Conte's in Rockland
Could someone in the know, such as "Midcoastmaineiac" or others please give me the honest low- down on Conte's? We vacation each year in Rockland, and, frankly, we've not tried it because there seems to be no middle ground on recommendations.......either, you love it or hate it!! The "sketchy" looking exterior has been a bit of a turn-off, also. Is it worth the adventure to "man up" and go.....or, is it better off undone??
In a world bereft of originality, John Conte is at least a true original. You are correct that there isn't much middle ground on Contes, you either love it or hate it. Of course, that being said, I do sort of ride the middle.
On the plus side, you get to visit what is, in effect, an institution of sorts. Conte is quite literally a mad man, and the dinner theater alone could make it worth the visit. You also have the opportunity to eat the largest portion of seafood you're likely going to ever see served in a restaurant (for a beyond reasonable price).
The last time I was there a few months ago I ordered the seafood fra diavolo which was basically scallops and lobster served with pasta. He had run low on scallops, so I "only" got three with my order but he replaced it with lobster...4 full claws and two tails. Unbelievable.
Now, on the down side, yes...it's not uncommon for him to overcook the seafood and use a tad too much red sauce and garlic. In fact, if given the option I'd go for a white sauce. I sort of look at it this way...even if you don't eat any of the pasta & sauce, you are getting a crazy amount of hopefully well prepared seafood. If crab is on the menu, get it. It's hard to royally mess up crab and he serves it in piles.
I'll leave you with a blog post from sometimes Chowhound contributor Mr. Meatball...a pretty good write up on Contes:
Worried because of the Conte's "haters"?
Please. Take cash go to Conte's and enjoy, or not.
Life is too short for that BS.