Outstanding four course meal. We chose to have the wine pairing too and it was well worth it.
creative modernist cuisine-well executed.i don t know of any other restaurant in NH or even Boston that is doing much if any molecular gastronomy like this.i saw some reviews whewre the complaint was that the dishes were small--that s the point of the cuisine. its a tasting menue. 4 courses may not be eough if you a hungry looking for a big meal so go for eight which should satisfy anyone. 12 is overdoing it in my experience but I did survive 22 courses in an adria restaurant in spain.
Chef Evan and staff will not let you down if you want a special evening with a loved one, friends or family. There is no other place like this in NH for an incredible foodie delight. We brought friends who appreciate the variety and quality of flavors that each dish brings and for those who like to pair food with wine...you will be incredibly delighted. This is a must go-to-restaurant.
Stages is not for everyone, but it is a must try. The restaurant is in an old warehouse and a little difficult to find. The restaurant is quiet and small. Reservations required and fixed price menu. My wife and I went there for our anniversary and discovered they were only serving a "Nursery Rhyme" menu. The 8 courses were artistically presented and the preparation was excellent. I discovered I was not a fan of pig jowls. The service was attentive and every dish was explained in detail by the waitress. The portions are small, but unique in taste. Will definitely go back to try their regular menu.
OUTSTANDING! As always. This is the best kitchen in NH. If you want Michelin Star quality cooking and presentation, this is the place to go. Chef Hennessey is exceptionally talented and down to earth. You're sitting right in the kitchen. Superb dinner and a show!
This is a dining experience. The food portions are extremely small - in fact you might want to eat when you get home. The reason to go is to watch the chefs cook, try very unique food, and feel the experience. I would skip the wine pairing. The pours are too small - perhaps a couple of sips. The wine just covered the bottom of the glass. The wine selections are great, so I wold just choose one or two, and have them throughout the courses. This is not a restaurant you go to often, but instead one that you go to for a special meal.
This place is amazing. Chef Evan Hennessey creates magnificent cuisine in a quiet setting that will make you feel like you have discovered a private dining room just for you. Every time I go here I am introduced to an ingredient I have never eaten before or an ingredient prepared in a way I have never eaten before. And the result will always be delicious. The 12 course tasting menu is balanced and progresses perfectly. You should definitely go with the wine pairings for the full effect.
We have been to Stages several times. The food is always fresh and innovative. Evan has a real penchant for detail.
Wonderful experience. Loved the secret 8 menu and appreciated the local/wild food focus.
Wonderful hidden gem with three prix fixe menus -- 5,6, and 8 courses. Locally grown ingredients prepared artfully. Get a seat at the counter in the kitchen if you can, where you watch everything and converse with the chef. Will return to this out-of the way find.
Can't think of many better dining experiences and I get to some of the finest restaurants in the world. Chef Hennessey creates an amazing dining experience at his chef's counter in the quaint NH town of Dover. Pristine ingredients masterly prepared and beautifully presented. Lovely wine list.
One fault I find with Chef Hennessey- pricing is so low I feel like I'm abusing the system when I visit!
Evan and team really deliver a thoughtful, well-executed and delicious culinary experience. On this visit, we enjoyed dining at the six-person kitchen bar and chose the "Secret Eight" menu with wine pairing. Chef presented course after course of surprises which we pondered as each was prepared, and he answered our questions about ingredients, sourcing and whatever else we wanted to know. If you have an adventursome palate and enjoy truly sophisticated cuisine, this is an adventure you will thoroughly enjoy!
Every dish was a delicious work of art, with unique and uniquely prepared ingredients. The service is attentive and professional, but still welcoming. We had the eight-course "secrets" menu, and were all delighted with the food and preparation.
A few negatives: first, our meal took over three hours, and that was even after we told them we were on a timetable. We waited over 20 minutes between courses at times (then had our dessert courses thrown at us to get us out the door in time). So if we came again, we would just allow a lot more time. Also, the courses are all very petite, and it would be easy to still be hungry at the end. Usually in a tasting menu of this length, you get one or two larger courses, but that wasn't the case here. I think they need to adjust the portion sizes a bit to provide a more reasonable total quantity. I had the same problem with the wine pairing - the wines were nice, and nicely paired, but very small pours - it was probably less than three glasses total by the end, including a few "top -offs" (which at least they offered graciously when my glass was empty). I also prefer when they bring the wine bottle to the table, show it to you, and tell you something about the wine, but here it was just a quick pour with no information.
Overall, I very much enjoyed our meal at Stages, and would definitely recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a culinary experience of this caliber in small-town New Hampshire.
We sat at the Chef's table and Chef Evan was wonderful. We would describe the experience as gourmet table art. Chef's eye for detail is outstanding, and his wine pairings were "spot on".
We chose the tasting menu, and were delighted with the complex layering, and interesting choices. Really great for foodies.
Great food as always. Price is on the high end at $100/person for the theme diner in this case, but worth it considering you get a nine course meal spread out over almost 3 hour. That might seem like a long time but honestly, I could sit there all day and watch the chefs practice their craft; It is truly a wonderful dining experience. Think of it as diner and a show if you have to justify the cost.
Stages is our favorite restaurant in NH. It's a unique experience which we highly recommend to foodies. Stages is very small, only eight seats which are located in the kitchen where you interact with the chef while he prepares your meal. The menu is highly innovative and it varies every day depending on what's available. We've been to Stages a number of times and we found it to be exceptional every times.
Recently Stages has added theme dinners, we attended the Spring in Paris dinner which was an eight course prix fixe meal. It was a departure for Stages in that it was a traditional French dinner as opposed to Stages usual hyper innovative cuisine. It was of course terrific.
Outstanding crafted meal with elevated presentation and experience. Sitting at the chefs table in the kitchen is an occaision that you won't soon forget. Top notch service along with chef and teams engagement makes for a very fun night. The Springtime in Paris themed dinner was really incredible. We drive an hour and a half to get there and it is worth the trip!
I took a 100-mile detour just to have dinner here, and it's totally worth it. Chef Hennessey is a genius when it comes to bringing the best out of high-quality local ingredients. His skills blow away places in Boston and even NYC, turning simple ingredients into dishes that would challenge those boasting several Michelin stars. Wonderful interaction with Chef and his small team is part of the charm. With Dover so easy to reach by train from Boston, more people should consider this place for a quick getaway! Awesome!!!
We traveled from NYC to attend one of their monthly theme dinners. Phenomenal! The dishes were creative, well thought-out, and masterfully executed. Well worth travelling for (Michelin guide, take note!)
Went to the Last Dinner on the Titanic event for our friend's 70th. WOW! The food and wine were great and the experience was FUN!!! We'll be back!
This is my favorite restaurant on the Seacoast by far. Chef Evan Hennessey is a master of the new, creative and refined.
This was a phenomenal dinner. The quality of the food was exemplary, the presentation beyond comparison. Being able to sit and watch it all prepared right in front of us, was a wonderful treat. I would recommend Stages highly, as one of the best restaurants in the Seacoast, and that's saying quite a lot. We will certainly be back.
OUTSTANDING as always! Superb cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Evan is an extremely talented chef both in the kitchen and discovering unique sources for his ingredients. You can get cooking like this at three star Michelin restaurants, but no where else in southern NH. While it is not an inexpensive meal, it is exceptional value for what you get. Bravo!
This was our first visit. It was Valentine's Day. We expected not to have a regular menu and pay a premium. With that in mind...There was a 4 course, 8 course and 12 course choice. Two options in each course on the four course. Chef's choice on the others.
Wine pairing was available.
The waitress explained that the 8 and 12 course wine pairing ($50 and $65 for the wine) was for "several 2 ounce pours to be enjoyed over several courses. A total of about a glass of wine. Probably 3 or 4 different wines but that depended upon the Chef's choice as he was cooking".
We asked about a drink menu. We were told there was none. We could tell her what we wanted and she could see what they had re ingredients for mixed drinks or types of wine. They locally source and have no wine or drink list, or price list for them. We did see several people have Martinis. We said we would decide later about a drink. The waitress never asked us again.
The plates were very large. The portions very small.
The waitress took great care to explain every dish with details of the ingredients, sauces and preparations. She used her pinky to almost touch each food and sauce. I heard the skin of the chicken had been cooked, freeze dried, reconstituted and cooked again. It was bland with little flavor. Most of the dishes were. I know it is the chef's choice and I may be in the minority, but I am not a great fan of room temperature meals. Every course was.
The food itself was ok. Not great not terrible. The waitress never asked us if we wanted coffee.
When dessert came we had to ask if they were serving coffee and could we get some.
The other service staff were great. The hostess (first night on the job), and the busboys were very nice. Water was constantly filled, plates cleaned up quickly etc.
To us, a long explanation with tiny portions of so so food was not worth it. I had a snack at home after dinner as I was still hungry
Perhaps non Valentine's Day is different
If you are looking for fine dining on the NH seacoast area - this is a must go location!! My wife and I went last Saturday and had the 4 course price fix menu with wine pairings that was amazing. The food is creative, well presented and unusual. The service was equally good. She was well informed about the food and whole vibe of this restaurant and made the night very enjoyable. The chef is talented here. Go enjoy a great experience of food!! If you can, get the chef's table in the kitchen. We missed out - it looked to be very cool if you enjoy watching the whole food prep thing. We will go back to do that next time.
You will not experience any thing like Stages any where else in NH or the Seacoast region
After hearing great things about Stages, we reserved seats at the chef's table. Watching local celeb chef Evan Hennessy cook your dinner is almost as wonderful as eating it. The food was sublime. I chose my 5 prix-fixe course dinner with wine tasting and couldn't tell you what my favorite dish was. Each was unique and fresh and layered with flavor, all were delicious and complimented perfectly by the wine. My husband chose the secret 8 and relied on Evan to provide a meal of 8 courses. His courses were equally exciting and beautiful. What an unexpected treat to have such an fantastic meal in a cozy industrial space on the third floor of a mill building in Dover NH. We felt as if we won a very special prize. We will be back, this time with friends, to share the experience.
The food was as delicious to the taste buds as the presentation was to the eye.
We both really enjoyed our experiences at Stages. The food is comparable to some of the best restaurants we've been to in Manhattan but without the crowds - we had the restaurant to ourselves! Top quality, creative menu with beautiful presentations. I especially enjoyed the oyster stew, and the duck was on point. The sous chef did an excellent job, he was friendly and entertaining to watch. This restaurant is totally worth the trip and we'll be back!!!
The 10 course tasting menu was a delight to the tastebuds Chef Evan created dishes that have you not only wanting more but wondering how he and his team execute such culinary masterpieces Wonderful!!!
Evan Hennessey and a sous-chef offer four-course and eight-course-tasting menus at a "chef's table" counter two nights a week (and add the dining room Fridays and Saturdays.) With another couple, old friends, we had the six-seat counter facing into the kitchen to ourselves.
The menu, with its austere list of ingredients for the dishes, is interesting but doesn't make your mouth water. That starts with the chef's description of each course, the details of those seemingly familar elements and what he's about to do with them, and in our meal every one blossomed on the plate. Hennessey is an indefatigable hunter-gatherer: the squash in the agnolotti (slightly undercooked, one of the evening's few small flaws) turned out to be the last of the winter's red-orange Japanese kuris, and the beets with the carrot cake dessert were slightly crunchy, pea-sized burgundy-colored gems, sourced within driving distance like just about everything else.
Hennessey (you'll immediately be on a first-name basis) brings to all this good material not only the latest chic chem-lab cooking methods -- foams, gels, emulsions, sous vide baths, and the like -- but an energetic experimental spirit, lively curiosity, creative warmth, and most importantly, great taste buds, which helps him avoid the sciency Bunsen-burner feeling that sometimes adheres to high-tech cooking. (All the live cooking is done on a cluster of single-burner induction cooktops.)
The bonus at the chef's table comes from Evan's chefly enthusiasm and outgoing personality, especially rewarding for our group, which included two amateur chefs among four enthusiastic eaters -- one of whom, always taciturn in matters of gastronomy, spontaneously produced an outburst of appreciation for the meal afterward -- which lead to a lively but never intrusive running commentary on the meal and its making. This was a memorable evening, not cheap, but well worth it.
The service was outstanding . Our server made the experience memorable.
The wines were wonderful and varied, well paired with the food.
The food was the downfall. I have eaten at places similar to Stages and been knocked out by the food, the creativity and presentation.
We were served perhaps two memorable courses - and even they didn't pop.
Stages is not worth the expense. I didn't mind the expense, we had a wonderful evening out. But the bill was huge and the food was only so/so.
I am sorry to be giving a bad review - but the review was solicited. I like what Stages is doing. They need to do it better - much better.
We never thought that there was such a great restaurant in the mill, but we were wrong! Sure, it's a little expensive, but for what you get it it totally worth it. The care that the chefs put into the presentation and quality cannot be unnoticed. The food is fantastic, and the service is too-notch. We will definitely come back.
Brian and Laura
Watching them create the dishes & hearing them explain the ingredients is something unique. The service is top notch, and being 1 of 6 people enjoying the food at one time is something else!
Chef Hennessey is clearly an inspired artist in a kitchen that is his playground and laboratory. The food served is largely about where the ingredients come from and what they stand for, and less about how well the ingredients are put together, though for the most part the ingredients are put together well. The compositions are deeply creative, mostly made from locally sourced ingredients. If you ask, you will be told the stories behind the ingredients. Some of them are unique, for example pine blossoms, which our chef discovered himself were edible and began obtaining from "maybe a bit farther in than just 'the side of the road'". A very favorite ingredient was smoked honey. On our chef's Idea Board I saw an idea brewing about cooking with sea water, and I want to return and see if it comes to fruition. Maybe then too I will get the courage to ask Chef Hennessey what inspires him to create specific dishes he serves. The food is a good idea as well as good food, and no restaurant anywhere else in the world could possibly replicate the experience here.
There were two "cons". The first was the Chef Hennessey had to work very hard to feed all of the five people sitting at the kitchen, and it took a long time to get through the meal. It took us about 3 hours to get through 4 courses. Prepare for that. The second was that when I arrived home (happy and well fed and having met new friends at the restaurant), I detected an herbal, nutty odor sticking to my clothing that still has not quite washed out.
There were two culinary oddities. The first was that I think there was smoked butter used to prepare one of the dishes, and letting butter near a smoker was considered to be a culinary accident in the past. Then again, ostensibly so was Ice Cream. The second was that one plate was 2/3 empty when the dish was served, though it didn't get much in the way of enjoyment of the dish.
Finally, we are glad we did not get the wine pairing. It probably wouldn't have been worth it.
I had the most amazing first experience at Stages! I surprised my fiance with dinner for his 35th birthday and it was just us and Evan in the kitchen. The food and wine pairings were incredible and Evan was a delight to talk with. I will definitely be coming back here soon!
We went for the restaurant week 4 course meal. Every dish was very creative and very well presented, but out of the 8 dishes we were collectively served, only 2 were really outstanding. The others were all fine, but not anything I would run back for. I'd still say the place is worth checking out, and the menu seems to change regularly.
It's a nice, small space, and the service was outstanding. The team of 3-4 wait staff were all very friendly and attentive, even as a large party (10+) rolled in behind us.
Wait staff very cheerful and polite on arrival and very helpful in explaining menu items.
That's where it all ended.
The time between the delivery of the courses was extensive. It unfortunately took so long our party ran out of topics to discuss an several thought about taking a snooze.
This could be a fantastic dinning experience if the kitchen staff would get it together.
Certainly worth a revisit.
Great flavors paired perfectly with wines chosen by Chef Evan. Very clean and fresh foraged ingredients found locally! Loved everything!
We loved the experience of dining in the kitchen and the interaction with the chefs! The menu was very interesting and introduced many new ingredients, combinations and cooking styles to us. Our only recommendation to others will be to think of this dining experience as ART and not as a full dinner as portions are extremely small. We have heard this from others, and hope the message may send a message to the chefs to perhaps make it more of a full dining experience. We wish chef Hennessey the best, and feel very fortunate to have one of the United States best chefs right here in the Seacoast!