February 17, 2013

Dine out Maine: Enjoy a perfect mix of latitude and attitude at 45 North

By NANCY HEISER

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45 North gives the Sugarloaf Mountain region a much-needed, first-rate restaurant that offers contemporary style and appealing grown-up food that’s well-prepared.

Courtesy photo

DINING REVIEW

45 NORTH

Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, 5092 Access Road, Carrabasset Valley. 237-4220; sugarloaf.com/eventsactivities/ DiningNightlife/index.html

***1/2

HOURS: Dining is 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m. Open daily for breakfast.

CREDIT CARDS: All major

PRICE RANGE: Appetizers, $7 to $14; entrees, $16 to $27

VEGETARIAN: Yes

GLUTEN-FREE: Yes

KIDS: Welcome; separate menu

RESERVATIONS: Yes; recommended

BAR: Full. Twelve beers on tap. Single-malt scotches. Broad wine list on paper or searchable on an iPad

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

BOTTOM LINE: For an apres-ski change of pace, leave the pizza, pasta and burgers behind. At 45 North, you will find contemporary style and appealing grown-up food selected and prepared very well. This is the up-to-date culinary spot on the mountain that many visitors and locals willing to spend a little money have been waiting for.

Ratings follow this scale and take into consideration food, atmosphere, service and value:

*Poor **Fair  ***Good ****Excellent *****Extraordinary.

The Maine Sunday Telegram visits an establishment twice if the first dining experience was unsatisfactory. The reviewer dines anonymously.

These are only minor details in a mostly excellent dinner, but they make a difference to the nibbler choosing to fill up on appetizers. Which is just a roundabout way of saying that sous chefs in all establishments ought to strive for quality and balance with every plate, no matter how small.

No quarrels whatsoever with the lovely deviled eggs appetizer, cool and creamy with flecks of Maine peekytoe crab and a hint of horseradish ($9).

Our waiter was eager and attentive from the moment we sat down. Dishes came with hardly a wait, despite a house that was filling up. We could have used a breather between first and second courses. We lingered over dessert without feeling rushed.

A fun Geary's Stout and chocolate pudding resembled the draft, complete with dark brown body visible through a small glass and foam of suds on top. Smooth and bittersweet, with a slight beery finish, the dessert was very nice.

Just as appealing was a hefty wedge of maple/blueberry buckle. It was more coffee cake than elegant pastry, but elevated with a not-too-sweet goat-cheese mousse. These desserts underscored this eatery's facility with being fancy one minute and casual the next.

45 North is not inexpensive, but you don't have to spend a fortune here, either: Three of eight entrees were under $20. You can take your appetite to the congenial bar and order from the menu there too.

You might choose such first courses as Maine mussels with pancetta ($12) or duck poutine ($14), which will certainly fill you up after a day on the slopes.

Nancy Heiser is a freelance writer and editor. She can be reached at nancyheiser.com.

 

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