When one thinks of excellent Italian restaurants in America, typically urban locations come to mind. However, some of the best Italian food I ever have eaten was served at Pasquale’s Ristorante, located in the rural town of Candia, New Hampshire.
Last Friday, my husband and I joined another couple for dinner at Pasquale’s. We met them at the bar and were treated to martinis expertly made by Rob. After a few minutes of conversation we were seated in the Angel Room, which our friends Ryan and Wanda had reserved for our dinner. They also made arrangements to have a menu specially chosen by the chef for our evening.
This amazing dinner started with a course of pan-fried mussels served with a bechamel sauce and crumb topping. The mussels were tender, and the sauce was creamy yet not heavy.
Our antipasto course was Zucchine and Melenzane Terrina. This beautiful creation had delicately thin slices of zucchini encasing layers of eggplant and four cheeses. To compliment this course we had Greco Di Tufo. This white wine had an excellent balance between a honey-like sweetness and a bite of acidity.
The next course, the primo piatto, was Spaghetti alle Vongole Macchiato. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente and was accented by little neck clams. Our wine for this course was Fiano di Avellino, a delicious white wine that had a hint of pear.
Arriving next was the secondo piatto, Stinco di Agnello al forno, braised lamb shanks, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. The lamb was amazingly tender and flavorful, another exceptional dish. Our dish was accompanied by Mara, a medium-bodied red wine that tasted of spice and fruit.
To complete our meal we were served the dolce course, also known as dessert. We were presented with small cups of Budino della Nonna. This rich and creamy pudding-like dish was made with Amaretto, which gave it an incredible almond flavor. To complete this course, we were served glasses of Moscato Dolce. This sweet dessert wine was an excellent accompaniment for the dolce. Sweet but not overbearingly so, it provided a wonderful finishing touch to our 5-course meal.
Although, my husband and I have dined at a wide assortment of restaurants, this is the best Italian restaurant we have visited. What makes Pasquale’s Ristorante so notable is that it excelled in all areas. Each course was expertly cooked, had delicious flavors and beautiful presentation, and was delivered with first rate service. We will be returning soon, most likely bringing friends and sharing our new discovery.