New Elegance at the Hanover Inn

Diners at Pine will feel the influence of a Boston restaurateur

It’s open. The final phase of a massive makeover of the Hanover Inn is the new restaurant simply called Pine. The name is more than an homage to the treasured pine tree symbol of Dartmouth College. The dining area now faces the historic Dartmouth Green and with green thinking, Chef Justin Dain and collaborator Chef Michael Schlow are bringing in a new focus on local products from New England, including seafood and meat products. That spring lamb has been raised within 50 miles. The recycled wood theme includes menus bound to wooden boards and re-used barn boards have been used in the ceiling beams.

The big news though is the influence of Boston chef/owner Michael Schlow. He has received many accolades and awards, including the James Beard Award of Excellence for “Best Chef in the Northeast,” and has appeared on numerous national television shows, including the “Today” show and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” His Boston restaurants include Radius, Via Matta, Alta Strada, Tico and Barrio Cantina, running a wide gamut of food possibilities.

His philosophy is simple — less is more. But the menu here will offer everything from loin of lamb to a signature burger in a classical but creative manner.

Chef Dain has been preparing for the mid-March opening for more than six months. He worked in several of Schlow’s restaurants and was given privy to front and back of the house operations. “I was able to see how the restaurant ran through Chef Schlow’s eyes. Through we have different cooking styles, I learned to create the same dish at a higher level with the best techniques and ingredients.”

Still, the menu at Pine will be approachable. (That’s the buzz word for affordable and not too off the wall.) Dain says, “We want people to be comfortable here for a bite after work and for their anniversary.”

Pine features a contemporary but rustic look with unpainted barn boards, paned windows and sleek furniture. The dining area is no longer sequestered in the back, but now in the front of the building and large windows offer views of the Dartmouth Green.

The “Hanover Burger"
Photo by Gabrielle Varela

Schlow is famous for his signature burger with horseradish and Pine will have the “Hanover Burger.” That’s nine ounces of local ground beef with Vermont cheddar, apple-smoked bacon and chipotle mayonnaise on a brioche bun. The $15  price tag also includes house-cut fries and a well-researched pickle. Entrées will range from $19 to $29 and include braised beef short ribs served with a soft polenta and Tuscan kale with a sauce spiced with coriander and star anise.

The appetizer menu will feature snacks to share, including root vegetable chips with sea salt, New England fresh oysters and salads built with local greens. Most breads will be purchased from the King Arthur Flour facility across the river, though Pine pastry chefs will focus on updating desserts. They were also sent to Boston to work with Schlow.

Locally sourced farms include Bardo Farm for pork, where Dain will purchase whole pigs to make pancetta, sausage, pâté and a variety of other charcuterie. Produce suppliers include Crossroads Farm in Vermont and Acorn Hill Farm in Lyme while Vermont Quality Meats will supply lamb and rabbit. Beef is sourced from Boyden Farm of Vermont.

After opening, Chef Dain will strive to develop a series of wine and beer dinners and also dinners that focus on products from one particular farm. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily and Sunday Brunch with its own menu.  

Michael Schlow
Courtesy photo

Michael Schlow Restaurants

Radius (1999)
Four-course menu for $65
The “Burger,” $19
8 High St., Boston

Via Matta (2002)
Chitarra with grilled octopus, spicy tomatoes, olives and capers, $24
Authentic Italian
79 Park Plaza, Boston

Alta Strada (2007)
Authentic casual Italian
Tortelli with Prosciutto, leeks and toasted pistachios, $22
92 Central St., Wellesley, Mass.

MGM Grand, Foxwoods (2008)

Tico (2011)
Spanish influence
Tasting menus from $35 to $85
222 Berkeley St., Boston

Cookbook by Michael Schlow (2005)
It’s About Time: Great Recipes for Everyday Life” by Michael Schlow and Mario Batali, Amazon, $25.31

Categories: Features