Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2006
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
We headed up to southern Maine last weekend to check out the Christmas festival in Kennebunkport. The festival was a terrific time, and the weather held out for us. Along the way, we also tried a few restaurants I had never been to, with mixed results.
We got to Wells just in time for dinner. After driving around for a bit, we finally ended up at the Maine Diner a famous restaurant a couple of miles north of the center of Wells. The diner is a classic, with a main room complete with a counter and stools as well as a handful of tables, and a side room with a few more tables. Our meals were decent; the macaroni and cheese with a hamburger patty on the side(!) was pretty tasty, and the haddock was very good, too.
We went back to the Maine Diner on Saturday morning, but were a bit disappointed, as the corned beef hash was watery and the home fries were a bit bland. It wasn't a bad meal, but it wasn't great, either. We had planned to have lunch there, but decided we would try something new instead.
After breakfast, we wandered down to Perkins Cove, a beautiful spot just east of Ogunquit on the Atlantic Ocean. Then we headed up to Kennebunkport, and had a late lunch in the center of town at the Hurricane Restaurant. Everything about this place, from the rustic decor to the well-off clientele to the stunning views of the water indicated that this would be a special restaurant, and it was, to an extent. The chicken Caesar salad was marvelous, with tangy cheese and perfectly cooked chicken, and the fries were about as good as I've had anywhere. The turkey panini sandwich was not so good, though, as the turkey was gristly and tough. To give them their due, the place was absolutely jammed because of the festival, so they were probably unable to make sure everything was done right. I definitely want to try the Hurricane Restaurant again during quieter times to see how good the place really is.
By the time we finished lunch, it was nearly 4:00, so we decided we would have a late dinner outside of Kennebunkport. We wandered around town for awhile, ducking in and out of stores and viewing the lighting of the Christmas tree. Then we headed back to Wells to relax for awhile before going out to dinner.
We drove to Ogunquit for dinner, ending up at an attractive place called Five-O, which was just east of the center of town on the road to Perkins Cove. The inside of Five-O was cozy and intimate, with mostly couples dining there. We were impressed by the menu, which had many regional dishes, as well as some upscale New American and Mediterranean cuisine. Our meals, however, were so-so, as the steak tip salad had chunks of steak that were tasteless and lukewarm, while the veal, pork and beef lasagna was decent, but nothing special. The wines were excellent, though, and the dessert--a peanut butter mousse of some sort--was phenomenal.
After dinner we toyed with the idea of grabbing a drink at one of the pubs in the area (Poor Richard's Pub in Ogunquit looked especially fine), but tiredness from the long day ultimately took hold, so there was no drink to be had that night.
On Sunday morning we decided to look for a breakfast place on the way back to Boston. We didn't have to go far, as we saw a place that was packed with cars just before the center of Ogunquit. There was a reason why Bintliff's was so crowded; it was truly outstanding, perhaps the best breakfast I have had since the Lafayette Room within the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC, earlier in the year. The Tuscan French toast was absolutely delicious, and the Belgian waffle was every bit as good. The hash browns were perfectly cooked with just enough butter, the thick pieces of smoked bacon were addictive, and the coffee was close to perfect. And the atmosphere at Bintliff's can only be described as exotic. The dining rooms had beautiful lamps, curtains, and artwork, and the place looked like a restaurant that you might find in the French countryside. All in all, a tremendous experience.
So yes, it was hit-and-miss as far as restaurants we went to in southern Maine over the weekend, with some disappointments as well as a surprise or two. One thing I do know: If I get back to Bintliff's this winter for dinner and the meal is as good as their breakfast was, there might just be an Ogunquit dining spot featured on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site as soon as I return to Boston!
(ED NOTE: The following comment concerns a Kennebunkport restaurant called Grissini Italian Bistro, a dining spot that we have not been to and have no opinion on either way.)
Made reservation at Grissini's in Kennebunkport "online," received confirmation and was notified two hours before seating they would not honor reservation. Had attempted 3 times to confirm with a person by calling only to get voice machines and fax tones. Finally was rudely reminded that it was Friday night and they can not seat us. There were 5 left out in cold including two handicapped folks. Was very upsetting since had planned this venue days earlier from Albany.
I had read on blog pages that Grissini's had gone downhill. I can confirm that they reached the bottom of the hill. STAY AWAY.
Posted on 8/13/07
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