April 25, 2010

Taste & Tell: Fresh seafood, fried nicely, makes Ken's a favorite


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Bill Reny and his father Donald Reny eat lunch at Ken’s Place on Pine Point Road in Scarborough, which reopened for the season in March. When warmer weather comes, diners often sit at outdoor picnic tables.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer


KEN’S PLACE, 207 Pine Point Road, Scarborough; 883-6611

RATING: ****

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday until mid-October

CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover

PRICE RANGE: $3.25 to $25

VEGETARIAN DISHES: Not much beyond fried sides, coleslaw and salad

GLUTEN-FREE: Not available in main dishes

KIDS: Yes, especially early in life when they still love fish

RESERVATIONS: Not accepted

BAR: Full


BOTTOM LINE: Excellent fried clams, fried Maine shrimp and baked haddock beckon seafood lovers to this destination with high standards for fresh seafood and clean oil.

Rating based on a five-star scale. It is the policy of the Maine Sunday Telegram to visit an establishment twice if the first dining experience was unsatisfactory.

The french fries are from frozen Maine potatoes that are fried to a golden crisp. The onion rings are turned out by the busy kitchen from start to finish, and are crumb-coated, crunchy on the outside and tender within.

Two young companions disinclined to eating seafood provided tastes of another part of the menu. Grilled cheese ($2.25) could have been cooked another minute to melt the soft American cheese inside the nicely browned wheat bread. Potato salad ($1.99) is mustardy and brilliant yellow, with chopped sweet pickles.

The garden salad ($2.99) is straightforward iceberg lettuce that's crunchy and immaculate, with chopped cucumber and wan tomatoes.

Hamburgers ($3.25) are made with fresh ground beef and have a following too, according to Wilcox.

Formica tables and bench seating around the edge of the big, brightly lit dining room with gray-painted rafters hold enough diners in the early season, but with consistent good weather, picnic tables under umbrellas in front and around back under tall pines will be the in-demand spots.

"Generations of families have a tradition of eating under those pines," Wilcox said.

Martel ice cream -- $1.75 for a regular-sized cone or dish -- comes in Oreo, black raspberry, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint chocolate chip, the last bright green and creamy. A brownie sundae can be enjoyed for $3.95, a root beer float is $3, and carrot cake is $2.95.


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 website, www.chowmaineguide.com.


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