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.
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.
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 $16 per glass. I didn't ask the price because I was familiar with the champagne which sells in the 50-60 range for a bottle. Same advice with specials- they recite the specials but don't tell you the price- no one should be embarrased to ask "how much is the special."
Whatever you choose, have a lovely time and remember it is only a meal!!!!
If you are staying at the White Barn Inn, than I would suggest you eat there.
Both places are lovely, but this way you don't have to think about driving 1/2hr to Arrows.
My dude and I went to Arrows last weekend for the second time and I have to say, I were both disappointed. They seemed to have taken "fussy" to another level though, for all the fussiness, the service seemed to suffer. For example, we were offered "three types of complimentary butter" (yeah, ok...) though were never re-breaded.
We each had the tasting menu and, at 97$ 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.
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.