Munching Through Menus: Fireworks Restaurant Top Three’s (Keene, NH)

If you are from the Monadnock Region, chances are you have visited Fireworks Restaurant on Main Street in Keene. Fireworks is a local Italian eatery that is owned by one of its head chef’s, Mathew Blau. Its atmosphere is quiet and classy, yet comfortable, with a usual friendly staff. Fireworks is closed on Monday’s, but if you are headed here any other day of the week, I suggest a reservation (especially on Friday and Saturday nights). However, if calling ahead slips your mind, Fireworks offers a great bar area where you have access to the full dinner menu, as long as it is after 5pm.

Cocktails

  1. Downtown Toast – This drink is primarily pomegranate vodka, with hints of orange liquor and fresh lime. It is topped off with Prosecco which gives the drink a refreshing quality.
  2. 22 Main – The 22 Main is a grapefruit based vodka drink. This drink is also accompanied by lime juice and a splash of house-made simple syrup. For some, this may be a bit sweet, but the sour grapefruit flavor offsets the sweetness of the simple syrup.
  3. Signature Bloody Mary – This is one of the best Bloody Mary’s that I have ever had. The vodka is infused with cucumber and peppercorn and the fresh Bloody Mary mix has a great spice to it and does not contain much horseradish. My only complaint about this drink is that it typically does not come with a celery stick.

Along with its usual cocktail menu, Fireworks offers 3 signature drinks that are rotated frequently. These options are usually seasonal, and are typically very good.

Like most restaurants, they also have a tap with about 8 rotating draft beers. The beers offered are pretty generic. There are not usually too many craft or local beers, and occasionally will feature a Downeast or Citizen cider. The wine selection is decent, but I would not consider it the best in town.

Starters, Soups & Salads

  1. Fireworks’ Mac and Cheese – This is made with Grafton cheddar cheese, gruyere, and parmesan. You can also add bacon, house-made Italian sausage, pulled pork, goat cheese, or peas. I usually add pulled pork to this meal and it a great enhancement. The BBQ compliments the cheese well and adds a great flavor to the dish. Though this is a bit rich, it is definitely worth the try.
  2. Sopa De Lima – This is a Mexican chicken soup with avocado, lime, cilantro, and feta cheese. It is topped off with crisp tortilla strips. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical to try this dish at first. The ingredients don’t sound like they would compliment each other in a soup, but they really do. The avocado and feta give your taste buds a relief from the spicy, tomato-based broth, while the lime and cilantro give the dish its Mexican flair.
  3. Caesar Salad – Now the Caesar Salad at Fireworks is your typical Caesar but with cucumber and tomato. It is perfectly dressed, and always makes for a good start to your meal.

Tip: Be sure you ask your server for some bread. It comes out warm and seasoned with a side of 2 sauces for dipping. One sauce is olive oil, and the other a house-made hummus.

Entrees

  1. The Meat Pie – The Meat Pie is one of Fireworks pizzas. The pizzas are produced in the 700-degree stone oven and all of them are very tasty. This pizza comes with chicken, sweet Italian sausage, and pepperoni. This dish usually comes with BBQ sauce, but I suggest substituting it for Marinara instead. Either way, this pizza is filled with magnificent flavors and has a perfectly crispy crust.

2. Grilled Maine Family Farms Hamburger – I would go as far as to say that this is the best burger that you will find in Keene, New Hampshire. The patty is always wonderfully seasoned and comes on a hearty, golden roll. You’ll find that the bun really holds up to the burger. I suggest adding Vermont cheddar and getting some homemade chipotle-mayo on the side for your French fries.

3. Portuguese Style Spaghetti – This dish has muscles, clams, pancetta, sausage, garlic and chilies. It is in a spicy tomato based sauce. The fish and meat on the spaghetti bring out wonderful flavors in the sauce, and the pasta is usually cooked well. Like most other pasta dishes at Fireworks, it does not come with much food. I recommend getting an appetizer, and definitely some bread to go with this meal. If you are looking to have left-overs, you might want to get something else.

All dishes come with gluten free bread and pasta options. They also offer zucchini noodles, if you prefer those to regular pasta.

Desserts

  1. Death by Chocolate Flourless Torte – This is, without a doubt, the best chocolate torte, or even dessert, in existence. It is rich, decadent, delicious, and everything in between. The torte comes topped off with homemade whip cream and garnished with a mint leaf and cocoa powder. If you are not hungry for dessert, I recommend boxing it up to take home. It is worth the extra calories.

2. Espresso Martini – The espresso martini is an excellent end to dinner. It gives you the sweetness of a dessert with the bite of a drink. It comes with 3 espresso beans at the bottom. My boyfriend and I will occasionally split this and a slice of the chocolate torte. They compliment each other well and give you the best of both worlds.

3. NY Style Cheesecake – Though the cheesecake at Fireworks seems to have an inconsistent taste, it is always good. They have switched from making it in house to outsourcing it from The Cheesecake Factory multiple times, but either way it is decent dessert. The cheesecake is always topped with fresh strawberries and always has a lovely presentation.