GREENE —Opened in 1978 by an ambitious chef who owned a handsome old house, The Sedgley Place remains unique in Maine.

Five-course, prix fixe or fixed- price meals ($28.95) are served by reservation only in a cheerful wallpapered dining room and the “patio,” an enclosed porch. An upstairs room comes in handy when business is booming.

The first chef/owner, Phil Wilbur, arranged the fixed-price, reservations-only policy, a script that remains unchanged. Today, the kitchen staff cooks fish and duck with perfect competence, displaying the level of experience you might expect in a 32-year-old restaurant.

The large 1786 house with a hip roof once presided over a dairy farm, with pigs and a vegetable garden. Today it sits on 4½ acres off Route 202 north of Lewiston, its pumpkin pine floors showing off its handsome age.

Paul and Suzanne Levesque bought The Sedgley Place in 2003 after Suzanne Levesque had spent a decade working there. She leads guests to tables and later might bus their plates, maintaining an alert patrol in the dining room.

During off hours she, her husband and their two sons cultivate their own supply chain of organic produce at a 75-acre farm in nearby Leeds. The Levesques’ farm has been certified organic for the last 15 years.

It makes a lot of sense to enjoy a meal here during the growing season.

“Because we’re reservation only, the produce is picked fresh that morning and brought to the restaurant to use that evening,” Suzanne Levesque said.

With more and more high-tunnel greenhouses, the farm’s season is steadily extending. But for the moment, during late winter and early spring, the produce served isn’t local.

Eight red wines and six whites are served by the glass, among them Montevina Zinfandel ($6.50 a glass) from California’s Amador County, a fruit-forward wine. Allagash white ($4) and Allagash Fluxus, made with ginger, ($16 a bottle) are two of the six local microbrews on the beer list.

One evening’s meal at the Sedgley Place started modestly.

A scoop of cheese spread, made with house blue-cheese dressing, pureed olives, American cheese and sour cream, sits in a dish on the table when you first sit down beside a basket of cellophane-wrapped crackers.

Partisans of thickened chowder will admire the seafood chowder that was one of the soup course offerings on the night of my visit. A fresh flavor made the soup pleasant, and a little salt added some savor. But folks who go for the thin milky broth of the other style of chowder will be put off by this chowder’s thick consistency.

Stuffed mushrooms were good in themselves. Each wore a cap of fine-ground bread crumbs and scallop, and although they had no off-flavors, the paste-like texture turned me off.

A small plate of Caesar salad made with dark green romaine leaves and topped with two lovely white anchovies started to raise expectations with its bright-flavored lemony dressing and savory Parmesan.

But it was the fresh taste of the poached, translucent and moist haddock — served with two saut? scallops and three shrimp in a butter sauce with saut? spinach — that really turned things around.

All the seafood showed off a kitchen staff that knows how to make things taste as good as they get.

“The haddock is always from Atlantic,” said Paul Levesque, a chef with Andy Walton, who has been working in the kitchen for 20 years. “When you poach it, you just have to be very careful with it.”

A half duck, boneless except for the bones through the leg, had been roasted and topped with a zigzag of raspberry Grand Marnier sauce, presenting a convergence of savory rich meat and wild berry sweetness. The skin could have been crisper.

Levesque gets his ducks from Canada, and said they were more tender and their skin had less fat than New York state ducks he had tried.

Steamed Brussels sprouts were also cooked to the right degree, making it a pleasure to dine on this feisty vegetable.

A medium-sized plate of honey-glazed carrots, steamed and lightly roasted cauliflower and roast potatoes accompanied one meal.

Noodles with an alfredo sauce accompanied the duck, the creamy twisted noodles wearing a sauce flavored with celery salt and “Italian seasonings.”

Levesque said his careful preparation of his own vegetables made for the best version of the vegetables he was getting now — although he confessed unhappily that the carrots would be a lot better when they came from his garden.

Still, the long, slender diagonal slices of carrot were tender and perfectly prepared, with a glaze made with unprocessed honey from Tony’s Honey in Buckfield.

In July, red-white-and-blue potatoes from the Levesque farm sometimes appear in a mashed trio. In strawberry season, count on strawberry shortcake with fresh biscuits and local berries. Local corn goes into a corn risotto, and eggplant will star in the vegetarian lasagna.

“Whatever is in season, we’re usually right on it,” said Paul Levesque.

Vanilla ice cream in a goblet with raspberry sauce and a few canned sliced peaches was a presentable version of Peach Melba.

Better was a brownie sundae with a semisweet fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream and a hot, fudgy brownie. Thick, fresh and not-too-sweet whipped cream and crunchy walnuts on top made it wonderful.

The server had said the hot fudge sundae was a specialty, and with that good chocolate sauce and whipped cream, there can be no doubt about it.

 

 

N.L. English is a Portland freelance writer and the author of “Chow Maine: The Best Restaurants, Cafes, Lobster Shacks and Markets on the Coast.” Visit English’s Web site, www.chowmaineguide.com.