May 15, 2011

Dine out Maine: Topsham's Sea Dog is more than just a pretty view


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Aaron Lockwood waits on Todd and Nancy Erkman of Wiscasset at the Sea Dog Brewing Co. in Topsham.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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The restaurant is in a renovated mill on the Androscoggin River.


SEA DOG BREWING CO., 1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Topsham. 725-0162,

*** (good)

HOURS: Lunch/dinner, 11:30a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. After Memorial Day, kitchen stays open another hour. Pub is open until 1 a.m. Late-night snacks and Sunday brunch are available at other hours.


PRICE RANGE: Appetizer range $6-$10, sandwiches/entrees $10-$23



KIDS: Welcome. High chairs and separate menu.

RESERVATIONS: Not offered Friday or Saturday past 5 p.m. Recommended for large parties at other times.

BAR: Full. Big draws are the 10 different Sea Dog beers on tap, brewed in Portland by Shipyard. Two varieties in bottles. Wine list includes 14 reds in bottles, 7 whites. 16 varieties by glass, $5-$8.25.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes, through a secondary entrance, very easy.

BOTTOM LINE: One of three Sea Dog Brewing Co. eateries in Maine, this one enjoys a dramatic setting above falls on the Androscoggin River. Casual atmosphere that's fun but not raucous. While not haute cuisine, the food goes beyond sports bar fare to include seasonal specialties, satisfying and interesting salads and appetizers, and several well-conceived entrees. Plenty of pub fare, too. Suggested beer pairings are noted on the seasonal menu.

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

* Unsatisfactory  ** Fair  *** Good 

**** Excellent *****Extraordinary

The Maine Sunday Telegram visits an establishment twice if the first dining experience was poor.

Halfway through our dinner, a cheer goes up across the large dining room. The Bruins have scored a goal. Other people have been paying attention to the games. For us, they've all but disappeared, and we've been able to concentrate on our conversation. This is notable. You can't do that in many restaurants festooned with televisions.

Desserts, dessert drinks, cordials -- Sea Dog's got all the crowd-pleasers. To finish, we try the maple ginger snap sundae ($5) from the seasonal offerings. Two giant ginger cookies, soft, warmed and soaked in maple/porter sauce (from Bowdoinham, boasts the menu) are topped with vanilla ice cream and aerosol (alas) whipped cream and marischino cherries. What were we expecting? It's a sundae! Reader, we finished it.

This Sea Dog Brewing Co. establishment, part of the brewing company owned by Shipyard, deserves high marks for its remarkable Topsham mill renovation, casual and fun atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable service, and dinner options that pleasantly surprised us with their variety and preparation.

My friend summed it up this way: "It's got the full tilt boogie going on."

Nancy Heiser is a freelance writer and editor who lives near Portland. Her work has appeared in national and regional publications.


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