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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.........