Everything about Cure Restaurant exudes a feeling of comfort. Set just outside the main hustle and bustle of Portsmouth, it’s still within easy walking distance of Prescott Park and the Music Hall.
Inside, the intimate dining spaces host many neighborhood regulars, who greet one another as friends. The bar is also a cozy gathering spot, where chatting about news of the town and how to make the best Manhattan might be on the agenda. Gaze out at the courtyard garden, which holds ingredients that owner and Executive Chef Julie Cutting and her team will use in dishes. No matter what the season, the menu from the former Food Network Cutthroat Kitchen contestant with the welcoming and exuberant attitude is at once familiar, satisfying, and exciting.
Cutting opened Cure in 2014 and says there are already dishes she can’t take off the menu. “Some people say, ‘Don’t ever change it,’ and I deﬁnitely listen,” she says. “I do care about our guests’ favorites, but when we get tired of a dish, we’ll take it off. I have taken off the Mushroom Forestiere appetizer and there was a revolt!” Braised Short Ribs is a mainstay, which changes with the seasons and has been served with spaetzle, with creamy potato gratin, and with red wine in the braise and horseradish mashed potatoes, all components customers say they think about long after they’ve eaten. Crispy Skinned Duck Breast is another dish Cutting says will always remain, with seasonal variations like a side of mushroom risotto made with black forbidden rice. Lobster Mac and Cheese with cavatappi pasta, fresh lobster meat, and three cheeses in a Mornay sauce is topped with crushed Ritz crackers, the ultimate New England comfort food cuisine, with an elegant twist.
Loyal customers and new guests alike also love diving into bowls of Cure’s signature French Onion Soup, made with ﬁve kinds of onions. Also popular is the Lobster Bisque. The slow-simmered broth has a hint of sherry and large chunks of sweet local lobster meat. When it’s difﬁcult to get lobster, Cutting might substitute a Shrimp and Corn Chowder with a promise that the bisque will return, as will perennial springtime favorites such as the juicy Rack of Lamb with Spring Peas or dishes with ﬁddleheads her husband gathers for the restaurant. Warmer weather will also bring ﬂowers to the table, and not just for show. Squash blossoms are stuffed with crab and lavender ﬂowers might garnish a whole roasted chicken seasoned with basil cut from the herb garden.
As for dessert, what could be more comforting than a soft, warm cookie? Served in a small cast-iron skillet, the White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie is baked to perfect gooiness, then topped with homemade ice cream and caramel sauce. “We have different desserts like cheese cake with Maine blueberries or freshly picked strawberries when they’re in season,” Cutting says. “I’ll change the clafouti and do a tart instead in spring. That cookie is everyone’s favorite, though.”
189 State Street