Maine has arrived as a Foodie State, now hosting several Maine Restaurant Week events – in the fall and spring. Having caught the culinary attention of top food magazines and media of late, Bon Appetite, Gourmet, Saveur, Taste, Food and Wine, and The Food Network have all featured Maine’s best chefs, the Maine local food scene and of course – articles on Maine seafood with lobster as the king. But recent culinary competitions have me wondering where’s the Maine lobster – instead of “where’s the beef?”
March 1-14 Maine Restaurant Week 2015 kicked off their Signature Tasting Event as Maine chefs paired a cocktail and signature dish – but the menus fell short of Maine ingredients and culinary classic that have made Maine’s seacoast famous. Here’s a sampling of Maine Restaurant Week tastes, with seafood and lobster sadly under-represented:
The new Portland restaurant, Timber Steakhouse, won Maine Restaurant Week Signature Judge’s Taste with a cucumber martini and bite-sized cucumber cup filled with smoked salmon-goat cheese mousse and topped with tobiko (Japanese fish roe). David’s Opus Ten in Portland won People’s Choice with a Mexican chocolate martini and pulled pork beignet. Chef David Turin now has a very successful sister restaurant to his Portland original, David’s KPT in Kennebunkport at the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel near Dock Square on the Kennebunk River.
Other Kennebunk based chefs, chefs Brian and Shana O’Hea from Kennebunk Inn – served a meatball slider skewered with fried mozzarella with an Italian Sunday Tuxedo -a spicy style bloody Mary, made of pureed roasted vegetables, hopefully from Maine gardens.
Another other-worldly taste from Tiqa, the new Mediterranean restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland, served The Miss Muffet Cocktail combining Double Cross Vodka (Ok- a Maine potatoes based Vodka – finally), Vya dry vermouth and labne whey (the milky liquid from strained yogurt), garnished with a Palestinian olive, paired with chef Bryan Dame’s Berbere-spiced labne on crispy chicken skin. So much for the good old fashioned Maine lobster roll or Clam Chowder. Is anyone else hankering for some recipes representing Maine flavors and fresh seafood?
Good news, you can dine at Stripers at the Breakwater Inn in Kennebunkport on their 2 for $20 Lobster Lovers menu this month. Also from March 1-14, foodies can dine at participating Maine Restaurant Week restaurants on three course lunches and dinners – specially prepared by the Chefs at a prixe fixe of $15, $20 and $25 for lunch, $25, $35 and $45 for dinner. I hope the Chefs include local lobster.
Maine Restaurant Week is predominantly Portland Maine restaurants, but expands to Freeport, Boothbay and south to Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and York, where Maine’s best Chefs flaunt their flavors and local-sourced food turned into culinary delights.
New this year to Maine’s food scene is Coastal Maine Restaurant Week – April 26 – May 2 Coastal Maine Restaurants will offer special dining menus, in Kittery York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Kennebunk – organized by the York County Coast Star. During this week southern Maine chefs will prepare special three course gourmet menus –often with an ocean view at a prix fixe dinner of $25, $35, and $45 per person, before beverages, tax and gratuity. Ok, maybe not a deal, but a special tasting experience.
See our list of our favorite coastal restaurants in Ogunquit & York, Wells Beach, The Kennebunks, and Portland’s best restaurants, and we will see you out and about celebrating good food and our good fortunate to be on the Southern Maine Coast.