Driving thru Maine Restaurants
We will be driving thru Maine this September, and have reserved at the following restaurants. If anyone knows anything about them, good or bad, please let us hear from you. Thanks.
Sturbridge Mass - Public House'
Kennebunckport - White Barn Inn- dining room
York Beach - Blue Sky
Cape Arundel Inn
Mabel's Lobster Claw (lunch)
Clam Shack (lunch)
Camden - Samoset Resort - Marcels
Rockland - Oceans Edge
Bayview Lobster (lunch)
Waterfront Rest (lunch)
I agree regarding "The Edge" -- at best it is a wannabe. I would bypass "Marcels" as well. OK for brunch on Sunday morn -- but dinner is "amature hour". I had dinner at Primo last Friday night -- all was well. I saw some slippage here as well last season but no sign of it now.
The Ocean's Edge (it's actually in Lincolnville) is abysmal. Despite being written up in Food and Wine and in Travel and Leisure, their food was shockingly bad. Peeky toe crab cakes said to be cooked in a wood oven were clearly pan fried. Asparagus soup was served in a frustratingly slim Irish coffee mug. But worst of all, I had to send my entre back. I very, very rarely send something back. A short rib as dry as shoe leather (literally it was like a flavorless beef jerky) and overcooked fillet. My husband got the lamb trio and it was absurd-- also overcooked and the homemade lamb sausage was a disc the size of a quarter. I understand moderate portions, but this was ridiculous. They comped our dessert which was good because it was also terrible. I had some sort of rhubarb/juniper berry compote with a rosemary pound cake. The compote was so sour as to be barely edible and the cake was dry as a bone. Ick. The only upside was that we sat by a very fun and friendly couple who helped to distract us from the terrible meal. Oh, and the valet buggered off with our car key so we couldn't even make a speedy exit. It was so bad that I'm almost tempted to try it again on the assumption that we must have hit an off night. But if this is a special trip or you aren't in Maine frequently I wouldn't risk it. I highly recommend Chase's Daily in Belfast. Belfast is much less touristy that most places on route 1 (it's just off route one on route 3). The restaurant is beautiful and they use veggies from their own garden. Schedule and service can be spotty, though, so I'd call ahead. The food is great though.
I haven't seen any recent Chow reports on Primo in Rockland, but last year, there was an emerging consensus that the place had lost some of it's edge, and become less-interesting and uneven. Anyone been there recently?
I think reviews here on Francine have been mixed; again, you may want to find the thread from earlier this year.
Jeez, I gotta say that for husband and me, the recent carping about Primo has seemed off base. We go there fairly frequently and are extremely rarely less than happy campers with our food. Once, I think two years ago, I got a fish entree--char, maybe?--that wasn't cooked properly for me, well, overcooked I think it was. So, we never hesitate to recommend the place to anyone whose pocketbook is ok with that sort of dining. We love to sit in the bar and have access to both the bistro and the main dining menus.
Search the board for discussion of Blue Sky. The restaurant is beautiful, the food excellent but quite expensive. The service is uneven. We ate at Lydia Shire's restaurant Scampo in Boston this weekend and the manager there told me she was headed to Maine to work at Blue Sky to see if they could straighten out some service problems. I think the White Barn Inn is stuffy and pretentious. I prefer Arrows in Ogunquit, but there are those who think it is also pretentious. However, it is beautfiul, has fabulous gardens to walk through and they grow their own produce, and the food is wonderful. For a really nice dinner with a great view, you should try the sister restaurant to Arrows which is more casual, with great ocean views- MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit.Excellent food and more moderately priced than White Barn and Arrows. Have fun and enjoy Maine.
I will only write about my experiences at the restaurants that I have visited:
White Barn Inn is the top rated restaurant in Maine..... Food, ambiance, service, is all excellent. The only matter that I do not like is reservations are offered at 6pm or 9pm.
Francine Bistro is also excellent and very highly rated, and have been getting better ratings then Primo, but the Camden/Rockland area has many wonderful restaurants.
Come, eat and enjoy, but don't forget to report back to us so we can all enjoy !!!!!