Eating Maine: The Finale

Okay, so I’m not in Maine anymore, but I still want to rave about the meal I had at White Barn Inn, which was my primary purpose in going to Kennebunkport (although my adventures with lobster rolls was a nice sidebar). The restaurant, led by executive chef Jonathan Cartwright, has quite a reputation, as its the only AAA Five Diamond, Mobil Five Star restaurant north of NYC. The menu, comprising the best tastes of New England, changes weekly, but I’d like to share the highlights from our meal this past Saturday. For starters, this beautiful butternut squash soup with crispy Maine shrimp dumplings and a hint of salty prosciutto–a meal unto itself, yet it was only the first of four courses. (Yes, I had to be carried upstairs to my bed after the meal. Luckily it was only one flight up.) Stick with me after the jump for more photographs. My main course was a pan-roasted halibut on green bean and olive oil compote with milk-braised onions and peach coulis. The fish was firm and hearty, garnished with beautiful ribbons of asparagus. My vegetarian companion chose the walnut and radicchio-stuffed ravioli–the translucent pockets of pasta looked more like dumplings–on tomato ragout with vegetable medley and local corn foam. It should be noted that foam is alive and well at the White Barn, because it showed up in the second course selection as surprisingly buttery smoked potato foam, served in a cup. For the finale, quivering panna cotta, served with caramelized figs and an almond-fig tart and hazelnut souffle, which is an absolute must-order, although it’s not pictured here. Also not pictured was the best bite of the night: a single scallop on apricot purée, pan-seared and perfect, topped with sweet apricot chutney. It was a surprise from the kitchen and a feature on the evening’s nine-course tasting menu. I forgot to photograph it because I was too busy swooning.

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