I love the western Lakes Region of Maine, so when a new restaurant with a contemporary menu opened in the charmingly old-fashioned downtown of Rangeley last summer, I made a mental note to give it a try.

At The Corner Side, vintage snowshoes, photographs and artwork that speak of the town’s long history as a mecca for rusticators and sportsmen surrounded us on warmly colored walls. We sat at a table with upholstered and roomy high-backed chairs in the restaurant’s eye-catching oblong space of 45 seats.

The 10-stool bar is centrally placed, with tables fore and aft. Our spot was a cozy retreat near the back of the restaurant.

The smallish menu, offering up-to-date fine dining cuisine, changes weekly at The Corner Side. We tried two appetizers and four entrees.

Sesame seed-crusted tuna with a tasty Asian-style seaweed salad came lightly seared, leaving a nice, wide margin of cool meat in the center of four large and tender slices ($17 appetizer), wasabi and gari accompanying.

Three out of our party of four enjoyed a poppers appetizer of large green olives encased in sausage ($8 — mine was the minority opinion). The plate resembled four browned meatballs without sauce, garnished only with lettuce greens. Cut or bite into the taut spheres for the olive flavor burst.

All entrees stood up well. The Duck Duo was the delectable winner ($30), its moist and tender breast slices bearing a fatty skin of strong mandarin orange flavor. Large links of locally made pork, duck and fig sausage — sweet rather than spicy — nestled nearby.

A smoky tomato coulis criss-crossed a competently grilled Alaskan halibut, which gave the mild fish color and interest. A white bean puree was an innocuous underpinning ($26), and could have used seasoning.

The blackened “cowboy” rib eye steak, large and fatty, bore a crust with some heat but little burn — not a complaint. Accompanying black bean and corn salsa seemed merely a mix of those ingredients ($28).

Elk rib eye came cooked to requested doneness, and was served with a rosemary herbed butter ($30), which gave it a boost. Not surprisingly, the meat lagged behind the elk I’ve had in Colorado, but it was still flavorful as well as unusual to find on a menu in Maine. (Lobster in the Rocky Mountain State isn’t quite the same, either.) Sides on all platters were basic: baby carrots, broccoli and mashed potatoes.

An overall service complaint: Despite it being a Monday night without much of a crowd, the restaurant did little to anticipate our information needs. Our multi-generational group had to probe for answers to simple things, such as what sides, if any, we might expect to accompany our main course. Sometimes it’s important to orient guests, even a little, for their best experience.

Here’s one example. Only after inquiring about bread service three-quarters of the way through our meal did we get four warmed and chewy slices of excellent fresh bread, served on a plank with balsamic vinegar for dipping. It would have been a great addition to our wine and appetizers, if we had been offered this early on. Either that, or have the server explain the commendable no-waste philosophy so we could decline if we felt like forgoing a few carbohydrates.

One of our diners asked about a salad. She didn’t require a plate of greens, but just wanted to know of any fresh produce options, this being summer, other than the single menu listing — for a bruschetta tomato pesto appetizer.

The welcome answer: We can do that for you. My companion took the kitchen up on the offer, and a freshly assembled green salad arrived with an oil and vinegar caddy.

The restaurant deserves kudos for this accommodation. But this did replace her sides and cost an extra $6. And I had to wonder: Why a dearth of seasonal produce on an upscale menu in mid-July?

The owner, Birgitta Parker, makes the desserts. She goes in for the kill with an outrageous key lime pie ($7), a pure-white, creamy confection that is at once dense but high and light like a cloud. Her Midnight Madness cake resembled a rich devil’s food with a large portion of frosting, cake-iness winning out over creaminess.

These weren’t the pastries of Paris, but they wowed us all the same ($7 each).

On the whole, the restaurant provided decent food in a delightfully cozy atmosphere.

But the experience felt a little like being in a skiff on the nearby white-capped lake, having to pull the ignition cord repeatedly until the outboard engine hums. It sputters and finally kicks in, and then you sit back and enjoy. Too bad it wasn’t as easy to get going as simply turning a key.

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