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Mid Coast ME:Sea Basket, Treats, Dolphin, Renaissance Bistro

Science Chick May 5, 2008 04:21 AM

We spent the weekend in the Brunswick area and had mostly positive experiences. Started by shooting up to Wiscasset for lunch at the Sea Basket. Awesome as usual...fish and clams fried to perfection. The convection fryers they use really keep the grease low and the coating super-crisp. Plus their fish is just the freshest! Sweet potato fries were great, and my daughter loved their lobster roll. It comes on a very large sub style roll, and we were worried that the bread/lobster ratio wouldn't work. However, the roll was not too dense, and it really worked. We hit Treats for some coffee and dessert. They were pretty well sold out, but we picked up a small multi-fruit crumb pie and split it. These guys really have it right! Not too sweet, tender crust and great medley of pears,cherries, blueberries.

That night we headed down to the Dolphin Chowderhouse in S. Harpswell, based on board recommendations. We couldn't have been more pleased! The fish chowder was heavenly...not too thick, loaded w/fresh fish and subtly seasoned. The blueberries muffins that come with it were yummy...a bit too sweet for me but my daughter wolfed them down! Had a great steamed lobster...I have to say this was one of the best lobsters I've ever had! I think this was my first fresh Maine lobster and there really *is* a difference! Very sweet and tender. My daughter's salad with crab meat was also great...nice small lumpmeat, although I didn't think the greens were quite as fresh as they couldn't have been.

The finale was our brunch the following morning at Renaissance Bistro in Brunswick. Unfortunately, this is where things fell short. The place was completely empty when we arrived around 11, but there were about 4 tables by the middle of our meal. Coffee was abyssmal...no espresso available and the brewed tasted like lame Sysco packets. We ordered an omelet and an order of french toast. The toast is only french baguette....no whole grain or other options...sigh. When I told the waitress we like our toast dry, she looked at me like I had 2 heads, so I explained "no butter", which still seemed to bewild her. Small complimentary pear/ginger muffins arrived....tasty and a nice touch. Omelet was fine, which a nice potato medley of regular/sweet potatoes. The french toast was a joke....three very thin baguette slices (on the diagonal). My daughter was still starved afterwards, and my BF and I decided for another entree....so we ordered some pancakes and my daughter ordered a panini. Then we waited.....and waited.....and waited....mind you, there are only 4 other tables with people. After 25-30 min, we simply needed to leave and told them to forget it. A woman came storming up to our table (manager, owner?) and insisted that they were plating our food right then and that we had to understand because there were other parties ahead of us. We agreed.....but COME ON!!! This was a joke! I don't know how they are running their kitchen, but they should be able to handle 5 parties simultaneously....how long does it take to make some pancakes? I could see 10-15 minutes since there were other orders...but 30 minutes? Anyway another 5-10 min passed and the food showed up. The pancakes were the overly fluffy variety that I am not fond of...all white flour yuck. One was unexplicably missing blueberries. The panini was fine...smoked mozzarella, peppers...
We paid our hefty tab...no adjustment or apology was made for the inconvenience. We won't return.

All in all pretyy great chow weekend!!!

  1. i
    irwin May 5, 2008 01:47 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to give us your lengthy wonderful report. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the Dolphin, and the Sea Basket, which is a favorite of mine also.
    As far as the Renaissance Bistro is concerned, you now know why so many restaurants go out of business...They have no idea how to please people. Well, at least you did have some good experiences over the weekend.

    2 Replies
    1. re: irwin
      Science Chick May 5, 2008 05:16 PM

      My thoughts, exactly. In fact, my BF pointed out to me during our meal "Why do you think they are half empty on a Sun. morning?" BTW, sorry about the lengthiness.....one of my downfalls!

      1. re: Science Chick
        m
        mainemal May 6, 2008 06:03 AM

        No apology required: I enjoyed, and learned, even though I'm pretty familiar with all the places about which you wrote.

    2. Science Chick May 5, 2008 07:57 AM

      I also forgot to mention...we stopped at Cogden doughnuts in Wells also. Great homemade donuts....the old fashioned was to die for!

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