Sunday, March 9, 2014
For waterfront dining two restaurants, one established and one brand new, stand out in the region, offering diners waterfront settings along with good food.
The newly opened KPT in Kennebunkport’s Boathouse Inn (part of hotelier Tim Harrington’s Resort Collection) on the river is already off to a smashing start since it opened last week. It’s the brainchild of veteran Portland chef, David Turin (David’s, 388 and Opus 10), who has also installed within another iteration of his Opus 10 for the Kennebunkport crowd.
The main dining room at KPT is a vast room with a wall of windows overlooking a wrap-around dining deck that fronts on the harbor where all the yachts are anchored
I went to KPT for luinch recently and marvelled at the stunning high-luxre room that so well reflects the lily white affluence of this Bush-centric resort' town.
The room is classic, rich sea-blue, with mahogany trim, deeply tufted banquettes and, of course, a panoramic view of the river and boat tyraffic.
The menu, however, is not that much different from Turin’s other restaurants—a bit of this and that finding its way to KPT. The difference, though, is the food is served in a setting of ultra-high style.
For lunch I chose to start with the lobster bisque, a classic version that was beautifully done without the weird additions that many chefs feel they have to add to make it different. Followed by a pizza and salad entrée (as in David’s at Monument Square), it was very well prepared.
This was a superb lobster bisque, classic, rich and creamy
This was a very nice lunch entree of pizza with a Caesar salad
The bar-room at KPT
My guest had house-made ravioli filled with exotic mushrooms perched in an elegant Madeira sauce with truffle oil and ricotta. This was a great pasta dish and a perfect –sized lunch serving.
These ravioli were beautifully done, filled with mushrooms set in a Madeira truffle sauce
Other waterfront restaurants to consider in Greater Kennebunkport include the newly opened Ocean, at the Cape Arundel Inn and the Tides Beach Club along Goose Rocks Beach, both connected to Harrington’s inn empire. I haven’t been to these yet but will visit them this summer.
A more established waterfront dining aerie known by Portland residents is the Falmouth Sea Grill on the grounds of Handy Boat After a complete renovation several years ago, the Falmouth Sea Grill offers a stylish setting on Casco Bay.
At the Sea Grill, the option of seating inside or out really doesn't matter since the indoor room opens to the outdoors
The indoor bar at the Sea Grill is a great meeting place
When the heat wave hit last week I thought it was time to pay a visit to the Sea Grill where the waterfront perch is as good as the food.
The downstairs dining room (upstairs is open for private events in the summer and for lunch and dinner service in the winter) is beautifully designed in a cool, modern style. It’s one of those inside-out rooms where the doors open wide to let in the view and sea air no matter where you’re sitting. There are two bars inside and on the deck that feel a little bit like Malibu on the Foreside. The night we were there the place was teeming with neighborhood swells, but we were lucky to get the last two seats at the bar for dinner.
The coconut shrimp, with a mango salsa, is a firm favorite at the Sea Grill
The Sea Grill has a well rounded menu with a focus on seafood. One great starter is the coconut shrimp served with a mango salsa or sometimes with an orange marmalade. These are big, gutsy fried shrimp with an armor of coconut that makes it so delicious. My friend ordered this followed by steak tartare as a main course and was totally satisfied with both dishes.
You wouldn't expect to find such a good version of steak tartare at a restaurant that focuses on seafood
I started with bacon and cheddar fritters, which were great to pair with a well made vodka negroni cocktail.
The Sea Grill bar serves a perfect negroni
Very good bacon and cheese fritters
For a main course I chose cornmeal crusted Pollock prepared over a hash of Brussel sprouts and potatoes. It was packed with flavor but came off as an overly hearty dish to serve in the summer.
The cornmeal-crusted pollock over a brussel sprout hash--loaded with flavor--was a hearty dish for summer dining
Still, the Falmouth Sea Grill is one of the best waterfront dining spots in the area, offering excellent fare that matches it stunning setting on Casco Bay.
Isn’t that they way life should be?
Dusk fast approaching, overlooking the anchorage at Handy Boat
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.