Hidden in plain sight on a thoroughfare in Portsmouth is The Kitchen. Taking after a New York deli, the décor features dollar bills hanging from the ceiling, ’80s metal posters on the walls and framed black and white photographs of Italian men. What also sets this restaurant apart is its wide variety of sandwiches. There are cold sandwiches, wraps, paninis and burgers. For those who are in the mood for something different, there are salads, pasta, pizza and wings. Did I mention they also have gluten-free options?
Voted best caterer from 2014 – 2016, best restaurant in 2015 and 2017 and named Best of New Hampshire in 2013 and 2016, it’s safe to say I’m far from the only one who loves The Kitchen. The restaurant even made an appearance on “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives,” as well as having The Food Network star Guy Fieri stopped by in 2016, giving The Kitchen national attention.
The Kitchen’s signature sandwich, the banh mi, includes pulled pork, pickled carrots and celery, cilantro-lime mayo, crispy pork rinds and grilled onion focaccini. Pair this with their spudsters, and the result is an explosion of flavor. Deep fried potato cones thatare crispy on the outside and mashed on the inside, the spudsters melt in your mouth. There’s also an option to add their house-made dips: Cuban barbecue, truffle ketchup, apple chutney and honey Dijon, just to name a few.
On my first visit to The Kitchen, I decided to try one of their signature burgers, the Black and Bleu. The grilled Angus with blackening seasoning, bleu cheese and caramelized onion, served on a Miami roll, is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The cheese melted over the meat as I ate, adding a flavor that left me craving more.
I also ordered the spudsters, although I was feeling skeptical over the hype. I choose the garlic and Parmesan seasoning and paired it with their house-made honey Dijon mustard. The garlic, not overpowering but satisfying, exploded with the dip. The soft potatoes on the inside melted inside my mouth, convincing me they’re way better than fries.
For those who are 21, there’s a small bar scene available. Serving popular beers such as Blue Ribbon and Bud Light, they also serve locally brewed types as well. There are even $5.00 mixed drinks most days.
If you’re looking for a cheap, locally made and relaxed environment, The Kitchen is the place to go. With so many options, they’re sure to satisfy any craving, no matter the time of day or the time of year. With outdoor seating opening up in the spring along with a cozy, inviting environment for the fall and winter, The Kitchen’s ambience is as versatile as their menu. Next time you find yourself in Portsmouth, stop by and give them a shot; you won’t be disappointed.