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Arrows Restaurant - wildly disappointing (long) [Ogunquit, Me]

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binkis Dec 6, 2006 07:40 PM

My wife and I added a day onto our trip to Boston for a wedding so we could hit Arrows Restaurant. We ate at the White Barn Inn this past summer during a vacation and wanted to try the other A+ restuarant in Maine. We know many people who have been and raved about it. Sadly, we will not be among the ravers.

Once sat, we were offered water service (a little over the top) and an optional butter service (a LOT over the top). I'm a big butter fan, though, so we went with the butter service. 3 specialty butters which were just fine. But when we were served bread, we were given one slice each. So we quickly were without bread, with plenty of butter still left to go. We eventually had to request more bread.

We did the six-course tasting menu. It was a little odd that there was no amuse buche, but it seemed particularly lacking when the first course came out - lobster and brussel sprouts - a fairly heavy way to begin without a small amuse. The lobster dish itself didn't really work, since the strong the strong lobster flavor competed with the strong brussel sprout flavor the whole way. [Remember this comment...it's the motif of the evening.] Toward the end of the dish we struck a lemony sauce underneath, which kind of brought the dish together. But too little too late. To be clear, each element of the plate was prepared well - it was the design of the recipe that seemed to fail.

The second course was what I imagine is their signature - 4 lettuces, 4 oils, 4 vinegars. This was the home run. An extremely interesting and well-designed plate that wowed us. It would be worth returning just to have this.

The third course was fish - turbot, to be exact. This plate was out of control, and not in a good way. The turbot had a sauce of shrimp and oysters which was very strong. Again, a bad choice since the fish and the sauce really fought each other the whole way through the dish. There was also a fried potato ball on top of jerusalem artichoke puree and some other sauces. (?) There was ALSO a small fennel salad with mandarin orange. The entire plate was complicated and didn't work well together. It looked like it was way too involved, as well. Honestly one of the most poorly designed fish courses I've ever experienced. I thought it would be the most poorly designed course of the night. Sadly, I was wrong.

The fourth course was beef, prepared traditionally with potato and red wine reduction. There was certainly nothing surprising about this dish but it was very well executed and delicious. I would go back for the salad and the beef only, except the beef was $44 a la carte! Huh?! But for us, it was lovely.

The fifth course was cheese. Or was supposed to be, anyway. Cheese plates are supposed to be about the cheese. On this plate, the cheese was an accent. There were two cheeses, both rather mild. The white cheese came resting on pear. (So far so good.) Next to it was a poached pear. (OK.) With pomegranite seeds. (Uh...) And marmalade. (Stop.) And other accompaniments. (STOP!) The blue cheese was fine but came with a similarly long list of side items, each of which was displayed at least as prominently as the cheese. And in case that's not enough, there were slices of homemade dried sausage on the plate. As before, taken individually, each item was fine. But as a whole, the plate was a disaster, and didn't remotely serve the function that a cheese plate is meant to serve.

The sixth course was dessert. Once again, a very involved plate that didn't seem to merge in any coherent theme. Vanilla panna cotta was DELICIOUS! a small spoon with cranberries and pomegranite seeds (there they are again) seemed superfluous. There was also a small bowl of unmemorable chocolate ice cream, over which we poured pomegranite juice from a small pitcher on the plate. The pitcher sat in a small pool of chocolate, which made for messy and unappealing occurrences when you picked it up to pour.

The dessert plate might be better remembered if there were petit fours at the end of the meal. After all that food, dark chocolate is more than a fun bonus - it's a way to clean it all up once you're done. Since that dessert plate didn't come close to accomplishing that, petit fours would have been most welcome. But alas.

The final kicker was that we went to the entryway to retrieve our coats and after 3-4 minutes, had to eventually hunt someone down back in the dining room to retrieve them.

I will say that the salad dish was tantalizing enough that we would probably return if we were up there during the summer, while the garden is in full operation. But our December 1 visit was a conceptual disaster and didn't live up to the excitement we'd heard about from many our friends. The White Barn Inn, while the food wasn't out of this world, was a much more complete and satisfying dinner experience.

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    emilief RE: binkis Dec 6, 2006 09:25 PM

    Sorry to hear that. Arrows is such beautiful place. Please try again in the summer- we were there in October and it was wonderful. We have eaten there at least 2x year since it opened. The only diappointment we had was one of their "specialty dinners" a Easter in Istanbul, which was not only not good but an historical abomination- all Turkish food- when the Turks are Muslems!!! (We thought it would be Greek food since Easter is a Christian holiday). You should send an email to Clarke Frasier- any time I have a comment he answers. He is such a nice guy. The bread thing is a mystery since usually they come around with a bread basket and ask you to pick your choice then they come around again and again! Please don't write off Arrows.

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      irwin RE: binkis Dec 6, 2006 09:27 PM

      Sorry your experience at the White Barn Inn was not perfect, but we just love it there, and living about 45 minutes away, we save it for special occasions. We don't go to Arrows for many reasons, but I guess some people just love it there. On the Marsh is another favorite of ours.

      1. Joanie RE: binkis Dec 7, 2006 12:34 PM

        What was the cost?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Joanie
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          binkis RE: Joanie Dec 7, 2006 06:22 PM

          $95 per person. $6 for the butter tasting. $125 bottle of white burgundy.

          1. re: binkis
            Joanie RE: binkis Dec 8, 2006 01:44 PM

            You'd think for a $100 meal, they could throw in the "butter tasting".

            1. re: binkis
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              gryphonskeeper RE: binkis Mar 30, 2007 04:51 PM

              That is OUTRAGEOUS! They have a complimentary butter tasting with some of the most delicious freh baked chef's own breads at Richards Bistro On Lowell St in Manchester NH. with every meal, along with cheese, muffin bites and olives/marinated mushrooms/artichokes (depending on the season). These alone are to die for.

              My husband and I just went there again last night and were so thrilled we made reservations for another night next month!

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            irwin RE: binkis Dec 9, 2006 02:02 PM

            They nickle and dime you to the death trap...and if they keep it up it may lead to their demise................

            1. sixelagogo RE: binkis Mar 29, 2007 05:54 PM

              Wow--I had a totally parrall experience with arrows this past Memorial Day weekend..WAY OVER THE TOP with the pretention, yet without the tasty kahoonas to back it up.....the only thing that i feel i got the better of was that the "3 tastings of butter" was complimentary....WHOOO, THANKS!!...now, can i get some bread please??

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                irwin RE: binkis Mar 31, 2007 07:24 AM

                When the Arrows boys had this only restaurant, it was truly excellent. They are now in the process of opening a 3rd restaurant I believe in the Boston area. So that may explain why things may go downhill. Its best when the owner is in the kitchen,and when he leaves the kitchen, anything can take place. Don't forget, when a new upcoming chef is very well trained, why does he need to work for someone else?
                Think about it.....

                1. mcel215 RE: binkis Mar 31, 2007 02:11 PM

                  Have you been up to The Cape Arundel Inn in Kennebunkport?

                  To me, it's devine.

                  The food and service are excellent. The view? Amazing.

                  Just thought I would pass on a lovely experience.

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                    nobadfood RE: binkis Apr 1, 2007 03:53 PM

                    Arrows was unique for the area for the first few years after it opened. It was only a seasonal reastaurant then. We'd go there in late summer for the house-cured prosciutto when the Black Mission Figs came in. The food was cutting edge and the service was tight and attentive. There were no surcharges for "butter" and there was usually a visit from Mark or Clark some time during the meal. We do not live close by but always tried to get there once or twice a year--it was worth it. After the 3rd or 4th year, things started to slip. The last time we went (3 years ago) was to celebrate a special birthday. The first course was served--rather sloshed--over the side of the plate into the lap of my partner. There was a half-articulated "oops" and no one said anything more, even though the waitperson was well aware of the gaff. Finally she brought a wet-wipe which did nothing to remove the grease stain. I wrote a letter to Mark and Clark and received no reply. It really would have been okay had someone sincerely apologized, offered a complimentary glass of something or dessert, or (after the letter) offered to pay for the dry cleaning--just any little token. The food has always been good there, but we have not been, nor will we, return after that experience. There are just too many good new restaurants to experience without backtracking to a bad experience.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: nobadfood
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                      emilief RE: nobadfood Apr 1, 2007 04:54 PM

                      We have had dinner at Arrows every year for about 15 years (or as long as they have been open). The food and service are excellent, but the atmosphere is unbeatable. RE the complaints about the butter I think this is ridiculous. They give you butter. If you want a tasting of several other butters you pay for it. you get butter and you don't have to pay for it. Why complain if you don;t want the gourmet butters or don;t want to pay for them. Silly. If they didn't offer the butter no one would have a complaint. We had a bad service experience at MC last year ( 1 bad experience out of about 15 visits) and I sent Clarke an email. He sent a return email profoundly apologizing. The next time we went to MC we got extra attention. They are still a seasonal restaurant, although the season is( not by their choice, but a matter of fact) longer. It is a wondrful place and they still have house cured proscuitto, among other house made delicacies.

                      1. re: emilief
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                        sweettoothduo RE: emilief Apr 2, 2007 01:29 PM

                        I am a HUGE fan of the White Barn Inn although it is out of my price range now. I have eaten there several times, and have never walked away disappointed.
                        We decided to try Arrows a number of years ago and I would NEVER go back. The service was horrible. My husband wanted some steak entree and the waiter said"No, you don't want that".
                        My husband said yes, I do.
                        It is one thing to say you don't recommend it,but to say it and continue to argue it(which the waiter did, and it made my husband all the more determined).
                        I had ordered proscuitto with a rasp. sauce. It was the worst presentation I have ever seen. It looked like they threw the ham all over the plate and then splattered it with sauce( which looked like blood). Not very appetizing.
                        The waiter never got better. He was snobbish through the whole meal. I don't remember much else except that we wished we had been eating at the White Barn instead.

                        1. re: sweettoothduo
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                          emilief RE: sweettoothduo Apr 3, 2007 08:45 AM

                          Well. I think trying a place once many years ago is not really giving it a chance, especially where your main complaint was the waiter. Then again, each to their own. Anyone who reads these boards knows that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. Foe example, we personally dislike the White Barn Inn for its pretentiousness and find it over priced and the food not a good as Arrows..

                          1. re: emilief
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                            sweettoothduo RE: emilief Apr 3, 2007 11:48 AM

                            Actually, the wait staff was just the highlight. I just thought the food(and presentation) was okay. Not really worth the price. Nothing struck me as memorable or good enough to go back for. That said, giving it another shot would be fair, but I didn't think for those prices that it was worth another disappointment.

                            I thought I wouldn't like the atmosphere at the White Barn either, but our wait staff has always been down to earth when I asked questions (showing my complete ignorance of all things alcoholic and not really caring what their reaction would be) they surprisingly answered me with humor and humility, not arrogance. It is overpriced now. When we started going it was around $55/head.Now it is closer to $95? Hence the reason we haven't been. Always interesting to hear an arguement from the other side though.

                            1. re: sweettoothduo
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                              babyslam RE: sweettoothduo Apr 3, 2007 12:40 PM

                              My partner and I ate at Arrows on July 24, 2002. The tab for two was $458.30. We thought the food was only all right. The staff was decidedly inattentive and aloof. My sharpest memory is of ordering the wine. I had chosen a bottle for a mere $75, but the waiter would not accept that. With considerable condescension, he told me the proper wine for the meal was something else. Wine that cost $130 a bottle. I said, "No." He said, "Yes." I don't ordinarily give in when being brow-beaten, but he finally wore me down, and I ordered the wine he demanded I get. I know it was my own fault for knuckling under, but after that experience, I will never return to Arrows.

                              1. re: babyslam
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                                emilief RE: babyslam Apr 3, 2007 04:06 PM

                                Well, W eat at Arrows all the time and our bill for two is usually about $200- 250. If you ordered $450 worth of food, whose fault is that? Did you have the caviar service?? You can look at their online menu- even the multicourse tasting menu is only $95 per person. Most entrees are in the $40-45 range. Add a bottle of wine and you have $250. You pay for what you order. In the 15 or so years we have eaten there, no one has ever tried to talk us into anything. Very bizzare. How about just say NO!

                                1. re: emilief
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                                  seacoastguy027 RE: emilief Jul 11, 2008 06:45 PM

                                  I have to disagree with you about the price of a meal at Arrows. It is almost impossible to get out of that restaurant for less than 300 unless you order based on the right side of the menu (meaning looking at the price first) With apps at 20 and entrees at 45 that is 130 for an app and entree for two. Add on a 100 dollar bottle of wine and 6 dollars for butter, 6-8 for one of ten bottles of water, dessert, and it is very normal to spend 350-400 with tip at this restaurant.

                                  I have to agree with babyslam and others that the service at this place is horrible. For that price you would expect that a server would have two tables at the most. Service would be flawless. We have eaten there a couple of times and the service has been spotty with dirty dinner plates sitting in front of us for 20 minutes before removal. For a place that "requires" a jacket their service doesn't live up to it. I think that Mark and Clarke should read this board as there are WAY more negative posts than positive.

                                  For my Money I would go to Hugo's or White Barn Inn before I ever go back to Arrows, and I don't recommend it to friends visiting.

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                      davidcaf RE: binkis Jun 10, 2007 01:21 PM

                      On a recent experience at Arrows, the waiter dropped two hot cups to cappuccino on my wife, burning her arm and covering her attire and purse. At the culmination of the meal, the server informed that Arrows would not be charging us for my wife’s dessert. I was horrified by the lack judgment in this half hearted response to burning my wife’s arm and ruining her birthday dinner. Arrows clearly put their revenue ahead of our dining experience. After a follow-up call to Clark, one of the owners of Arrows, it was agreed that Arrows would credit us for the full cost of the meal. I was also a bit curious when the waiter informed that Arrows did not have the Pinot Noir I had selected from the wine list in stock and the replacement wine the waiter recommended had a metal screw cap as opposed to a cork. Arrows will not be a five star dining experience until such time as they appropriately train their wait staff and management.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: davidcaf
                        invinotheresverde RE: davidcaf Jun 11, 2007 11:57 AM

                        There is nothing wrong with Stelvin closures (aka screwcaps); they actually keep wine from corking and spoiling much better than a traditional cork. Many prestigious wineries use them now, such as Plumpjack and Caymus. They aren't a sign of "cheap" wine.
                        Burning your wife, on the other hand, and not comping your meal is inexcusable.

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                        pr39 RE: binkis Oct 14, 2007 01:08 PM

                        10/13 we too had a rather disappointing meal at Arrows. The meal was not bad, it was worse, uninteresting and uninspired. In a word, average. If Arrows opens a restaurant in Boston as rumors have it, keeping at the current level of food will be the end of them.
                        We, two of us, ordered the so-called Garden menu ($97.00), starting with cured meats which were amateurish, the kind that your neighbor makes in his back yard with a basic Home Depot bought smoker. You know that meat which taste like smoke, not like meat. (Where I come from, smoked meat is supposed to have a hint of smoke, nothing more.) Of three small samples, sausage was the simplest and the only one, in my mind, worth keeping.
                        Next came garden salad which was the best dish of the evening. Not too exciting, though. A bit of green salad with a good dressing.
                        Fish, line caught halibut, was a disappointment. A small piece was overdone and dry on one side, just right on the other. It main taste was of butter (in which it was sauteed). Meager helping of a good side dish (quail egg) made you hope that better is yet to come.
                        Next course, tenderloin, was indeed better then the fish, but not excellent. It was done right and served with an interesting beats sauce and warm red cabbage.
                        Cheese course was a joke. Two miniature pieces of cheese (one of which was a bitter brie), about ½ square inch would be embarrassment if served at home.
                        Desert much the same. Were it not for chocolate panna cotta, it would have been entirely forgettable.
                        Looking back, I ate a lot of bread waiting for small and underwhelming dishes.
                        They made sure that we were out before 9pm when second seating starts.
                        I could not help remembering another prix fixe dinner at Aki in NYC, on 4th street, ($27.00). Though not all dishes were at the same level, most were events that made us happy we were there to participate in the chef’s artistry – artistry was the ingredient notably missing from the dinner at Arrows.
                        We did not have any problems with waiting stuff. What was over the top for us is the discrepancy btw. price and quality of dishes. There was really nothing to justify the expense ($320 total).
                        Setting of the restaurant is nice but does not itself merit a visit.
                        Arrows’s fame is a bubble which will burst sooner or later.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pr39
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                          JohnnyMags RE: pr39 Jul 10, 2008 08:49 AM

                          My wife and I just ate at Arrows for the first time for the holiday weekend, and we were sorely disappointed. We live in New York, and are perfectly happy to pay top dollar for a wonderful mean, but this was not. The service was stiff and pretenious. The butter tasting for $6 was offensive - but if you are going to offer butter for sale, it better be great. It wasn't. It was just butter. We had the six-course garden tasting menu, two cocktails, the butter, and a bottle of wine. With tip, we still made it to $383. The food was entirely forgetable - I literally cannot remember what we had - and we will never be back. Notably, two days later we paid half as much at Fore Street, a delicious and warm restaurant in downtown Portland, and enjoyed our meal twice as much.

                          1. re: JohnnyMags
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                            Earle RE: JohnnyMags Jul 10, 2008 09:12 AM

                            After reading this last post , I think the bubble broke!

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                          derekj RE: binkis Jul 10, 2008 12:34 PM

                          My wife and I tried Arrow's a few weeks ago, and I must concur with binkis. We got off to a bad start when I requested tap water after the waiter tried hard to push the "water service" on us. He then said, "you know, that's the same water that goes into the dishwasher". Unbelievable. For the sake of brevity, the rest of the meal was an experience of condescension and remarkably overpriced food considering the average to above average quality. For this torture we were separated from $290.00! Imagine if we had sprung for the water!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: derekj
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                            maina RE: derekj Jul 11, 2008 11:53 AM

                            So glad that we're not the only one to have an unremarkable meal at Arrows. We dined there a while ago, and I can't even tell you what we ordered -- the only item that left an impression was the bill ($300+). For wonderful, consistent food at far more reasonable price, we dine at Bresca's in Portland or Provence in Ogunquit Not as high end as Arrows, but high quality fresh ingredients without the attitude!!

                            1. re: derekj
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                              JaneRI RE: derekj Jul 11, 2008 12:42 PM

                              "He then said, "you know, that's the same water that goes into the dishwasher".

                              My jaw is on my desk as I read this.

                              1. re: JaneRI
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                                howaboutthat RE: JaneRI Jul 11, 2008 05:59 PM

                                I would have said two things:

                                Firstly -- "I hope for your patrons' sakes that the water in your dishwater is every bit as clean as any of your drinking water."

                                Secondly -- "Good night."

                                1. re: howaboutthat
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                                  JaneRI RE: howaboutthat Jul 14, 2008 05:22 AM

                                  Ha!! Yes, that's a very good point! (sh/be clean water going into a dishwasher)

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                              jackbauer RE: binkis Jul 11, 2008 12:14 PM

                              Seems like yet another reason to stop watching the Phantom Gourmet. Geez, they gave this place an almost perfect score of 98! I did notice their review was about 3 years ago. Could it have gone down in quality that far since?

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                                spear RE: binkis Jan 3, 2012 08:07 PM

                                We had our final meal at this restaurant about a year ago. Arrows has gotten increasingly skimpy and pretentious with each passing year. We think that the James Beard Award is diminished by this kind of establishment because the food is far from extraordinary. Instead it has become contrived and gimmicky. Sadly, it is the counterfeit of elegance and taste - overwrought style with little substance. Yes, service was often "amateur night in Dixieville" Do the owners realize that - "butter and water" specialties make them look ridiculous! For example, we once ordered the white truffle risotto which was so very endless - they just didn't know how to buy a decent truffle. The wine list is way over priced (try 400+% over retail!) and with naive regard to vintage. Our online requests for "customer service" were met with disdain. Never again. Take your $400 elsewhere or see a good psychiatrist instead!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: spear
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                                  wincountrygirl RE: spear Jan 4, 2012 09:08 AM

                                  I am sorry to hear this. I love MC Perkins Cove and have had wonderful food and service there. Also met one of the chef/owners outside as we were leaving and he was gracious and humble.

                                2. rabaja RE: binkis Jul 17, 2012 01:02 PM

                                  Please someone tell me Arrows has improved since the bulk of these reviews.
                                  We are being dragged there this coming Saturday and I will be beyond irritated if we are forced to drop $300 for a completely mediocre experience.
                                  If my request for tap water if met with anything close to what the previous poster received, I will likely be waiting in the car for the oths to finish their dinner.
                                  Is there a way to eat simply there, and not spend so much? -we wouldn't mind the price so much, if it was worthy, but I gravitate towards more simple meals these days, not mufti course tastings...with butter service...egads.
                                  We can't get out of this, my first duty as a new sister-in-law beckons. The other couple doesn't drink much, but It sounds like I'm going to need a Big Pour of something.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: rabaja
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                                    Fatman RE: rabaja Jul 17, 2012 01:56 PM

                                    Rabaja: Prepare to be disappointed--even better, let me lower your expectations, so at least you'll come out even.

                                    Like a moron, I did not read Chowhound reviews before heading to Arrows for a special-occasion dinner a few weeks ago (July 2012), and I was completely underwhelmed.

                                    First the good: the room is beautiful, the gardens are magical, and a server showing up with an amuse as you walk up to the front door is a nice touch. Our service was perfectly fine, and Clark himself was in the kitchen and walked around near the end to greet every table, which was thoughtful. Some of the individual dishes on the tasting menu -- all three of the "Oysters in Green," the grilled lamb (one of the three lamb dishes), the grilled duck (one of the three duck dishes) -- were fantastic. The fancy butters were delicious, as was the bread. They made a very nice cocktail.

                                    Now the bad: They still charge you something like six bucks for the "premium" butter service. The vast majority of the individual dishes on the tasting menu (if you do the math, you end up far above 20, there are 3-4 small dishes per plate) are forgettable, a few were downright bad: the salad with prosciutto was so underdressed as to be tasteless, the desserts (four Asian-influenced desserts) were close to inedible, though I'll acknowledge it might just be my unsophisticated American palate. They were very proud of the fact that Clark and Mark had recently traveled to Asia for inspiration -- judging from the media reviews (see next comment), they do this frequently -- but the desserts, at least, just didn't do it for me; I'd be curious if they're on sounder footing with other Asian-influenced dishes (for example, MC Perkins Cove (see below) had an interesting dish called "'strange flavored' eggplant puree with Chinese long bean tempura"; I'd guess that would be pretty good). You get to run the gauntlet of their glowing reviews from various food publications plastered up on the walls, some going back many decades, when you go to the restroom, which was a little too much "Look at me! Look at me!" for my taste. It feels very much like a restaurant that was once interesting -- benefitng, of course, from a *very* generous regional curve because it's not in a major food city --but I'm sort of guessing that its main interest was (as their website proclaims) that they "introduced 'farm-to-table' to New England in 1988," so it was benefiting from a chronological curve as well, certainly when the first glowing reviews came out. The more recent accolades (James Beard Best Chef in NE 2010) are mystifying to me, unless I was there on a totally off night.

                                    Oh, and the all-in price tag was totally appalling.

                                    Having said all that, my sense was that when they're doing something over a wood fire you're in pretty good shape. So if you have to go, and you have no choice, I'd split the 24oz steak with a friend, have a few cocktails, and enjoy the room and the view. I know it's not terribly adventurous, but I bet they'd do a nice job with it, and the space really is special.

                                    In other news, MC Perkins Cove is equally forgettable -- food is worse; my wife and I both ordered pastas that were so bad we didn't bother finishing them. But it's cheaper than Arrows, so it's easier to forgive. And they do have a couple of very nice hits -- a corn custard based (they say) on Mark's mom's recipe, some tasty fried courses to start with yummy dipping sauces. So, for what it's worth, my advice there would be similar -- if you absolutely have to go, stick with a cocktail, get some fried food for a first course or something that looks like it came from Clark or Mark's mom, and admire the view.

                                    And then walk 30 steps to Footbridge Lobster (the little take-out stand right across the street from MC Perkins Cove, but on the opposite side), where they claim the owner sets out 800 pots and catches all his own lobster, and get your real dinner. Order a lobster roll, light mayo with the lobster, butter on the bun. It was fantastic -- an A plus -- and if I'm ever in Ogunquit again that will be my go-to place for breakfast (they open at 7am), lunch, and dinner, or until my wife orders me to stop.

                                    Good luck!

                                    1. re: Fatman
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                                      irwin RE: Fatman Jul 18, 2012 02:35 PM

                                      Grerat report. Thank you
                                      Clark & Mark -- two bloodsuckers at our expense...

                                      1. re: Fatman
                                        rabaja RE: Fatman Jul 18, 2012 09:28 PM

                                        Thank you so much for the really informative reply, Fatman.
                                        You've confirmed my worst fears , but given us a really good stragedy for getting through the dinner without feeling completely gouged.
                                        Luckily, the company will be good, and we know it will make our companions happy to be there.

                                        I love the idea of cocktails, splitting the steak and enjoying the room. Of course, when I mentioned this game plan to my husband, he said, "but we can split the lobster dish too, right?"...so maybe we will let ourselves get slightly gouged.

                                        Again, thanks for your response. I will be sure to post about our experience.

                                        1. re: Fatman
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                                          wincountrygirl RE: Fatman Jul 19, 2012 03:42 AM

                                          Ate at MC when we were in May and I agree - first time we went we loved it but not so good this time. The first time we had a great porterhouse for two, but no longer on the menu. I do love their onion rings though, so cocktails and onion rings work!!

                                          1. re: Fatman
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                                            vchase RE: Fatman Aug 1, 2012 07:04 AM

                                            Fatman - We were here with a group of friends Sunday night and I think we had relatively similar experiences, albeit maybe different feelings at the end about the experience overall.

                                            The restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous and I loved how the garden and landscaping surrounded the dining room. Our server was excellent, very knowledgeable on the menu and personable while still professional. A friend of ours at the table had gotten up to use the restroom and I immediately noticed one of the runners see this and approached her to make sure she knew where the bathroom was, while the second kid came by to the table to refold the napkin that had just been on her lap. I thought this was a nice touch and reminded me of the service we had gotten at Daniel in NYC. The four of us had done the larger of the two tasting menu's and were getting a little full after the fourth or fifth course and the server was completely cool with us taking a 'breather' and going outside to check out the gardens and snapping a few photos, which I also appreciated. Clark was there too, which somewhat surprised me being a Sunday night and he greeted our table and thanked us for coming and later on signed a copy of the menu for us.

                                            As far as the food goes, all of our courses were prepared well and all of our dishes were pretty much cleaned off, but for me the food just didn't have a lot of 'wow' factor and there wasn't anything I think I'd crave again. Like Fatman, everyone at our table really enjoyed the oysters, duck and the lamb courses. I too took issue with the prosciutto salad at first but I think the key to enjoying that was to eat the prosciutto with the salad greens, which I found a lot more enjoyable. We had the box of Asian desserts, which I think consisted of a fried banana, a coconut pudding and some type of macaroon-like one-biter, and we were instructed to try some of the tamarind paste provided with each of the desserts. On their own, each dessert was 'meh', not really sweet enough for my sweet tooth, and while adding the tamarind paste definitely amped the flavor, it didn't do enough to win me over.

                                            It's hard for me to say whether or not I could recommend this restaurant to someone. The four of us that went are really into food and trying new restaurants, have DVR's filled with Top Chef, Food Network, Anthony Bourdain etc, so this place was somewhere that we were eventually going to splurge on. The food wasn't memorable but we enjoyed the old farmhouse, the garden, the service, the wine pairings, the greeting from a chef that's well respected in his industry. Normally the food aspect would get to me but it's hard to be upset when you're in a beautiful town like Ogunquit on a long weekend vacation with some good friends. The price tag is what it is and I do think your dollar would stretch farther in Portland, but we had made reservations four months in advance and had put money aside since then to make this night happen.

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