March 4, 2013

Dine Out Maine: White Barn Inn's bistro puts high-end spin on comfort food

By NANCY HEISER

(Continued from page 1)

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The casual dining area adjacent to the main dining room is the setting for winter bistro meals, including an unforgettable $25 hamburger, at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

DINING REVIEW

WINTER BISTRO AT THE WHITE BARN INN, 37 Beach Ave., Kennebunk Beach. 967-2321; whitebarninn.com

***1/2

HOURS: Bistro menu served from 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and Sunday

CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard and American Express

PRICE RANGE: Soup and salad, $10 to $22; light fare, $15 to $22; pizzas and entrees, $18 to $36

VEGETARIAN: Yes

GLUTEN-FREE: Yes. The kitchen is able to accommodate any dietary needs.

KIDS: Welcome

RESERVATIONS: Recommended

BAR: Full. Sizable and well-curated wine list, $31 and up; 22 offerings by the glass.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No

BOTTOM LINE: The bistro offering at this top-notch luxury inn offers excellent casual food at very high prices in a genteel atmosphere with flawless service. Food is the category I weigh the most in my reviews, and the quality deserves four stars, yet the menu offerings merit one to two stars for value. Five stars for service and atmosphere. Only you know if the mix is right for you.

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.

A bright, plump and very fresh section of cod, coated with a beer batter (Allagash White) with a nice air pocket between fish and golden coating was fabulous. Accompanying chips were as above -- not rave-worthy. A minty green pea puree gave the fish and chips a special touch. Price-watchers, beware: The plate was $26.

Braised beef short rib with penne pasta ($18), hearty and filling in a tomato-rich sauce, was tasty but not the extraordinary dish you might expect.

We enjoyed a 2011 A to Z Pinot Noir ($45), which was smooth and full-bodied to match the myriad of dishes we ordered. Another perk of dining at the White Barn Inn is access to its well-curated liquor selections.

To finish, we ordered bread pudding that used wonderful homemade croissants as its base. The white chocolate dessert was an outrageous rectangle of puffy, buttery softness, with a crowning touch of dark chocolate sauce that one could pour over to taste ($12).

White Barn's winter bistro menu is served in a well-appointed side dining room with white tablecloths adjacent to the main dining room. This space has a wall of glass, behind which are seasonal plantings -- a full-sized lighted diorama.

The main dining room has this feature too, but it's a two-story affair. Both are gorgeous installations that underscore the extraordinary ambience.

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

nancyheiser.com

 

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