trumpet Bistro hours before our reservation to snap some photos in the daylight, you know, since it gets dark at 4:00 these days. I immediately loved the outside; its brick façade, window boxes, and signs make it look very European. I couldn’t wait to check out the inside, but we had awhile before the wine bar opened.

Black Trumpet Bistro

wine bar

After some more wandering around Portsmouth, we finally got a chance to sit at the wine bar at the Black Trumpet Bistro. I adore a good wine bar and have a hard time finding one in the area that are anywhere near as cozy or intimate as my favorite wine bars in Ireland, but this one definitely lived up to my expectations. The dimly lit bar serves some great cocktails and wines by the glass, and with just a few seats, would be the perfect place for a date. We split pitchers of a harvest sangria, and before we knew it, we were ushered to our very large table at the back of the downstairs dining room, another cozy, romantic space. Luckily, it was also empty for our 5:30 reservation and made a great place for nine chatty bloggers.

Black Trumpet Bistro

Portsmouth was celebrating Restaurant Week during out visit, and though I usually find the occasion hit or miss, I ended up ordering off of the special menu both because the price was right but also because I had such a hard time choosing off of the regular menu. I wanted everything!

Black Trumpet Bistro

I got started with a glass of Viognier and a piece of the Black Trumpet’s signature black trumpet mushroom bread. While I was a fan of the citrusy butter, there was something too sweet about the bread for me. It was more like a muffin with mushrooms.

black trumpet bread

For my first course, I ordered the kalamata and black bean soup with mole crème fraiche. The combination intrigued me, and not feeling the best, I wanted a comforting soup. The flavors were definitely interesting, the richness of the black beans enhanced by a subtle brininess from the olives. It was smooth, warm, and flavorful, just what I wanted.

black bean soup

My main course was a truffled squash risotto cake with poached lobster and sauce verte. The fragrant, earthy truffle aroma permeated our dining space, and it made me very excited to dig in. Firm risotto, dotted with soft squash was a delicious base for tender lobster. I didn’t think the sauce verte was even needed and didn’t get much flavor from it. I also got a big chunk of lobster shell, but other than that, the dish was fantastic and very filling.

risotto cake

So filling that I could only muster a bite or two of dessert, a German chocolate beet brownie with milk chocolate frosting and beet whip. The very pink beet whip was tasty, a sweet, fresh whipped cream, and though a small part of the dish, the candied orange peel on top really stood out to me. The brownie was very dense and fudgy; I couldn’t really taste the beet in it, but I could sense a little earthiness. Perhaps some of the density also came from the beet’s presence. I wish I could have eaten more of it, because it was very enjoyable. It was just not to be.

brownie

I thought the Black Trumpet Bistro was, for the most part, very good. The food was solid, though I may still be wishing I ordered a few things off of the regular menu, like the pumpkin soup and the mussels. I would definitely return to try more dishes; their local and seasonal focus means new items

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Tags: Food, Portsmouth, Restaurants, Travel

  1. Michelle’s avatar

    I wish I stole a spoonful of your olive and bean soup. It sounded so intriguing!

    Reply

  2. Bridget’s avatar

    Sorry I had to leave before dinner! Looks delicious!! I went here for Valentines day dinner a few years ago, but I’d love to go back sometime!! Great to see you!! and I can’t remember if I ever commented or anything while I was away but I’m so sorry about your grandmother!! I felt awful when I saw that and that you couldnt come to CA! Hope your family is doing well :)

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Thank you, Bridget :) We were super sad not to go, but I am glad you had such a good trip! I can’t wait to read more about it!

      Reply

    2. Elizabeth’s avatar

      Your meal looks awesome. Especially the soup and cake.

      Reply

    3. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

      I had no idea the river is now called Piscataway! This was a really cozy meal but what a bummer about the shells in the risotto. Glad you liked the wine bar too!

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        I don’t think the river is called that, just my town :) But they’re named after the same thing.

        Reply

      2. Daisy’s avatar

        i like that your town and the river are named after the same tribe. this is such a nice recap of our lovely dinner.

        Reply

      3. Amie’s avatar

        Sounds awesome, will have to try next time I’m in the area!

        Reply

      4. Megan’s avatar

        I liked my squash and potato latke and I would definitely want to try some other dishes there. I’ve heard such good things, and I was a little let down… but it could have just been the particular night.

        Reply

      5. melissanibbles’s avatar

        The beet brownie sounds interesting. I’ve heard of brownies made with black beans, but never beets. I’m intrigued!

        Reply

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