It’s no fish story–Stripers is a great catch for dinner by Diane Hudson – Extract courtesy of Portland Magazine
We’re hooked on Stripers, the starry waterside restaurant at the Breakwater Inn and Spa in Kennebunkport. Seated at an elegant table overlooking the mouth of the Kennebunk River, we watch all the yachts, lobster boats, Secret Service zodiacs, and President George H.W. Bush’s Fidelity III glide by as the sun drops and sets the sky on fire.
For starters, oysters natural on the half shell (half a dozen for $12) beckon, as does an amazing variety of carpaccio, traditionally thin shavings of raw beef fillet. How about salmon carpaccio, cured in vodka and jasmine tea, with orange and fennel salad ($11)? Or lamb carpaccio rolled in pesto with sun-dried tomatoes and aged balsamic vinegar ($10)? There’s even an heirloom tomato carpaccio ($9).
Don’t skip the salads here. The Maine blueberry salad ($8.50) with fresh tangy greens, beautiful blueberries, toasted almonds, and delicately herbed local goat cheese is a knockout with its subtle honey lavender vinaigrette. Equally appealing is the crab, avocado, and porcupine shrimp salad with a tomato horseradish coulis ($16).
Soups include clam chowder ($9), lobster bisque, and lobster won ton ($8.50), but now my partner is seized by the moment and goes right to the “Lazy” Maine lobster (market priced, on this eve, $45), a gorgeous, enormous critter spread out on the plate in its perfect lobster shape. Butter-poached, each piece tantalizingly tender, its flavors mingle perfectly with the accompanying roasted fingerling potatoes and fresh sweet asparagus.
Then, unforgettably, we enjoy the Stripers signature farm-raised Striped Bass ($29.50). Unbelievably fresh, it seems to have just flipped onto my plate, except of course for the chef’s pristine preparation. Exquisitely grilled, it comes in a tower of two pieces atop a warm baby tomato, bacon, and arugula salad. The sauce, bountiful beurre blanc, is divine, as are the capers.
Tired of creme brulée? Then you haven’t tried the “local maple” variant my partner orders–not just the best we’ve ever had but one of the best desserts we’ve ever had as well. Not that my mascarpone cheesecake with blueberry compote doesn’t make for a fine finish, too (all desserts, $8), but I found myself saying, “Would you mind if I tried another bite of that?” Now sip from the perfect cappuccino and close your eyes.