Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
bestgirlkk

Bar Harbor, ME

Recommended Posts

Hi,

My hubby and i are going to be in Bar Harbor for about 2.5 days... can anyone give me a few suggestions. We are looking for things that are all over the map, some expensive and some cheap eats... but GOOD is the key.

We are going to Red's Eats on the way home based on others recommendations.

We are also stopping at Ted's in CT on the way... we saw it on Hamburger America... steamed burgers... hmmm.

Thanks,

Kristen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we were just at Red's over the weekend. we had always heard that Red's was great, but actually, the lobster rolls across the street at Sarah's are much, much better. and, you can sit down and have a beer with your lobster roll at Sarah's.

don't have any recommendations for Bar Harbor, but if you go through Portland, definitely stop at Fore Street - great food, wonderful service.

Enjoy!


www.cookstour.netMy Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Follow this link to another message string on this subject which includes my report on Bar Harbor/MDI eating posted in May 2004. As noted, XYZ went out of business after the close of the 2003 season.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just returned from a week in Maine. We ate at a number of place in/around and on our way beterrn Portlan and Bar Harbor. The following reviews aren't super informative, but it seems like there isn't too much posted about Bar Harbor eats, so maybe someone will find it helpful!

George's: Fairly upscale dining. I ordered 3 appetizers: wild mushrooms with grits and bacon, butter poached lobster, and spaghetti "George's Way". My SO ordered corn soup with blue potatos, the signature lobster strudel, and blueberry creme brulee. The mushroom dish was really good, once the incredibe undersalting was remedied by me. The corn soup was the best dish.. nice flavors, good mix of textures. Neither of the signature dishes were particularly good (spaghetti or strudel). The service and the ambience were both quite pleasant (although there were 2 young children loudly playing outside the window right next to our table for extended portions of the meal). Our food, plus a bottle of Cava and a glass of whisky came to ~$150 after tax (I think). I would go back and pair a few of the more creative sounding apps with a bottle of Cava for a nice dinner.

Donohues: A pub serving basic food and burgers. We each got a burger and fries. Both burgers were served medium-well, although ordered medium and medium rare. Despite this, they were both very satisfying and somehow juicy. The fries were crisp. Service was great. I would definitely go back here for a burger and a beer. The burgers+fries were ~6-7 bucks.

Ben&Bill's Ice Cream: We tried the lobster ice cream. It has chunks of lobster. Wierd, but not as grody as you might expect.

Thurston's Lobster Pound: Really good chowder, 2 yummy 1.5 pound lobsters, 2 beers, and corn on the cob for a bit under $50. The butter served with the lobster (and the food overall) was the best of the 3 places we ate lobster (also Young's and Red's, see below). Nice ambience and would go back, but ambience not as good as Young's.

Downeast House of Dogs: In Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. *so good*. So very, very excellent. Extensive menu of grubby eats, but focussed on dogs. They have 30+ different "specialty" hot dogs you can choose from. The dogs range from Oscar Meyer (ok, specialty is used loosely) to dogs from Maine micro-doggerys to Reindeer dogs from Alaska. You can order them as you want, from a list of many toppings, or order one of the many pre-designed dogs. I first ordered a chili cheese dog with a Maine dog in a natural casing (forget the vendor). I was not at all impressed with the dog itself, but the warm griddled buttery bun plus the slice of cheddar tasted like grilled cheese. That combo topped by the dog and hot dog chili was delicious. I ordered another chilidog, this time with a conservative Hebrew National dog. Great again. One huge drawback of this place is the training of the service. While our waitress was very friendly and attentive, she did not know enough about the dogs. I wanted info on the house dog, but none was to be had. I needed a hot dog sommelier. A selection of dozens of dogs is great, but I wanted some guidance into finding a dog that fit my preferences. I would go back here again and again. Beer+3 dogs+a sandwich with chips was $30-some.

Red's Eats: Huge letdown. About 40 minutes between getting in line and getting food, which didnt bother me since Ive done the same here in NYC at the Shake Shack. Service was impressively efficient and friendly. We shared a lobtser roll and a large serving of fried clams. The clams were tasty, but nothing special (and pretty spendy, I think $20 for our large serving that day). The lobster roll just wasn't good in my opinon. Good points: It looked very attractive, has lots of lobster, the lobster was well cleaned and mostly from the tail. Bad points: Bun wasn't that great, lobster was neither tender nor flavorful, butter didnt taste that fresh, too hard to eat big hunks of lobster as a sandwich. To be fair, if I was served that sandwich in NY, I wouldn't be complaining. But I was in Maine and had been eating way tastier stuff all week.

Young's Lobster Pound: In Bernard (I think). Awesome atmosphere. Just big picnic tables outside and huge lobster tanks. BYO. There were a number of locals there with coolers full of beer and their own food. Foodwise, not as good as Thurston's; bathrooms, not as clean as Thurston's, but I would go back here first just because I liked the atmosphere so much.

We also ate at a couple of places in Kennebunkport. Ill post those to the appropriate thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got back from an early autumn trip to Mount Desert Island (as well as Calais and Winter Harbor), here's a report.

Finally got to the Down East House of Dogs. Last season it was in the former soft ice cream stand near Seawall; now it occupies the former space of the Deacon Seat in Southwest Harbor. Based on how the Deacon Seat had declined in recent years, this is a welcome change. As baw noted, an awesome selection of dogs. One wonders how they can possibly maintain such a variety of stock. A freezer must help. I opted for the Best quarter-pounder; their menu identifies it as a NYC dog, but that's another case of the Big Apple trying to tap the barrel known as NJ: Best comes from Newark. I've never seen a Best quarter pounder before -- I'm used to the 5/pound served by Syd's, which, after tasting the quarter pounder, I prefer. Nonetheless this establishment is very welcome.

I hadn't been to XYZ since it moved from the waterfront at Manset to the new location off Rt. 102A. A delightful room, with many of the same posters/art on the wall and old favorites on the menu. And they still make killer margaritas. A few years back Janet took lengua off the menu, apparently because of supplier issues. Well, she's got a new supplier and put it back on the menu, but in an entirely different form. Instead of braised and served hot as an entree, it's now one of the appetizer choices, served "pickled" in a vinaigrette. Absolutely fabulous! The acidity was in great balance to the paté-like richness of the tongue. I made a meal of appetizer and also enjoyed the tamales (can you say delicate and tamale in the same sentence? These were and, oddly enough, quite nice) and the queso fundido. And the lime bombe pie for the desert.

I made my obligatory trip to George's and was not disappointed, though my server seemed a bit flummoxed (the other servers I observed seemed to have everything in hand). Again, another meal of appetizers, which George's encourages: a perfect duck leg confit, mustard shrimps (tasted like they were sweetened with a little honey), and butter-cooked lobster bits folded into crepes. I ended the meal with tart tatin, but was surprised when it arrived at the table with an almost jellied fruit mash atop puff pastry; it was just okay. Although this was not one of the best meals I've consumed at George's since I began going there in the late 1970s, it was still very enjoyable. The rooms, as ever, are attractive and comfortable.

Another new stop for me this year was Rupununi where I indulged in Maine's Spinney Creek Oysters. a burger, and a Dogfish Head IPA. The oysters were fresh and perfectly shucked, not a single drop of liquor spilled in the shucking or in delivering the plate to me. The burger was above average, and the IPA, well, I'm a sucker for IPA and this is one of the best of the breed. The overall menu is pretty wide ranging, with something for everyone. Not a destination restaurant, but a good place to enjoy well-cooked meals and a great beer selection.

Mike Boland and his wife, Deidre are the restaurant conglamateurs of Bar Harbor. While Mike runs Rupununi (including expediting in the kitchen during peak hours), Deidre manages Havana, which has higher culinary aspirations and prices more in line with George's than Rupununi. Again, I went for a meal of appetizers: a thick, spicy tomato soup with goat-cheese encrusted crouton, a scallop with more ingredients than I can remember, also well-seasoned, and, the hit of the evening to me, mushroom spring rolls served with a delicate sauce. The soup and scallops were intensively seasoned, and if the kitchen has a fault, it is this; the natural goodness of the prime ingredient is challenged by both the intensity of the seasoning and the use of too many accompaniments to a dish. I'm not against spice and heat, but particularly with the scallop dish (which arrived a tad overcooked) the seasoning and variety of flavors nearly overwhelmed the native flavor. A little restraint would actually take Havana up a notch.

I did not try the Bolands' third restaurant, Mama Boy Bistro, in Winter Harbor, across Frenchman Bay from Bar Harbor. They acquired it from a previous owner who was financed by his mother; the previous owner was upfront about his financing, hence the name. Locals have avoided it because of the perception of small servings and high prices, an image the Bolands are trying to overcome.

While in Winter Harbor I did try the Fisherman's Inn, a classic fish house owned by the former chef at the Bar Harbor Inn. The fried belly clams were crisp with a light coating (cornmeal, I suspect), perfectly fried and utterly sweet. Each table gets house-made foccacia, which didn't impress me until I tasted the dipping sauce: your basic EVO vinaigrette punctuated with lots and lots of garlic, countered by just a little parsley. I ate the whole thing, and not a drop of dipping sauce remained.

On Mount Desert, the quintessential lobster pound remains Thurstons. As I've remarked previously, lots of places make perfectly good lobster: so long as it's fresh and steamed for the proper time per pound, it's hard to go wrong. But Thurston's location and view on Bass Harbor beat Beals and the Trenton pounds by at least 20,000 leagues atop the sea. And maybe it's just because I haven't had them for two years, but the hardshell lobsters (three pounds in two sittings) and clams (five pounds in three sittings) tasted better than ever.

There isn't much in the way of fine dining I could find in Calais (pronounced "callous", not "cal-ay"), a burg on the St. Croix River across from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, near Passamaquoddy Bay. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the Town House Restaurant, which did a credible job on a pot of mussels (small, the way I like them) and presented a steak sandwich which was basically a hunk of tasty sirloin atop a mediocre sub roll along with fries and slaw. I went to one of the two Chinese restaurants in town the previous night, King China; perfectly acceptable should you find yourself in Calais, and certainly good value for the money.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

Bumping this as I'm headed to Maine in June with my wife. Planning on going to Mache and Havana. I've seen mixed things on the internet about XYZ.

Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks!


Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we went on a lobster boat tour out of bar harbor 2 years ago and it was amazing! i forget the town it was in but it was about 2-3 miles away from bar harbor. im sure you could google it. have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi!

Bumping this as I'm headed to Maine in June with my wife.  Planning on going to Mache and Havana.  I've seen mixed things on the internet about XYZ.

Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks!

I wouldn't hesitate going to XYZ. Where did you find mixed reviews of XYZ on the 'net? I've looked and so far haven't. You might enjoy this Boston Globe article from not quite two years ago.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

XYZ is great. Also go to the Thirsty Whale on Cottage St in Bar Harbor for fried clams--these are the best fried clams in the whole world. I kid you not; I have made it a life mission to find clams as good as these (there is a little place in Truro on Rte 6 that comes pretty close). Also, head down to Northeast Harbor and take the mail boat over to Little Cranberry and enjoy a prime lobster roll (this one requires a knife and fork) at Puddles on the dock. Then you can walk off your lobster on the very pretty island, buy some lovely pottery at the co-op and check out the local historical society which is very interesting. I also recommend the Burning Tree in Otter Creek on Rte 3. They specialize in local, seasonal cuisine--excellent.


Edited by scordelia (log)

S. Cue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my second visit to Havana last night (the first was about four years ago) and found it improved . . . no small matter, since I found it pretty good last time out.

My primary criticism four years ago was that a couple of dishes seemed over the top, i.e., too many flavors, too many ingredients occasionally at odds with one another.

Maybe it was my menu selections, then or now, but last night I found the dishes I sampled just as full of flavor, but better balanced. A most enjoyable meaa.

For an amuse bouche, we were presented with two spoons of chicken salad with chipotle. The pepper was in the background, allowing the chicken flavor to shine, adding just enough piquancy to lift the dish.

I started with the cod fritters, three delectable, perfectly round balls of salt cod mash (I would imagine with potato) fried greaselessly and to perfection. It was served with a lime-yogurt dipping sauce and a smear of chili pepper jam. Great starter.

My main was the special, braised short ribs. On the side was a mix of onions, potatoes and unidentifiable but tasty veggies, some garlicky pan-fried greens, and Venezulean guacamole (what made it Venezulean I'm at a loss to say, but it was a nice, refreshing and chunky version of the taco house staple). At first taste I thought the beef not as intensely beefy as I'd like. But then in put a little guacamole on a fork full, and the flavor deepened immediatley. A curious phenomena, but welcome. The guacamole brought out the beefy-ness immediately.

She Who Must Be Obeyed decided to make a meal of salad and appetizers. Her strawberry vinagrette-dressed summer salad (it's still strawberry season in parts of Maine) included ripe pear slices and a creamy, mild chevre. SWMBO enjoyed it immensely.

Her two appetizers -- Fried sweet potatoes and plantains served with a pimento mojo and a smoked paprika mayonnaise, and fried garlic bread and chorizo served with an eggplant / bell pepper dip -- were placed on a single plate, and together they made a hefty main course. The chorizo was cut too thick for SWMBO's taste, and she thought the sweet potatoes came off second best vs. the plantains, but she enjoyed the combination and made a serious dent in the mounds of carbohydrates on the plate.

We saved room for dessert, of course. She went for a chocolate and orange ice cream from Mount Desert Ice Cream up the street from Havana. The server said it was chocolate ice cream with an old candy orange flavor. He was right. The ice cream was flaked with candied orange rind.

I ordered the Lecha Frita, a nutmeg & cinnamon custard fried and served with a mango rum sauce. Crunchy on the outside, milky rich on the inside and subtly sauced. A perfect ending.

SWMBO ordered the Champagne-Chambord cocktail, while I went with the Albarino from Galicia to accompany the cod balls. Our server had described it as similar to a Pinot Grigio, but fruitier. I didn't think it resembled Pinot Grigio, but it went well with the appetizer. For the beef I chose another Spanish wine, Monastrell, described as 100 percent mourverde. It was a delightful, medium-bodied red that still managed to hold up to the beef.

We both left Havana happy and sated. The portion sizes were perfect, neither too large nor too small, and the service staff was on their toes and succeeded in pleasing. The decor is relaxing and does an admirable job of keeping the main room cozy and interesting. Havana is well worth a stop when visiting Mount Desert Island.

The tab for all this, exclusive of gratuity, was just under $110.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Moving up to MDI in about a week. I'll update this thread with anything I may discover while up there.

Geddy's and The Reading Room are personal favorites, but there are so many excellent places around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best meal we had during a week in the area was at The Town Hill Bistro, a few miles out of Bar Harbor.The creamless mussel and shrimp Chowder was a great start but the cod with leeks was even better. Although I don't ordinarily order dessert, I decided to try a cocoa-ginger cake with salty caramel sauce and that was quite rewarding as well. My wife enjoyed everything she ordered and was paricularly pleased that she had more than one vegetarian option from which to choose.

On the other end of the spectrum was breakfast at Cafe This Way. The home-made corn beef hash consisted of a scant portion of undercooked potatoes with a few shreds of dry corned beef. My wife's omelet also came with undercooked potatoes and the salsa that was served on top was ice cold. The service wasn't any better. Nobody ever came by to offer more coffee and when we asked for a refill when our plates were being cleared, we received a pretty ungracious assent. I'll take Jeannie's over this place any day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...