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Anneka Jans in Kittery

I would be interested in hearing what others think. Thanks.

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  1. The food, cocktails and service are excellent. However, when the windows to the street are closed it is extremely noisey. The windows are very large and when open almost makes the place an outdoor restuarant. It is always full and very crowded so if you are looking for conversation in cold weather skip it. Otherwise a terrific place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emilief

      I beg a differ - with a caveat: a lot of people love a loud and boisterous dinning room, like you I prefer to be able to be able to hear my friends and talk without yelling. However! I suggest to you that the bar is the perfect place to sit on a cold winter night. The acoustics are perfect at the bar and the bar staff is extremely knowledgeable re the all aspects of the food, wine and beer lists.

      Give it a try. Let me know how you like it.

      Jeff Haines

    2. I've repeated it on this board some many times that one would think I'd be embarrassed at this point. Well I'm not. The best restaurant in Portsmouth, NH is actually in Kittery, ME, Anneke Jans! Both emillief & JH agree on the high level of food & service but emillief is correct on the accoustics. Luckily, for the DW and I, the bar is our seating of choice.

      Enjoy yourself, as I know you will,
      Harp

      -----
      Anneke Jans
      60 Wallingford Sq., Kittery, ME 03904

      8 Replies
      1. re: Harp00n

        I still think Black Trumpet is on a par with Annke Jans.

        1. re: bewley

          I don't disagree with you bewley that the Black Trumpet is definitely one of the better restaurants in the area. But in my several experiences there it's not been as consistenly good as Anneke Jans.

          Harp

          1. re: Harp00n

            Since the ice storm, we have eaten at Black Trumpet about 4 times for the “Stimulus Package” which includes three courses for $19 pp. The food is always excellent, but the service is not consistent at Black Trumpet. We ate there just the other night.

            We have eaten at Anneke Jans a few times, once at the bar, and I must admit, the service was always outstanding. The last time we were Anneke Jans we had the mussels with the blue cheese addition and they were most flavorful, but the mussels were also miniscule. It put me off a bit. They should have 86ed the item rather than serve them. I also think their drinks are prohibitively expensive. But, considering the service issues at Black Trumpet, I must admit Harp is correct that Anneke Jans is a better experience overall.

            1. re: bewley

              I have heard people complain about small mussels more than a few times. I can tell you most chefs seek out the smaller mussels, rather than the gaggers. Bang's Island mussels are bought by high end restaurants, where as the PEI's (at half the price) are bought buy cost cutting businesses. I prefer the higher quality, smaller, Maine grown shellfish.

              1. re: simplyput

                Have you heard people complain about the small mussels at Anneke Jans or just "small mussels" in particular, because growing up in NE and eating mussels for the better part of 30 years, I've never seen such small mussels before that dish. We had the same dish there before and the mussels were fine in size, flavor and texture.

                Quite possibly there's a happy "medium" sized mussel.

                1. re: bewley

                  Hi bewley,
                  Sorry for the delayed reply. After reading a couple of other posts by our Hound friend, "simplyput", I think we got us a knowledgeable industry insider.
                  The aquaculture industry standard for rope-grown mussels is 2.25 to 4".
                  With most of the product being closer towards the lower end of that range.

                  The Great Eastern Mussel Farms Inc. (GEM) of Tenants Harbor was the pioneer in Maine, circa 1978, in the raft farming of mussels. I believe they were still the largest in ME until the owner sadly shutdown operations in July of '08.

                  That leaves Bangs Island as the top dog in this segment of ME aquaculture. They, along with others, are expanding their production to meet the increasing year-round demands of the discerning restaurant chefs looking for a local top quality option. Here's my Cliff Clavin-ism for the day; you won't find Bangs Island on most maps as it is actually Cushing island. Long story shorter; owned by the Cushings circa 1700, sold to the Bangs, circa 1760 and then back to the Cushings in the 1850's.

                  Harp

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    Hi Harp,

                    On the menu these were listed as "Pemaquid Mussels." The mussels themselves (not the shell bit) came out between .5" to .75."

                    Would this be about average for this type of farmed mussel?

                    I did have this dish twice and the first time, the edible bits were not as small, so for this reason I felt a bit gypped on my second visit.

                    1. re: bewley

                      ".5" to .75"" (meat ,not shell)
                      When i said the "standard" shell length was 2.25-4" that was only a rough guide line and not any kind of a state or federal requirement. I obviously agree that what you encountered is rediculously small under any circumstances, bewley.

                      Anneke Jans might have switched recently to Pemaquid Mussel Farm or as a fill-in for Bangs Island production deficiencies. PMF is located in Damariscotta and is an off-shoot of GEM, that I mentioned above. Carter Newell , the president, along with others previously associated with GEM bought some of the docks and a vessel from GEM prior to their demise.

                      AJ's local vendor for PMF is probably York Lobster & Seafood. Some Hannaford's also carry Pemaquid. I don't know whether that's the case with their Portsmouth store but it might being interesting to compare their size to what you were served at AJ. In any event, I would definitely make AJ's management aware of your displeasure, I mean really!

                      Harp