A relaxing spot for good food, good views

June 13. 2017 9:47PM

Shibley's at the Pier
42 Mt. Major Highway (Route 11), Alton Bay; 875-3636; www.restaurantsaltonbaynh.com

Hours: Lunch: Daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.;

Dinner: Daily, 5-9 p.m.

Cuisine: American/Pub.

Pricing: Appetizers, $2.25-$12.75; salads, $4-14.75, plus extras; entrees, $9.75-$29.

Scores for Shibley's
Atmosphere: 17/20
Menu: 17/20
Food: 17/20
Service: 18/20
Value: 17/20
TOTAL: 86/100

We were up in the Lakes Region recently, cruising around Lake Winnipesaukee and browsing around yard sales when, inevitably, hunger struck. We were in Alton at the time, near the bay. We were hoping for late lunch, near the water, and came upon Shibley’s at the Pier, which seemed to fit that bill and looked promising.

Perched right on the water not far from the intersection of routes 11 and 28A, Shibley’s offers a fairly extensive menu in cozy surroundings. Entering, there’s a small bar to the right, which appeared to be marble, and which had a few people enjoying adult beverages and watching sports this afternoon.

To the left is the dining room with wood-beamed ceilings, a fireplace, and windows on the side and along the back, making it almost impossible to not enjoy the view of the lake. There’s a large deck out back right on the water for outside dining, but it was too cold and blustery the day we visited and it wasn’t open. The restaurant was about three-quarters full, which was an encouraging sign given the ’tween hour at which we visited.

The Dining Companion (DC) was in the mood for a cocktail, and Shibley’s offers a menu of specialty drinks, martinis and whiskeys. She opted for a Farmstand Lemonade, a refreshing concoction of raspberry, orange and blueberry vodkas mixed with lemonade. She said it was refreshing, and seemed to make her happy. Our Gourmet opted for a Coke, given the high-test the DC was sipping, and the FussBudget (FB) had his usual, a chocolate milk.

Hoping to entice the FB, we opened with an appetizer of Irish Fries ($9). A mound of thick-cut, waffled potatoes had been gently fried, keeping them crisp outside and creamy inside, slathered with melted cheese and a mild horseradish cream and garnished with chopped scallions. The dish usually is served with bacon as well, but we opted to omit that. This was a rich, delicious app. The FB enjoyed the first few he tried, but the DC made the mistake of remarking on the tang of the horseradish, and the kid used that as his excuse to turn up his nose at any more.

Shibley’s lunch menu offers just over a dozen sandwiches, ranging from the ubiquitous-in-New-England lobster roll to more interesting options. The Yellow Eyed Black Russian ($11.75) caught OG’s eye. A variation on the Reuben theme, thin slices of roast beef and turkey were topped with Swiss cheese, thousand island dressing and a fried egg (hence the “yellow eye”), all served on buttery, grilled pumpernickel.

The roast beef was tender, and although a tad more well-done than the rare we prefer, the dressing kept it from being dry.

We’ve long snickered at the culinary trend of dropping a fried egg on just about anything, and the egg here added very little more than calories and cholesterol to this sandwich. If it had been missing, we might not have noticed. We expect that’s the case with many dishes on which this trick is tried.

The DC opted for an Oriental Veggie Wrap ($9.75), one of 17 wraps Shibley’s offers. A standard wrap was filled chock-full of steamed vegetables, fried pasta and an Oriental sauce the DC found a bit on the salty side. The pasta added interesting texture and heft. A good two to three inches across, the wrap was filling, and a good portion came home for later.

Shibley’s offers a variety of burgers, ranging from one using imported venison ($19.75) to the whopping 12-ounce Winnipesaukee ($19.75), but the FB knows his limits and ordered a plain cheeseburger with nothing but ketchup (about $9), which we asked to be cooked medium-well. It came served more toward medium rare, a decidedly deep pink in the center, alarming the DC a bit.

He’d already downed his chocolate milk and eaten two fries, so it wasn’t surprising when he declared himself full after about three bites. OG stepped into the breach, but could only finish half. Perhaps given the limitations the FB placed on preparation, and missing any of Shibley’s exciting toppings (there are various versions that use jalapenos, blue cheese, chipotle mayo and avocado, to name a few), as a burger it was pretty pedestrian. We took the other half home.

Given the FB’s declaration of fullness after once again eating barely anything, we decided against dessert, which was a shame, as Shibley’s offered a pretty wide assortment, including various styles of cakes, cookies and ice cream, as well as a blueberry crisp that sounds enticing.

All in all, we found Shibley’s a solid choice, and would love to visit again sometime when the deck is open. Eating outside, enjoying a lovely water view, would no doubt make everything taste even better and would be a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon or evening.

Our GourmetAlton Bay

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