Our Gourmet: A cozy place with an expansive menu

February 28. 2017 9:17PM
This roasted half chicken was one of the daily specials at Putnam's Water View in Goffstown. 
Putnam's Waterview Restaurant
40 Main St., Goffstown; 497-4106; On Facebook: /Putnams-Waterview-Restaurant-305156012233/

Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

Cuisine: Eclectic American.

Pricing: Appetizers, $5.99-$12.99; soups/salads, $3.99-$17.99; pasta/pizzas, $11.99-$22.99; fried platters, $11.99-$22.99; entrees, $14.99-$22.99.

Scores for Putnam's
Atmosphere: 17/20
Menu: 16/20
Food: 16/20
Service: 18/20
Value: 16/20
TOTAL: 83/100

The recent spring-like weather drew us out for an old-fashioned country drive, which brought us through Goffstown village on our way back to Manchester, right about the time we got hungry. A sharp pair of eyes caught sight of Putnam’s Waterview Restaurant, on the right just over the river before you leave the village proper, and we stopped in for an early dinner.

Set slightly off Main Street, Putnam’s at first appears to have limited parking, but a short driveway leads out back to a larger lot, which also affords the water view of the Piscataquog River for which this little family restaurant is named.

Cozy best describes the split dining area here, with a smattering of mostly two-tops to the left as you enter, overlooking the street, and larger tables in a dining area to the right that overlooks the water beyond the parking lot. Walls are paneled and cream-colored, with some nice artwork hung as well as the specials board. Tables are set fairly close together, and we expect the noise level increases considerably as the place gets busy.

With the cozy feel of the dining room, one might expect a limited offering from the kitchen, but Putnam’ menu goes the other way; the word expansive comes to mind. The main menu runs to four pages, covering appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, burgers, seafood and other entree options. There’s also a daily specials board, which even changes between lunch and dinner. It’s all very ambitious, and perhaps overly so in some cases.

This evening, Our Gourmet (OG) started with a cup of Putnam’s clam chowder ($4.99), while the Dining Companion (DC) opted for a house salad ($7.99). The FussBudget (FB) was promised a taste of the chowder, and more if he liked it. He did, and got half the cup.

The chowder was thinner than OG prefers, but was very flavorful, spurred on by small slivers of smoky bacon, and offering a nice balance of potato and clam. The DC opined that her salad was “wet,” perhaps washed and not spun out, which made it hard to grab both salad and dressing at once. The accompanying blue cheese dressing was very good, though, offering large chunks of cheese.

Both OG and DC ordered off the daily specials menu, with OG ordering the roasted half chicken dinner ($13.99) and DC opting for an Italian Combo ($15.99), described as “stuffed shells and Parmesan-encrusted tilapia over linguini.” Our waitress and the kitchen were very accommodating when DC went off the menu slightly, asking that the tilapia be omitted from the dish. After much deliberation, the FB went with the hotdog off the children’s menu, ordering a chocolate milk with which to wash it down.

The FB’s hotdog, topped with some ketchup, was a hit. Of the snappy-skin variety and served on a toasted bun, about two-thirds of the grilled dog was inhaled by the youngster before fullness — brought on by the unplanned chowder — set in. A pile of accompanying fries didn’t fare so well, with most left on the plate. The DC, who sampled some, said they seemed a tad underdone.

The DC’s stuffed shells and linguini came topped with tomato sauce. It was served with a slab of buttery garlic bread, which DC said stole that show: the bread was nicely toasted and the garlic just mellow enough. The stuffed shells, however, were just ordinary and a bit plain, she said.

OG’s roasted half chicken was a hit, however. For his two sides, OG chose the au gratin potatoes and the day’s vegetable, which was zucchini and summer squash. The chicken OG’s half came from was on the small side, but was the perfect size for an individual serving, including a wing, breast and leg.

The specials board promised the bird would be “moist,” and it was. OG guesses there might have been a brine involved, as the taste of salt took center stage through a nice mix of other herbs dusted atop a crispy skin. A small dish of vegetables — thin half-moon slices of zucchini and squash — was crisply cooked and was nicely simple and plain. The potato side was less impressive: Diced potatoes were on the crisp side, doused in a thick, creamy cheese sauce that was on the heavy side.

Putnam’s dessert menu is as ambitious as its main menu. Options ranged from a large assortment of ice cream flavors, to cakes and pies and cheesecake and even a bread pudding. One of us was decidedly up for dessert despite being too full to finish just minutes before, but older (and actually full) heads prevailed.

It would take quite a few more visits to sample everything this little local spot has to offer, and we surmise there might be some true gems offered. We’ll keep it on our list of solid stops when we’re out and about in the area.

Our GourmetGoffstown

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