Arrows or White Barn Inn
We're from SF and we're going to be staying at the White Barn Inn on an upcoming visit along with some Hound friends from NYC. We want to do one special meal together and are deciding between eating at WBI or heading down to Arrows. Both of them get great national press. I realize that both are expensive, but we're willing to splurg and just wanted feedback from people who might have tried one or the other or both as to which you would pick if you had just one special meal.
This is too easy.
WBI is classy, elegant, and the service is always spot-on. Even though they are both expensive, at WBI the food is beautifully prepared and the portions are surprisingly adequate.
Arrows, on the other hand, is pretentious, stuffy, and overpriced. We have eaten there twice, and both times left hungry. On our last visit, the waiter actualy argued with me when I asked for tap water, eschewing the half-dozen or so pricey bottled selections.
My wife and I often eat at fine restaurants in Boston, NYC, and SF, and have never had this sort of negative vibe from any of them.
White Barn Inn is miles above.
We ate at both White Barn Inn and Arrows last week of September 2009. Hands down recommend White Barn Inn. The service was fantastic, food superb and worth the price. Arrows was a disappointment, the appetizer was neat and inventive, main was okay but not to the standards of the price and then dessert was bland to the point of being almost tasteless. I'm sure the service was fine, but don't remember it out of the ordinary as I found WBI.
Both establishments have a very cool decor.
I have to post this- not The White Barn Inn. I had looked
forward the that meal for months. The food was ok- the service
was lacking- and I fell or the wet floor due the the snow
they did not shovel. I did not get hurt-except for my pride.
I wrote them a letter telling them I wanted nothing, but wanted
still to tell them have disappointed I was. Oh, how they
wanted really wanted to make things right- two weeks later
they decided flowers-would be the way-my husband told them
forget it-meal price 400.00
I can understand Arrows going down hill because I believe one of the partners is now at MC Perkins Cove. I do not go to Arrows because after spending $100 each I leave hungry. I much prefer White Barn Inn. We were there last Sunday Night and the cost is $89 each plus drinks. The food was fabulous,
and yes, each person is served at the same time by their own waiter, and no, no covers were removed from the plates. The $89 includes (4) servings, and how can you beat that for eating dinner in a barn setting, gorgeous flowers, piano music being played, professional waiters, and the whole ambiance cannot be beat for any amount of money. In NYC or Vegas this meal would be $200 each, but no-one complains about that price because of the big city. Let me tell you, for $89 each, White Barn Inn is a bargain, and the finest restaurant in Maine.
Arrows was such a wonderful place when it first started. This was some time ago. Once Mark & Clark owned it, the place got more expensive and precious with every passing season, and we found the food actually getting worse in some ways.
You have to be super-rich to afford Arrows now, and it seems to be all about that and presentation.
My dude and I went to Arrows last weekend for the second time and I have to say, I were both disappointed. They seemed to have taken "fussy" to another level though, for all the fussiness, the service seemed to suffer. For example, we were offered "three types of complimentary butter" (yeah, ok...) though were never re-breaded.
We each had the tasting menu and, at 97$ a head (and in Maine, no less) I think it's a rip off. Nothing was STELLAR, just ok and really small (particularily our salad served 4 ways (4 pieces of lettuce for each way)). Dessert was unsatisfactory and just kinda summed up the experience.
As I said, we had been there before and had been overwhelmed with joy over our meal. This trip, we've decided, was our last trip to Arrows.
I have to agree with Irwin, I would opt for On the Marsh. Definitely my favorite restaurant. Excellent food and atmosphere. Have eaten a number of times (and have stopped) at the White Barn Inn and once at Arrows and both are very good but sounds like you are looking to also have a nice time with friends and I see that being a little difficult at both. I have felt in the past that I needed to keep it to a whisper. Not saying of course that you would be loud by any means but just think On the Marsh would be a more memorable experience. If you're still opting for the WBI or Arrows though, I'd choose Arrows.
Sorry to pipe in again- I have eaten at On the Marsh and we did not have a good meal. Must have been an off day. However, I will say that the atmostphere there is not even close to Arrows or WBI (with Arrows having, by far, the best most beautiful room and setting). We have eaten at Arrows maybe ten times over the years and never felt like we had to whisper!
As you said, both WBI and Arrows have national acclaim. While On the Marsh might be a good place, definitely not in the same league.
Whatever you choose, some advice- be sure to ask the price of things - once at WBI we were inticed into all 8 in our party having a glass of champagne only to find out-too late- that they were charging $16 per glass. I didn't ask the price because I was familiar with the champagne which sells in the 50-60 range for a bottle. Same advice with specials- they recite the specials but don't tell you the price- no one should be embarrased to ask "how much is the special."
Whatever you choose, have a lovely time and remember it is only a meal!!!!
They are both very expensive and abit "fussy." We prefer Arrows because the place is so beautiful, depending upon the time of year as the gardens are blooming at Arrows. The White Barn Inn is very pretentous e.g. they bring all the entrees at once and lift off all the covers at once. I find it silly. I would say that the food in both places is equally good.
If you want a really good meal that is not as expensive you can go to Arrows' more casual restaurant in Ogunquit- MC Perkins Cove- owned by Arrows but much less expensive and a fabulous view- on the ocean, unlik wbi or arrrows.
Both restaurants are fabulous, but I prefer White Barn Inn. The last time at Arrows and spending $100 each I left hungry, which is not the case at White Barn Inn.
Also, for your information, just around the corner from WBI on Rt 9 is a restaurant that we feel is as good as WBI and Arrows, called "On the Marsh".
Similar style eating in a old barn, but just awesome ambiance, and orgasmic dishes, and the last 5 times we were there was a incredible experience. Hope this helps you to decide.