Milltowne Grille




Food on the run.In my ongoing search for passable airport food I have found few menus live up to the promises made. New Hampshirites are fortunate in that their own Manchester-Boston Regional Airport houses one that does deliver in the Milltowne Grille. Located across from Southwest Airlines' gates, its popularity is evidenced by a growing customer count despite a drop in travelers. Further proof is that the restaurant has spawned Smuttynose Public House next door, featuring homemade crêpes, house-made sandwiches and salads ready to go. "All raw ingredients must be X-rayed, like your luggage," says Claudia Rippee, who owns the Grille with her husband Edward Aloise, "and Manager Jennifer Dionne is a master at navigating the airport maze of regulations to assure quality meals." Logistically, it is impossible to focus exclusively on New Hampshire farms for ingredients as they do with their sister Manchester restaurant, Republic. However, the airport eatery does bring in many ingredients from Pineland Farms, a New England farm co-operative.A complex house salad with a sesame-soy-ginger dressing adapted from a BFA museum recipe ($6.75) makes a light pre-boarding lunch. Add their superb house marinated chicken breast ($2.75) for a full-sized meal. Seared haddock burger is ever-so-lightly breaded and served with a side of chipotle mayonnaise, fries and coleslaw ($9.75). A half-pound cheeseburger with grass-fed beef (your choice of cheese) and French fries ($10.25) is the best in the area. I enjoyed the spicy falafel platter served with hummus, vegetables and tahini dressing ($9.50). Under starters there is a shredded cilantro-lime quesadilla that would make an entrée (9.50). And an ice cream sandwich ($2.95) on the run can complete the 30-minute meal. Or take it to go, they'll let you know the prep time ... and skip the peanuts onboard.- Helen Brody
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