Cabonnay (Manchester, NH)

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The only thing I know about Manchester, is Manchester, United. (Yes, the soccer team)  I’ve heard of Manchester, New Hampshire, but other than that, I don’t know shit about shit.  Hey!  It’s okay to say you don’t know what something is every once in a while.  Well, not politics, because I swear every time it’s election season everyone turns into Benjamin Franklin, and bets his face that he was the best president.  (Please, don’t ruin the joke) During my trip to Manchester, I learned that, well.. I didn’t learn anything.  But, they have an Amazing African-American site about 25 minutes or so away in Portsmouth.  No, I’m not telling you, don’t be lazy, look it up yourself!  This is a food-site!  (Black Heritage Trail. Very Information.  A WOW factor.  You’re welcome)


Food!  The reason you’re here, right?  Cabonnay, which is located off of Bridge St. in Manchester, is led by Chef Angelina Jacobs.  Chef Angelina, who once worked under a 3-Michelin Star Chef, gives off a fascinating menu concept so you already know the food is about to be fire (Genteelism <– I’m going to be using that word a lot!) What was captivating about this restaurant was the menu items.  But, what was astonishing about the menu, Course-Tasting menu to be exact, is that she literally writes a poem every morning to help choose what items are going to be featured.  That’s some next level shit.  Seriously.  The interior of this restaurant is Blazer, casual shoe, date night, and be on your best behavior worthy.  The bar area looks futuristic, the dining areas portray a fancy modern-upscale feel, and the creativity that’s used for art are like no other.


During my visit, I was able to indulge in several menu items.  The items ranged from Gazpacho to Lobster Ramen.  Sit still and grab some popcorn, because it may take me a while to get through this.  Oh, get a bib too.  Drooling is expected.  I’ll start off with the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho.  It consisted of basil puree, avocado crema, and grilled fennel.  If you’ve never had Gazpacho it’s a chilled soup.  The best part of the soup was the Avocado crema.  Cra**. No. Wait. I can’t say Cra**.  What’s another addiction? S**?  Fuck. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but I can honestly say that if I could eat the Avocado crema by itself, I would.  The spices that were displayed in this soup were enigmatic.  I can do my best to try to point out what flavors were used, but just know with each bite you have a kick of spice before each swallow.


The next dish that was presented was the Clam Fettuccine.  It consisted of Little Neck Clams, Chorizo, Tomatoes, Garlic Butter and Celery.  The only thing I absolutely HATED about this dish, was the fact that I didn’t order it again.  I’ve never had Clam Fettuccine with Chorizo before, but, now that I have, should I start questioning chef’s that don’t use it in theirs?  The pasta was cooked perfectly and the garlic butter provided the perfect sweetness to compliment the saltiness of the Chorizo.  If you’re looking for pasta, hope that you’re able to order it when you dine here.  It may or may not be on the menu.  Just depends on if Chef starts off her poem with “In the sea of colors you may find miniature hidden gems”.


The next dish that was presented was the NY Strip.  It consisted of a medium prepared strip with Butternut Squash Puree, Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Corn and Fried Shallots.  I’m trying to figure out if I chewed the steak, because I don’t remember actually chewing it.  The steak literally melts on your tongue and the fact that the Butternut Squash Puree was accompanied with it, didn’t help with me losing my mind over this dish.  The roasted corn was a great addition as well, and worked with Fried Shallots to give off a bit of onion flavor with the Puree.  The Grilled Asparagus gave off a charcoal flavor, but it was much needed for the overall dish.  Not enough words can be used to describe how well this dish was.


The fourth dish that was presented were the Sea Scallops. They sat on top of Cauliflower Puree, Grilled Cherries, Fava Beans, and Candied Carrots.  The Cauliflower Puree was sweet and savory.  I never had this combination with Candied Carrots, but thank Goodness I did.  I love tasting new ingredients that help further my knowledge in food.  One take-away from this dish that I didn’t enjoy were the Fava Beans.  I think the dryness and bitter flavor of the Fava Beans didn’t work well with this dish.  Some people prefer dry with sweet, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.  The Scallops were cooked perfectly and had the perfect sear on them, too.


The last dish that was ordered was the Lobster Ramen.  If you love Ramen as much as I do, then this is the dish you ABSOLUTELY MUST order.  It Ramen consisted of Pork Belly, Lobster Meat, Soy Boiled Egg, Scallions, Corn, Chili, Black Garlic, and House Made Ramen Noodle.  The Ramen was perfectly salted and Chef didn’t hold back on the Lobster Meat either.  What wasn’t featured on the menu was the Black Seaweed that was in the Ramen.  The perfect Crunch to go along with the softness of the overall dish.  If you’re a pescatarian, look no further.


The final dish that was ordered was the Tartlet.  It consisted of Rhubard Tangerine, Juice and Sugar, Thyme Sable Crumble, Sweetened Ricotta Ice Cream, and Tangerine Zest.  This dish was presented by Casey Sloan who puts the definition in dessert.  She spent a good amount of time as the Head Pastry Chef in Charleston, SC at Normandy Farm Bakery.  I’m not one to eat desserts, but if Casey is in the kitchen, all of my dislike for desserts go out the window.  This dish was savory, sweet, and tart.  The Sable Crumble was my favorite part of the dish as it added a teddy graham flavor to accompany the sweetness of the Ice Cream and Tangerine Zest.


Overall, this restaurant is a seek and find place.  If you’re looking for other restaurants to go to in the area, DON’T.  There’s a reason why this restaurant was voted as Open Tables Diner’s Choice, now I understand why.



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