September 19, 2010

Taste & Tell: Gustatory sparks shower from Burning Tree


(Continued from page 1)

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Burning Tree in Otter Creek on Mount Desert Island has been open on a seasonal basis since 1987.

Matt McInnis photo courtesy of Burning Tree

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BURNING TREE, 71 Otter Creek Drive, Route 3, Otter Creek. 288-9331

RATING: ****½

HOURS: Open for dinner

5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday; closing for the season Oct. 2

CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard and Discover

PRICE RANGE: $21.50 to $29

VEGETARIAN DISHES: Yes, a specialty

GLUTEN-FREE: Many options available and easily accommodated

KIDS: No children's menu but pasta, plain chicken breast and more are available


BAR: Full


BOTTOM LINE: The excellent cooking at Burning Tree involves fresh seafood, fine fresh produce and imagination, complemented by appealing cocktails and good wine.

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.

Beal is from MDI, and some members of his family were lighthouse keepers. He's been active in local fishing meetings and issues. Martin said there'd been some encouraging catches. For example, she said, monkfish used to be giant, and then they were small for a long time. But the restaurant has seen some really big tails or filets this year.

Around time for dessert, it somehow became apparent we were running late -- and when I asked the server if there was a reservation for our table coming up, she said there was one for 8:30. We couldn't be put off dessert and coffee, though we'd dallied, and one of us had indeed arrived a little late.

Martin apologized if we had felt at all hurried. "We try to plan that into several of the seatings so we have some wiggle room," she said.

Perhaps her customers just like her food too much to dine in a reasonable amount of time.

And really, we couldn't help but linger over the lemon curd and fresh blueberries in one tart (both desserts $8.50), which had a crisp yet tender sugar crust, and a second tart of raspberry semifreddo, a wedge of creamy pink veined with ice crystals that was sour and sweet with pure raspberry flavor.

The raspberry tart on an opaque blue glass plate was stunning, the entire meal had made us happy, and the cappuccino ($4) and decaf, both from Rooster Brothers in Ellsworth, deserved to be enjoyed, just like everything else at Burning Tree. 

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,


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