The Irony of an Ending – Four Aces Diner

My alma mater, Dartmouth College, is a wonderful place to get a great education and a great place to spend four years. My eldest son, L.J. Sconzo, an occasional contributor to this  blog, just graduated after four mostly wonderful years. I say mostly wonderful, because while Hanover and the surrounding area has great farms, cider makers, bakers, dairies and cheese makers, the restaurants, after an initially bright start have proved to be nothing better than fair. Unlike all of its other Ivy League rivals, the area does not have a single world class or even national class restaurant – to me, its only flaw as it relates to its educational peers. While we generally had fair to good meals, there wasn’t ever anything that excited me – until last week, when, as we were leaving for home, my son and I stopped at a diner West Lebanon, N.H., that he had just heard about from friends – The Four Aces Diner.

The diner has been around since the 1950’s. It was located in its original area until the early ’80’s when it moved to its present location. The diner assumed new ownership and management in 2011.

The setting has a real old time diner feel to it without trying to. We sat at the counter on stools towards the end of its brisk lunch time service.

The food wasn’t fancy, but it was good, real good and quite reasonably priced.

My son had their Hash Benedict. This hearty dish had perhaps the most delicious corned beef hash that I had ever tried, a beautifully and tastily prepared Hollandaise was the all-too-rare real thing.

There were many items on the menu that tempted me, but the off-the-menu special Lobster Roll won. Since there was no price associated with the lobster roll, I expected to be gouged, but I was in for a shock. When I received the bill, I almost fell on the floor when I read that it was only $12.95, especially because it was full of sweet and succulent meat from the best parts of the lobster and it came with excellent fries and slaw.

We finished by sharing a giant home made cake donut. This had great donut flavor, but wasn’t quite as wonderful texturally as I imagine it must have been when it was first made.

While much of this blog is about some of the most complex and expensive food in the world, I appreciate and look for good food, whether it be fancy or simple. Four Aces Diner certainly isn’t fancy, but it, on this day at least, had some really, really tasty food at very reasonable prices. Too bad that we only found it once my son was leaving the area!


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5 Responses to The Irony of an Ending – Four Aces Diner

  1. Gerry Dawes says:

    I am ready to go up there with you for that lobster roll!!!

  2. Ole M. Amundsen, Jr. says:

    I lived in Hanover in the 1970’s, what happened to Lou’s? Of course, Lou was there at that time as were Dan and Wit across the river. Remember My Dinner with Andre’?, I had the breakfast equivalent with a total stranger at Lou’s and the food was not bad either. Never went to Four Aces but that hash looks mighty nice. Hanover Inn at that time had very good food, best grilled lamb chop ever out on their terrace. It was a Rock Resort in those days.

    • docsconz says:

      Lou’s is still there. It’s not as good as it was back in the ’70’s and ’80’s (then again maybe my expectations have increased), but it is till quite busy. The Hanover Inn’s food has been rather stodgy of late, but the hotel has just undergone a major renovation. Maybe that will translate to the Inn too. I hope so.

  3. Jason says:

    Congratulations to your son. I too have heard negative things about the dining options at Dartmouth.

    • docsconz says:

      Jason, it’s not that the food is really all that terrible. It just isn’t nearly as good as it should be considering the wealth of local product available in the area. The food is mostly boring with very few restaurants doing anything interesting or of truly outstanding quality. The Four Aces, though not revolutionary, struck me as caring about what they make and doing what they do very, very well. The food we had was truly satisfying. We left there curious to try more. It was similar in style, but with far better execution than another more well-known diner type restaurant along Rte 4 in Vermont.

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