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shepherds pie rockport

I'm afraid to post this but since nobody else has I feel compelled. Brian Hill of Francine in Camden has quietly opened an incredible spot in Rockport. Great Gastropub type atmosphere and food. Do yourself a favor and go eat there. It's nice to have all of the skill and technique of chef Hill in a more casual spot, also I can walk there which is nice.

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  1. We were there last night. It was very, very good. There were six of us, so we were able to try multiple items. Favorites: the fried clam taco; the pork belly sandwich; the skirt steak with chimichurri; the chicken liver toasts; and, oh yes! the shepherd's pie (and we didn't even order the pie; we ran into friends on the way out who made us taste it...it was rich and unctuous with lamb and creamy mashed taters.) If you go, go early or you'll have to wait.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shooley

      Thanks for the reports - I had been wondering how the new place was. I'll definitely give it a try.
      It's nice to have a bit more life in downtown Rockport.

    2. I agree with the other posters...this place was great. I had the dry rubbed pork ribs with maple bacon beans...truly awesome. The wine / beer list is short, but inexpensive. I was afraid this was going to have the Francine Bistro prices but it doesn't....generally in the range of what you'd expect from a more upscale pub. And I tell you what, I've never seen downtown Rockport with that much buzz...the place and the streets were packed. That's a GOOD thing.

      1. Loved this place so much that we visited it three times in ten days. Although I still prefer Francine's atmosphere, Shepherd's Pie is a cheaper, more accessible alternative (no reservations). We tried the clam tacos, pork belly sandwich, roasted chicken, skirt steak with chimichurri, chicken wings, and mackerel. The pork belly sandwich and mackerel were, by far, our favorites! The bar offers several "special" cocktails each evening, as well an unusual, varied, and affordable beer menu.

        1 Reply
        1. re: arbolton

          Yes...that Pork Belly sandwich is one of the best sandwiches I've ever had...and we're big on sandwiches in my house!

        2. Drove to Shepherd's Pie for dinner last night. Had seen a newspaper article but took into account the positive Chowhound reviews.

          Agree that the food is good and that it's noisy and crowded to capacity, even early. I was a party of one, but didn't wait long for a seat thanks to the helpful host.

          My gripe, and I don't think it's insignificant -- it's Way Too Dark. It was twilight outside in Rockport but dark as a tomb inside the restaurant. To read the menu I had to hold the small candle on the table in one hand and move it slowly over the page. Prep effort by the kitchen in plating my order was wasted because I could barely see the plate when it arrived. I'm not exaggerating. Very tasty but, you know, it's not asking a lot to be able to see the food in front of you. I mentioned this to my efficient and helpful server, Meg, and she said I wasn't the first to mention this. I'm not surprised.

          Would I go again? Probably. The shepherd's pie itself, is worth a repeat. But I'd go even earlier, and try and get a table near an outside window to benefit from the ambient light outside. The alternative? Bring a flashlight.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mr. Viking

            It must depend on where you're sitting. I was seated in the front portion of the restaurant that same night - not next to the window, but not far - and I had no problem seeing. Of course the amazing lightning storm certainly helped to illuminate things!
            I do wish something could be done about the noise. I had a hard time hearing what was being said by my fellow tablemates. Even with the noise, though, I plan on going back many times. What a great addition to Rockport!

          2. Nice little article on Shepherd's Pie in Maine The Magazine this month btw. Hasn't found it's way to the online copy yet...but might: http://www.themainemag.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

              I always hate to jump on bandwagons, but.......Shepards Pie was wonderful. Just came home from there. Had a perfect dinner, drink to dessert. Started with a cocktail special....crushed very (up th hill) local wild blueberries, fresh lime juice, coconut milk and vanilla vodka. Really delightful, and all of $10. Their house wines were very pleasant and very drinkable (mine was a Cote de Rhone) and $5 a glass.
              We started with some organic french fires, only because I didn't notice the shoestring onions. Am not a fries eater, but they were perfectly fried and seasoned. As a band wagon member, I had the pork belly sandwich, which, if I could have eaten more, I'd have had another of. Pork belly was perfectly grilled, with mildly vinegar cabbage that balanced the richness, and some lighty pickled (?) cukes and sliced carrots, along with a poppyseed dressing. Superb.
              Companion ha a cheese plate with homemade chutney, pickled daikon, bread and dijon. Nice, ripe and mature local cheeses.
              Now I'm a dessert person, and had eaten (as I always do when in the area) at Primos (in the new bar room) the night before. I've always loved Price's baking, from back when he was in my area at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Inn, but his budino was overbaked last night. Shepard's offered one chocloate dessert, a pot de creme. It was perfect, Rich, smooth, creamy, with unsweetened whipped cream to top it off, along with (it's summer in Maine) wild blueberries.
              All the servers were pleasant and effecient' and it's a really nice mix of locals and visitors. It will become my go to place. Want to try the clam taco, the shepards pie, the burger.........

            2. I cannot wait to go! My wife and I will be going Saturday evening and I will be sure to give my review afer our outing!

              2 Replies
              1. re: gwnorth

                I notice in your profile that you'd like to open an Irish pub. Don't you think the old Kelsey's Appliance space on Main Street in Rockland was just MADE for an Irish pub?

                1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                  Couldn't agree more! Love to have a RiRa type place in Midcoast area.......

              2. Went wife my spouse on Saturday night at around 6. Was packed to the gills but we sat at the bar which is our typical MO. Had a basil martinii concoction that was fantastic and then followed up with a Red Racer Ale. From Surrey, BC and served in a can but was great! We split the squid/olive/cherry pepper app which was fresh and delicious. My wife had the pork special which was excellent and I went with the fried clam tacos which were out of this world. FRESH ingredients, super helpful and friendly bartender (forgot his name or I would tell him how great he was), and a fantastic night all around. Thanks Shepherds and we'll be back for more!

                1. Thanks so much, Chowhounders, for this great rec. Just came back from an excellent dinner there. We all loved our food: fried clam tacos, pork belly sandwich, mac & cheese, even the peas and potatoes were superb. And the cheese plate was better than most, and at a fair price. We will be back!

                  1. Thank you for posting! I couldn't agree more. I've been three times and have been just thrilled each time. The real standout for me has been the fried clam tacos. Love the atmosphere, too. A great place

                    1. How "family friendly" would you consider this? We are taking a huge family trip to Maine this summer. We are a group of 18. About 8 of us are 30somethings, we have our parents, (50-60) something's, and 5 kiddos (1-3). We will be celebrating a 30th birthday and a 29th birthday this night, and the 29 year old and his wife travel based on food, so this is their rec. Are we crazy to take this many there?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: hmoore

                        Since no one else has responded, I'll give you my gut feeling on this - I love Shepherd's Pie, but it really doesn't strike me as a "family" restaurant. It's casual, but it definitely has an adult vibe. It's also fairly small, and the layout makes me wonder if it would even be possible to seat that many people at a single table (at least not without major upheaval).
                        I could be wrong about the seating, so if your heart is set on going there you should give them a call to find out, but you may find that a different restaurant would be a better fit for your particular situation.

                        1. re: Cassoulet

                          Thanks. That was kinda what I was thinking as well, but seeing as I am out of state, I thought I could be wrong. I need to find a place that takes reservations.