How much is too much for an entree at a place that plays the kind of anonymous Muzak that Kenny G calls jazz and is decorated like Applebee’s? Trust me, I like renovated mill buildings, but why confuse it with faux grecian columns and too many pictures of dead celebrities? I mean, the interior was clean and pleasant, but lacked attention to detail. If you’re so afraid your customers are going to walk off with the poorly framed prints of old Hollywood darlings that you nail them to the wall through the frame, how much can you expect them to pay for dinner?
Drinks and Appetizers
Still, Cotton’s martinis have been voted the best in New Hampshire. I tried the sampler, a trio of fruity cocktails served in adorable 2.5 oz martini glasses. The flight included a lemon drop martini, a raspberry cosmopolitan, and an orange crush (the crush had me humming REM all evening, but I’m a dork like that). Casey ordered the Vesper (he’s a dork for Bond-themed drinks), a cocktail of gin, vodka and Lillet as they prepare it.
Whatever points the place lost in atmosphere they seemed to regain with the Martinis. The drinks were fresh and light with lovely flavors. My favorite was the lemon drop. So many restaurants serve a syrupy martini which I hate, these were clearly a step above.
To accompany the cocktails, we had the Lobster Artichoke Dip. The flavor of the dip was good, but the homemade corn chips they were paired with were far too salty and overpowered the more subtle flavors of the dip.
On special was a pork tenderloin in a mushroom sauce with mashed potatoes and sauteed greens. It was plenty tender, but the sauce that covered everything was bland and cried out for some fresh herbs. Casey’s “Meat and Potatoes” suffered from a similar saucing issue. I am not sure why the chef felt it necessary to drown our food with blandness.
We should have moved on after our cocktails and appetizers. The music killed Casey, but I will happily return to Cotton for a pre-dinner martini at the bar, then I will continue my search for a Manchester restaurant I love.
75 Arms Street Manchester, NH 03101 — phone: 603 622 5488
Dinners priced $13-30
Dinner:Nightly at 5:00PM