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Blue Moon Evolution

Category: Featured Restaurants Written by Sarah G. Grant / April 9, 2012

For over 15 years, Blue Moon Market and Café was a natural food store and casual restaurant. But in the fall of 2010 it morphed into Blue Moon Evolution, an elegant but unfussy lunch and dinner restaurant complete with refined table service, candlelight, white tablecloths, fresh flowers, and a superb locavore fine-dining menu. Much more than a glorified café, it’s worth seeking out this new Moon.

 

The Gallant family, with mom Kathy at the lead, has been passionately pursuing healthful eating since Blue Moon’s inception in 1995. Gallant has implemented progressive details into menus along the way, including introducing humanely raised animal products and pioneering the use of local items in a fine-dining setting. Chef Ted McCormack, educated at Johnson and Wales and Le Cordon Bleu, procures all manner of foods from several dozen area farms.

Gallant is committed to educating the community about our food supply. With holistic health and wellness counselor Tracey Miller she’s launched the Food and Health Forum (foodandhealthforum.com), a local-sourced dinner and speaker series, that, she says is “designed to inspire conversation about what we eat, where our food comes from, and how it affects our health.” Taste is now a sponsor of the series.

Boards, items served on polished wooden planks, are one of the eatery’s signatures. The Cheese Board offers an ample trio of New England cheeses, like a creamy Vermont Brie, Maine raw Cheddar, and sheep’s milk feta from New Hampshire. Accompaniments include local honeycomb and house-made apple-pear chutney. The Vegan Board would also delight a raw foodist, with raw sunflower pâté, marinated vegetables, and flax–sundried tomato crisps. TheCharcuterie Board serves up house-prepared pasture-raised meat delicacies with whole-grain mustard and toasted baguette slices alongside.

Ratatouille Tart starter, laden with local veggies like eggplant, zucchini, and tomato and local Cheddar, is baked in a flaky crust made with whole-wheat pastry flour from New Hampshire’s Brookford Farm. In season, there’s also a savory Pumpkin Tart. The Farmhouse Greens salad is a treat of Meadow’s Mirth organic greens tossed with slightly sweet roasted shallot vinaigrette and topped with a perfectly poached Brookford Farm egg and two rashers of Kellie Brook Farm sugar- and salt-cured bacon (no nitrites here).

For entrees, Kellie Brook Farm Pork and Roasted Pear is a pan-seared, pecan-crusted pork loin. Grilled Trout comes with roasted wild mushrooms and horseradish crème fraîche. Free-range Statler chickens raised in nearby Northwood for Blue Moon Evolution are used in Andrea’s Chicken Under a Brick, a sublime dish simply seasoned with parsley, sea salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Local Grass-Fed London Broil is grilled to order and served with red wine reduction and Great Hill Blue cheese.

The dessert menu is short and sweet. The Creamy Cashew Cocoa Torte is fully vegan and made with raw ingredients. Crème Brûlée flavors vary—a special Gingersnap version is made with 80 proof Snap Gingersnap liqueur for a spicy kick.

Blue Moon Evolution offers wine by the bottle, glass, and half glass—a nice option, especially if you’re interested in trying more than one variety. Creative bartender Lenny Willis, a yoga instructor by day, concocts original cocktails like the Precocious Pear, with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, muddled poached pear, lemon juice, and spiced simple syrup. The Beetnik After Dark contains organic beet-infused tequila, Lillet, Cointreau, lemon, and agave. Local beers offered include two that are gluten free, and also worth a try are the honey wines from Moonlight Meadery of Londonderry, New Hampshire—great with the Cheese Board.

A full three-quarters of Blue Moon Evolution’s menu is gluten free, including delicious crusty, chewy French-style bread delivered upon request. There are numerous choices for vegans, vegetarians, raw foodists, and conscientious omnivores. —

Blue Moon Evolution
8 Clifford Street

Exeter, N.H.
603-778-6850

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