Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Over the past several years, I have gone up to Southern Maine in December to check out the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, and I always get to a number of restaurants along the way. This year was no exception, as I went to a few spots I had been to before, along with a couple that I had never been to--and these two restaurants will be the focus of this blog entry.
Our first stop of the weekend was at a fairly new restaurant in Kittery from the folks behind the When Pigs Fly bakery. Called When Pigs Fly Pizzeria, the eatery is one of many restaurants along Route 1 in town, though it is just north of the outlet stores, so it is in an area that is slightly less busy. The restaurant (and attached bakery) resides in a spacious structure that is both rustic and modern-looking, with a huge dining area inside (including a wood-fired oven built into the back wall) and a large outdoor section for the warmer months. We decided to go with a Caesar salad and a pizza on our lunchtime trip to the place, and both were terrific; the salad was fresh tasting with delicious croutons that only a top bakery can make, while the coppa, pepperoni, and roasted wild mushroom pizza was easily one of the best pies I have tried in recent memory, with a perfect char coming from the white-hot oven and an array of incredible tastes coming from the meaty pepperoni, house-made coppa, and earthy mushrooms. Everyone we met--from the host to the server to the chef--was laid back and friendly, and prices, while a bit high, were definitely worth the price considering just how good the food was. When I first heard about When Pigs Fly opening a pizzeria, I have to say that I had my doubts, but they were certainly put to rest after our one visit there.
While we were at the Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, we decided to try a place just outside of the main "downtown" area of the village called Federal Jack's. Now I had heard a lot about this place mainly because it was the birthplace of the Shipyard Brewing Company (now based in Portland), which indeed makes some of my favorite beers. We stopped by the place just before noon to beat the crowds, climbing to their upstairs location with stunning views of Kennebunkport as well as the Kennebunk River, which is almost directly below the restaurant. It was soon discovered that the space in which Federal Jacks' resides is deceptively big, with a comfortable dining area and an adjacent bar, along with a separate room in the back with pool tables and video games. We were fortunate to be seated at a corner seat by the windows, affording the aforementioned views of the area, and started off with a round of beers. I liked most of the beers that we tried (five were from a sampler), with the moderately light Prelude beer and the rich-tasting stout being my favorites. Our meals soon came and they were adequate--nothing outstanding, but nothing to complain about, either--with the open-faced turkey sandwich having a good amount of very tender shredded turkey and the tuna club being basic but tasty. Service was good albeit not overly friendly, and prices were fairly reasonable. I would say that the views and the beers were my favorite parts of Federal Jack's, though to be fair, we didn't get to try any of their more substantial dishes; perhaps on another trip...
So what were some of the "repeat" restaurants that we went to on our recent trip to Southern Maine? Well, we had dinner at Jonathan's in Ogunquit the first night, and it was every bit as good as last year, with the roasted artichoke hearts, jaegar schnitzel, and stuffed haddock all being memorable and the service being friendly and professional. On our second night in the area, we had dinner at Angelina's in Ogunquit, and it was about as good as Jonathan's, with the mushroom tortellini being sublime, while the tagliatelle with marinara and house-made meatballs was almost as good, hampered only by a slightly watery sauce. (The German chocolate cake was wonderful, by the way.) And on our last morning, we went to Bintliff's (also in Ogunquit) for breakfast, and it was a great meal once again from this outstanding place. The caramel pecan waffle was perhaps better than anything I had all weekend, while the hearty mushroom omelet was something special as well. Service was about as good as you can ask for at a restaurant, and prices weren't terribly expensive, though a bit higher than you might expect for breakfast.
I usually get up to Southern Maine three or four times a year, so expect reviews of more restaurants in the area over the coming months. I do hope to get back to When Pigs Fly Pizzeria to try another pie or two from the place, and Bintliff's is a must, along with the Ogunquit Lobster Pound, though this last place is a seasonal spot that sadly won't be open for several months.
Hi, Im the head chef at Jonathan's, Thanks for the nice comment and I'm glad you enjoyed your experience!
Posted on 6/13/12
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