Report from Portland, Rt 1, Bar Harbor
Quick report from a trip during Labor Day weekend.
Eventide Oyster Co, Portland - Very fresh seafood but every dish was overdone - too much of something or everything and the seafood never really shined through. Small portions. Expensive. There were several bluefin dishes if that's your thing, I believe they are fished locally, but I skip bluefin due to overfishing concerns (extinction?). Lobster roll was good but small and outdone by Red's.
Standard Baking Co. - Great bakery, we loaded up with almond croissants and pastries for our ride to Bar Harbor.
Red's, Wiscasset - I took Route 1 from Portland to Bar Harbor and Red's was on my way. A huge lobster roll with your choice of mayo or butter. I chose butter. The rolls were around $20 each which seemed expensive and I thought I was about to get stuck by a tourist trap but it arrived with giant chunks of meat including either whole or half tails. The roll surely included 1-1.5 lobsters. Everybody has their favorite lobster roll shack and I'm confident they are all at least good but if you taking Route 1 up to or down from somewhere it's worth the stop.
Marshall Wharf Brewing, Belfast - BeerAdvocate rates this brewery and its brews very highly so I wanted to try some and pick up a few cans. Unfortunately, I got there 30 minutes after closing and the brewers looked at me briefly through the windows into the brewery as I glanced inside like a lost puppy before they returned to their bearded brewing. The restaurant next door serves many of their beers but I wanted to take them with me so the hostess guided me to the town co-op. I got a 4 pack of the Ace Hole. Excellent but expensive at $5/can but in a bar that would be a good price for a pint of this. I just learned they fill growlers in the restaurant but maybe they don't sell them and I didn't bring one.
Stewman's, Bar Harbor - Looks like a tourist trap. Feels like a tourist trap. Has excellent food! Not really a trap. The lobster roll was good but smaller than Red's and without those large pieces of meat and less tail. The seafood dip with crab and I think lobster was awesome. Fantastic steamed sweet sweet sweet whole lobster. I'm sure it's possible to get a poorly cooked/seasoned lobster in Maine but it would not be here. Stewman's has all the trappings of a tourist trap. I hated even walking by it. But we needed to eat and didn't want to drive so we stopped and were very happy. Enough to return on our way out of town. Avoid your tendency to be a traveler snob like I often am. But if you can't, Thurston's Lobster Pound seems like a more locals/in the know traveler spot but we didn't go.
Mache Bistro, Bar Harbor - Excellent pork chop, perfectly cooked and very flavorful. Great salads. No need to leave town.
Red Sky, Southwest Harbor - But we did leave town. The meal at Red Sky was just OK. The ingredients were locally sourced but the kitchen didn't do them justice. Comfortable dining room though.
I would try Fore Street if I was in Portland again. And eat way more whole lobster.