A few years ago I moved my mother to The Greens in Hanover from Atlanta,GA where she spent most of her life. The weather was a big shock to her and I found that at 86 she was unwilling to do much in the way of outdoor activities. In fact, some days she didn’t even know what the temperature was outside because she hadn’t come close to an outside door! I did discover that I could tempt her to go outside ( long enough to get into my car) if dinner was on the agenda. I now consider myself well fed and well traveled after taste testing several local restaurants.
What I also discovered is that Monday is the most difficult day for dining since many dining establishments are closed after feeding people all weekend. So, this past Monday, when temps reached a delightful 78 degrees, I wanted to be sure that Mom got outside to witness the almost vanished snow and the best way to accomplish that was to plan a meal around it. I immediately thought of Ariana’s Restaurant in Orford. It’s a bit of a drive, but a pleasant one- giving us plenty of time and scenery to discuss. ( “Look, Mom, the snow is gone in Hanover”….”Look, Mom, the snow is gone in Lyme”….”Look, Mom the snow is gone in Orford, and aren’t those Ridge Homes beautiful?”)
The chef/owner Martin Murphy is fantastic in every way. He is always available to discuss your meal with you, he remembers who you are and what you like, and he is very accommodating with requests- especially on Mondays when business can be slow. You can see him cooking in the open kitchen with determination and plenty of creativity. He delights in his craft and it is obvious. Martin’s menu -I call it that because he really is the force behind the food- includes organic food when available, local always, and his seasonal inspirations come from many directions. There are Asian , American, Irish, Fusion, French and Traditional choices- Vegan and Gluten Free, too. And, the presentation is always excellent.
Mom and I shared plates:
Asian Style Salad: Blend of Lettuces with Arugula tossed with our house Ginger Dressing with toasted Macadamia Nuts, Mandarin Oranges, Scallions
Vegan Curried Rice with Shrimp: Ginger Jasmine Rice with a Coconut Curry Sauce with Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions, Tomatoes and Scallions
And, one of the specials,
Sautéed Scallops over boy choy in Miso broth.
They were all delicious. The Asian salad provided a refreshing start to the meal; the scallops were tender and moist with a nice crusty outside; the shrimp was also cooked perfectly and the red curry was spicy but not overpowering. All in all, it was a great “outdoor” experience.
So, if you are looking to dine on a Monday ( or, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday!) take a nice, quite drive to Orford and be amazed at the quality of food you can find off the beaten path. Ariana’s is delightful.