Friday, February 06, 2004

Primo, Rockland

Last night we were treated to a fabulous dinner at Primo in Rockland. Primo is probably the best restaurant in Maine and I had never been there before. Our great friend Vicky took me there as a birthday present, with Greg in tow and with our friend Mary as well. I knew we were going to be loud and have lots to drink (wel, not me as I drove) and have a great time and we did. The food was of course, just fabulous. I don't think anyone left a morsel on their plates throughout the three courses.

We were ushered into a small room at the front of the 100 year old house that hosts the restaurant. We waited quite a while for our waiter to come by for drink orders and then even more time to get them (the bar is upstairs). After ordering, we were served an amuse bouche from the kitchen of potato leek soup with frizzled leeks decorating the top. The soup could have been thicker and have a richer flavor. I personally think curry brings out both flavors of the potatoes and the leeks and maybe that would have helped.

I ordered a chickory and citrus salad with candied walnuts that was out of this world. Excellent. I know the other salads were excellent too as there was not a morsel left on anyone's plate. Vicky had a salad with fried oysters that she loved. Greg had a stuffed grape leaf that he is still raving about and Mary had a green salad.

Dinner came and I had the bistro steak with frites and sauteed watercress that was to die for. It was creamy and lemony and delicious. Greg had the cod which he didn't let anyone eat. Vicky the Venison with baby brussel sprouts, and Mary the Pork Scallopini with garlic mashed taters. The flavors of each were distinctive and very good. No wasted food here!

We had to try the desserts and so we had the lemon souflee tart, the black and white creme brulee and the profitorales with hazelnut ice cream and milk choc. sauce. Everyone agreed that the cream puffs with icecream was the best, the lemon souflee with berry sorbet was second and the black and white creme brulee was a distant third. Along with these came the trio of ports (20 yr, 30 yr and 40yr old) and a sweet dessert wine all of which were great (I had tiny sips)

We all agreed that the service could have been better. We waited a while for our plates to be cleared from dinner and drinks were slow to arrive. I must say that the waiter caught some of our conversation because the profitarells arrived with "Happy 37th Birthday" written in chocolate around the rim of the plate. mmm mmm mmmm

Food: A+
Atmosphere: B+
Service: B-
Price: Oh My God, lets not go there!


Monday, February 02, 2004

3Tides, Belfast

I'll tell you up front here that Sarah and David Carlson, the owners of 3Tides, are very very good friends of mine, so this might be a bit biased, though I'll try to make it as objective as possible. When 3Tides opened in August, there was always an audible gasp from patrons who walked in the door. It was a gasp of disbelief that such an interesting and quirky place could suddenly appear on the mid-coast. I told David that his place was termed in my head "Industrial Chic." Its just such a cool place, everyone should partake of the atmosphere is a great escape from the sameness of other eateries on the coast.

The atmosphere is like no other on the mid-coast...interesting, warm, yet spare, welcoming, and cozy, with a side of hip. When I walked in yesterday around 1pm, Linda Ronstadt was on the satelite radio and there were candles lit all over the place with Sarah and David's crapepaper collage decorated tealight votives. It was very relaxing and the glow from the candles really shut one's mind off from the stresses of the day. There was some dude writing the great American novel at a booth while a couple finished up their grilled sandwiches. I got a big greeting from Sarah behind the bar and Ben Clarke in the kitchen. I sidled up to the bar with my menu and looked over the fare......I chose a cup of cream of broccoli soup and a personal artichoke heart and roasted red pepper pizza on Ben's homemade crust. A word of advice...If there is ever a dish that has something to do with Ben's homemade yeast bread or crust...just order it no matter what....His bread talent is quite amazing (I am very jealous of his bread skills)

The soup arrived with a smile from Sarah and a side of oyster crackers.......It was good, but could have been thicker and hotter. I like my broccoli soup to have chunks of broccoli, which this didn't have. I also like it so thick that the broccoli could stand up straight if it wanted to...Perhaps I'm a freak, but this is what I like.

The pizza was heavenly. Ben used sun-dried tomato oil in the crust as well as a pinch of fresh rosemary. there was fresh shaved parmesan on the top and it smelled and tasted really good.
I'll keep coming back for Ben's cooking and the big hugs I get from Sarah and David upon entering. Never thought I would have my own Cheers!
Atmosphere A
Food B+/ A-
Friendly Service A+