Thursday, April 17, 2014
Perched at the tip of the Georgetown Peninsula on Sheepscot Bay, Five Islands Lobster has been one of the most idyllic spots in which to have the taste of Maine’s best seafood. Often billed as having the best fried clams (from local waters) and lobster off the dock that’s existentially fresh and other catches of the sea perfectly prepared, it has remained a haven of the genre for years.
The dock at Five Islands is often just like this scene (Circa July 2011), a little foggy perhaps but peaceful
A typical day at Five Islands before tourist season
For me it’s always been my go to spot of lobster pounds. But over the years, Five Islands has been discovered by tourist’s big time, especially on weekends and summer holidays. And having a quiet time on their docks to enjoy what's so good there is not always a sure bet.
Then I should have known better than to take the 50 mile trip from Portland on Sunday, the last gasp of the July 4th extended weekend. Unsuspecting, I met up with local festivities, a sea of cars, tourists and holiday hoopla that had jammed the scene with its noteworthy Blessing of the Fleet.
Yikes! What a difference a day makes
With the roar of cannons blasting, the place was packed with revelers outnumbering lobster lovers
The band was gearing up ready for their blast and play debut
The fleet is assembling
Crowded or not it's still a picture-postcard setting of the Maine coast
Surprisingly the kitchen handled it all very well. Our order of fried clams, onion rings and a sandwich called Jenny’s Special (crab cake over grilled haddock) was ready in about ten minutes.
Time to order!
The line in the kitchen was orderly and moved fast
Five Islands usually enjoys a particular micro-clinmate where it's cooler by at least 10 degrees because of the prevailing sea breezes. Except yesterday it was as hot as the 295 freeway. Still we found a table at the the water's edge on the far side of the pound (next to the potty sheds), which was the best we could do.
The clam basket (left) was, by standards, on the light side but good
Known as Jenny's Special, it's a great sandwich of crab cake put over grilled haddock; the onion rings are terrific, too
I couldn't resist a special that day of Scotch-A-Roos--Rice Krispies, peanut butter and caramel icing made by one of the local ladies
The food, which is always first rate, took backstage to the festivities at large but it was still pretty good So here’s my advice: don’t miss Five Islands if you've not been in a while. Instead go on a weekday early or late in the summer and you'll enjoy it the way life should be.
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.