The Joinery Restaurant is a cozy industrial-feeling bar and restaurant located inside the Newmarket Mills on Main Street and has been serving modern-southern food for a couple years now. We rolled up on a Wednesday evening and I was surprised to see a number of people at the bar laughing over post-work cocktails, and a large group of guests dining in the back area of the restaurant.
The bar at The Joinery is the centerpiece of the restaurant, and makes it feel casual despite an upscale comfort food menu. The chefs cook in a semi-open kitchen allowing guests unchartered views of the final touches being added to each dish. As I’ve said before, I love an open kitchen concept; I believe it fosters intention and integrity for the chefs and the servers because both parties can be seen by diners at all times, no hiding in the kitchen.
I was pleased to see my favorite Smuttynose Blackberry Short Weiss on the menu along with Garrison City Beerworks’ beer Spintdrift; two sour beers in one restaurant! One of our other guests ordered a Manhattan,;smoky and smooth, just like a Manhattan should be.
We enjoyed our first sips but it did take awhile for a server to return to take our food order. Normally this is fine, but we were also ordering an appetizer and I was hungry! Finally, a different server returned, equally as pleasant as the first and we ordered.
To begin we shared the Charcuterie Plate. Ploughmans platters cheese plates and charcuterie boards are in so many seacoast restaurants these days and I could not be more pleased. In my opinion, a showcase of many decadent and rich components with accouterments to tie things together can be a well thought out and beautiful presentation of the culinary skills of a specific kitchen crew. Bonus points for making your own charcuterie.
The Joinery’s Charcuterie plate came with a tasso-style ham, smoked ham, and bread, mustard, house pickles, and watermelon radish. The Tasso-style ham was almost like cured and smoked pulled pork, like pork jerky from the gods. The smoked ham reminded me of Germen Speck; rich in flavor and soft enough to melt in your mouth. The liver pate was mild and airy with background flavor of garlic and white peppercorn. A swipe of pate on bread with a pickled red onions followed by a swig of Smutty Short Weiss -I’m happy.
We decided to share a couple dishes among the table. First to arrive were the Housemade Meatballs with Salsa Verde. Each perfectly looked meatball was moist and tender with a bright garlicky and slightly salty Salsa Verde. For a small plate this dish packed punches of flavor. The Braised Greens from the “Soil” section of the menu were salty, tender, and hearty -a large serving. We also ordered the smokey mac and cheese which tasted exactly like the description; cheese-pull and all.
The Beer Battered Fish Sandwich was my favorite dish. The fish was light and the batter was perfectly crisp, the “Comeback” sauce was lightly spiced and citrusy to combine unbelievably with the house made pickles and lightly dressed slaw. Each bite had so much flavor and complexity but the light texture made me want to come back for more.
The Fried Chicken with sweet potato waffle, greens, pickles, and spicy honey was juicy and perfectly cooked. I would have liked to see more flavor to the waffle and more spice to the honey.
The Joinery’s Bourbon BBQ Pork Chop was a little dry and overcooked with soggy sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, our server did not bring us a sharp knife, so the pork chop was difficult to cut proving to be the only thing left on the table at the end of the meal.
Chocolate Pudding with homemade fluff was a decadent and cooling way to end our rich meal. The Joinery is a local spot I look forward to visiting again soon. I have heard their Sunday Brunch is fantastic and word on the street is they have a grilled cheese waffle breakfast sandwich…Sign. Me. Up.
The Joinery Restaurant is located at: 55 Main St., Newmarket, New Hampshire 03857. Bar opens at 4pm daily, dinner is served at 5pm. Sunday Brunch is available from 9am-1pm. For more information: http://www.joineryrestaurant.com/