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Photograph by Stacy Newgent
A casual restaurant in Mt. Adams apparently needs only a few things to survive: cold beer, television, and a great patio. Next Chapter has all of these, plus the best fries and kettle chips on the hill. This is where the superlatives end—the positive ones, anyway. The substantial menu is classic American bar food with a few wild cards—a wild variety of tacos, for example—thrown in. We started with a plate of nachos whose queso had clearly spent some time under a heat lamp (heat does unpleasant things to jarred cheese). The entrées came out in an attractive flourish, plated more thoughtfully than befits a casual pub. One of the more creative items, the pot roast taco, could have been a contender, but it had an unmistakable Taco Bell vibe thanks to sub-par ingredients: a soggy flour tortilla, bland shredded cheddar cheese, and watery iceberg lettuce. The pot roast itself was flat and forgettable. Next Chapter’s take on a classic burger is zesty and flavorful, served on a tasty flattop-grilled bun. But the blue cheese that I had so optimistically ordered was weird at best—greasy and somehow also spongy. My husband thought that it might actually be blue cheese salad dressing, but I’d rather not entertain the thought. Next Chapter’s problem appears to be two-fold: over-thinking the concept and under-thinking the food quality. The bulk of efforts go toward stunning patrons senseless with quantity, options, and unnecessarily square plates. I’d love to see what they could do with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
940 Pavilion St.
Originally published in the November 2012 issue.