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Fine Food, Ambiance, and Music, Too!

Located in the center of Amesbury, the Powow River Grille offers a dining experience at once casual and cosmopolitan. Sister restaurant to Newbury’s Plum Island Grille, the Amesbury location features a menu anchored by an assortment of grilled specials that changes daily, but that always includes fish such as salmon, tuna, and mahi-mahi served with an assortment of tasty sauces, as well as a meat selection, soup, and a daily special that is invariably creative, intriguing, and tasty.

The regular menu, while not extensive, is handsomely varied and includes a zesty Thai seafood stew ($21), cider scallops ($32), a comforting pan roasted chicken breast ($19), and filet au poivre ($25). The appetizer menu lists, among other items, an organic mesclun salad finished with a balsamic rosemary vinaigrette called “Powowgreens” ($7), PEI mussels ($8), vegetable spring rolls ($9), and scrumptious crab cakes ($9).

On our last visit, I enjoyed the grilled salmon served over wilted cabbage and mashed potatoes ($22). My partner made a meal of the Powow crab and coconut bisque (soups come in generous portions, especially for $7), which included lobster, cilantro, scallion, shitake mushrooms and seasonings and turned out to provide a richly layered combination of tastes and textures. While we did not have dessert, we were temped by the Grille’s signature Mexican brownie sundae ($7) as well as the mango ginger crème brûle ($7) and a delicious sounding frozen banana mousse ($7). The Grille boasts a full bar, an agreeably diverse wine selection, (all bottles priced under $40), a tempting martini menu, and a sufficient range of beers both bottled and on tap.

The Grille is housed in a capacious, high-ceilinged room decorated so as to create an ambiance that is both warm and sophisticated. The room is tastefully lit; the walls are hung with large and interesting paintings; and, as if to add a touch of the comfort of home, small bookcases adorn the exposed brick wall opposite the bars.

When you enter, a friendly hostess will greet you and, because there is abundant seating, she will almost always be able to take you to your table immediately. A curved bar on your left wraps a quarter way around the exposed kitchen area, stops, and then continues a few feet farther into the restaurant, so patrons seated at either section enjoy a full view of the team of cooks (a particular treat for those with any culinary aspirations). Toward the rear of the room, a third bar section provides additional seating.

As the restaurant is large, stretching from Amesbury’s Main Street to the river that gives the Grille its name, there are a number of different areas in which to dine and as one goes “deeper” into the room, the atmosphere becomes increasingly intimate. At the back, a number of tables overlook Amesbury’s renovated Millyard and a section of rapids on the Powow River as it tumbles to the nearby Merrimack. Chef/owner Francis Broadbery has recently installed an upper level along the back wall of the restaurant, increasing the number of tables with river views. A small bar tucked into a corner on that upper level provides a quiet nook where you can enjoy drinks and conversation.

The wait staff are consistently energetic and friendly, prompt, and entirely knowledgeable about the menu. On those rare occasions when they cannot answer a question, they willingly seek the answers.

Manager Vaughan Abbot also happens to be a music buff and has an uncanny ability to choose interesting selections that nicely enhance the entire Grille experience. Never too loud or too sentimental, the music sets a pleasant tone and adds a happy accent to every meal. On Sundays, the Grille opens at noon for brunch, which includes live music as well.

The Grille is open Monday through Saturday at 5 PM. Reservations are usually unnecessary but are accepted. The Grille is easy to find and, since Amesbury is located at the junction of I-95 and I-495, it’s a short trip from anywhere on the North Shore.

If you’re looking for good food in a pleasant setting, we highly recommend the Powow River Grille.

Powow River Grille, 33 Main Street, Amesbury

978 388 2300 •