Our Gourmet: A tasty dining spot in- or off-seasonOctober 09. 2018 10:08PM
Bayside Grill & Tavern51 Mill St., Wolfeboro; 515-1002; www.baysidegrillandtavern.com
Off-season hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 9 p.m.
Cuisine: Pub/comfort food.
Pricing: Appetizers $6-$13; salads & sandwiches $10-$18; pizza $9-$21; entrees $17-$24.
Handicapped access: Steps to entrance; steps down to second dining level and porch.
Every year on Columbus Day weekend, Mrs. Gourmet and I like to take in the Lakes Region Builders Association’s house tour to engage in a little dream building (it sounds so much better than snooping) in some of the most attractive new homes around Lake Winnipesaukee.
We realize that short of hitting the lottery or inheriting a bundle from a rich relative we haven’t met yet, we’re never going to own a house like any of the ones we tour. But we always come away with one or two ideas that we can actually afford. (This year, it was drawer pulls and a clever new closet door latch. Exciting, huh?)
The Columbus Day weekend tour also gives us one last chance for warm(ish)-weather dining at the lake.
When it came to choosing a restaurant, we put aside our high-end dreams and chose Bayside Grill for its comfort-food menu, reasonable prices and great location — on the shore of Wolfeboro’s Back Bay, just under the Main Street bridge from the lake.
The atmosphere is casual, with lake-themed decor and several TVs visible from the main dining room and the adjoining bar. The dining area is on two levels, with a step down from one to the other. The weatherproof porch, where we sat, is another step down and right long the waterfront.
In season, there’s a private dock for diners to arrive by boat. In fact, while we were seated, a pair of diners arrived by kayak, even as darkness fell on a cool, fall evening.
The menu is family friendly, with sandwiches, pizza and salads as well as pub-style appetizers and a short list of entrees that cover the beef, pork, chicken and seafood bases. There’s also a brief list of daily specials.
After a cool day of house touring, we needed to warm up, so we both started with soup. I chose a cup of clam chowder ($4.99; $6.99 bowl). The base was nice and thick with excellent clam flavor, and there was a good ratio of clam to potato.
Mrs. G chose the French Onion Soup ($6.99). Loaded with onions and topped with mozzarella and provolone cheese, this was a bit tangier than the usual Swiss- or Gruyere-topped version that Mrs. G loves — once it cooled down enough for her to eat without burning her mouth.
The soup was satisfying and filling, so Mrs. G was happy that she only ordered a sandwich. Her Back Bay Cheese Steak ($10.99) was filled with shaved steak, American cheese, grilled onions and peppers on a nice crusty roll. She chose the optional deep-fried jalapenos, and was happy with the mild heat they added to the package.
I turned to the daily specials for my entree, Mac & Ribs ($17.99), a combo featuring two items from the regular menu. The mac & cheese portion of the dish featured cavatappi pasta in a mild, creamy cheese sauce, and topped with breadcrumbs. I’m not a big cheese guy, but this sauce — the main menu describes it as a combination of provolone, mozzarella, cheddar, American and Swiss — was just right for me. The special came with three big baby back ribs that were perfectly cooked, tender and falling off the bone. It was a great dish — that I was almost able to finish.
With a long drive ahead of us, we decided to pass on dessert and hit the road. But with great food, reasonable prices, quick and friendly service and a great location, Bayside Grill will definitely be on our list for a return stop when we’re visiting the Lakes Region next summer — or when we cash that big lottery check and buy one of those million-dollar dream houses we saw on the tour.