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Bistro 45

By: Kellie K. Speed

Executive Chef Monica Armstrong of Haverhill’s Bistro 45, has already cooked on two continents at the young age of 27.  When she grew up in Derry City in Northern Ireland, Armstrong never would have believed she’d become one of the hottest young chefs in Massachusetts.

She worked under the guidance of French Chef Fredic Souty in Donegal, who soon became her mentor.  Armstrong took the valuable experience she gained with Souty and moved to County Kerry for a Chef de Partie position at a five-star hotel in Killarney.

Just two years ago, she decided to follow her dream and moved to the U.S. where she quickly settled down in New York.  After a working at Dave’s Grill in Montauk, New York, she was enticed to move to Massachusetts and become the executive chef for Bistro 45 in Haverhill.  She said she finds her job “…so exciting because you are always wondering what you’re going to create.” 

Bistro 45 offers an intimate atmosphere with candlelit tables and soft music playing in the background.  We ventured in one evening and were quite impressed with the overall ambiance and location. 

Our server greeted us and quickly showed us to our table, which looked out on a quiet street in downtown Haverhill.  Our server suggested we try their signature tapas.  We were took his suggestion and requested an order of grilled spicy chorizo sausage.  Served on a garlic crostini, the tapas were a delightful treat.  From herbed goat cheese and caramelized onion to vine ripened tomato and fresh basil, the tapas menu did not leave any item unaccounted for. 

We sampled the butternut soup and warm salad of wild mushrooms and roasted garlic with herb croutons and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.75).  Light and fresh, the salad arrived large enough to be shared between my husband and me.

Entrees here are to be commended.  From pan seared peppered tuna with herb couscous, confit of duck legs, braised lamb shank and escalope of pork encrusted with cilantro and mint and apple mashed potato, we were having difficulty choosing among the wonderful selections. 

Our server suggested the traditional lobster, shrimp and mussels in a saffron, tomato, fresh herb and lobster bouillon with fresh vegetables ($19.25), which was simply heavenly.  My husband was quite impressed with his cut of grilled beef tenderloin with sautéed spinach and potato cake, topped with his favorite melted blue cheese and a burgundy wine reduction ($23.95). 

Bistro 45 was reasonably priced, offered a relaxing atmosphere with an attentive wait staff.  We look forward to our next visit. 

For reservations or more information, call the restaurant directly at 978-469-9700.

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Kellie Speed - Click to enlarge

Kellie K. Speed is a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahners’ Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air Approach.

Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland, England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is planning a trip to Tahiti.

Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.

If you would like to email Kellie any suggestions or comments, please do so at kkspeed@aol.com.

 

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