The Stage is a modern American bistro located in downtown Keene. It is located at the end of Main Street, next to a church at the traffic circle. Because of the volume of traffic at the circle, it’s difficult to get to. Parking is also limited and challenging. The exterior of the restaurant is welcoming and features dark wood paneling. The Stage hosts outdoor seating in warmer weather as well.
The interior is a mix of modern industrial metal and old world wooden design. The dining area is highlighted with contemporary lighting and victorian metal ceilings. Black and white photographs of New York architecture are hung in the dining area with a wooden mural behind the bar. The tables are brushed metal or wooden, giving the place a sleek refined look.
I ordered from the specials menu rather than from the standard menu. The Stage had quite a few specials ranging from salads, appetizers, sandwiches to entrees. I chose the open steak sandwich. The sandwich wasn’t really a sandwich. It was more like a large helping of steak slices piled on top of garlic bread with a little bit of mushroom gravy. The steak was topped with swiss cheese and garnished with a baby orange bell pepper. Fries were served on side in a metal basket.
The fries were crispy and salted perfectly. The beef in the sandwich was high quality. There was no gristle or fat running through the steak slices. The mushroom gravy has very few mushrooms in it, and I had only a little gravy in proportion to the steak. The garlic seasoning wasn’t easily distributed on the bread, but it was tasty. Overall the sandwich tasted good, but it was served to me at room temperature. This was supposed to be a hot sandwich, but it had sat back in the kitchen long enough for the cheese to fully resolidify, and for the meat to be at room temperature. This was disappointing.
With the exception for the sandwich being cold, the service was OK. I was welcomed and seated quickly. The waitress kept my drinks filled and was attentive without being intrusive. The staff tried to stay on the floor and be available as much as possible. The manager was also there, and made a point to stop by my table.
The restaurant was moderately to higher priced. The special menu seemed more reasonable as most sandwiches were priced around $12. The quality was good, and the portions were generous. There was a lot of steak in my sandwich and if it was served when it was hot, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I also think going for dinner may be a better option than lunch. Even though parking and getting there is difficult, I do recommend The Stage.
Austin Cook can be contacted at