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98 Provence- get there before closes for the season...

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98 Provence- get there before closes for the season...

Heathen & Spells | Nov 13, 2005 12:19 PM

please excuse the odd poeticlike format and the mention of Cambridge restaurant references as I posted this on the boston site but the chowhound moderators asked me to move to here:- My husband and I
finally got to 98 Provence in Ogunquit, Maine and we had one of our best
dining experiences ever- we simply melted with joy and pleasure. To experience
this year before they close for the season they are open thurs-sun 5:30-9 pm
for the rest of November, I'm not sure about Thanksgiving weekends' hours,
(207)646-9898 call for reservations, 98provence.com for info and menus and directions- okay
now that that is out of the way, the meal: first, the restaurant is in a house
out of a fairy tale- beautiful points, almost spires on the victorian house,
flower boxes and a lovely garden surround. With fall leaves about, the
colours, the simplicity and complexity of it all which rather mirrors the
cuisine.Inside it is incredibly warming, a wood cabin with plates hanging on
the walls- a french country house, villa, roaring fireplaces on both parts of
the restaurant. Eating areas separated nicely by pretty screens. The food: 1st
wonderful chewy excellent "real" bread with delicious creamy fulltasting
butter; for the first time we tried fois gras en crute- the waitress told us
it would take 20 min to prepare, we also ordered app. version of their
provencal fishermans'soup. The fois gras app. was beyond words- sensual,
warming, excellent buttery crust contained- ahh and the soup with fennel
fronds, much shellfish and fish- so rich piquant delightful soothing- all of
it and more. We ordered cassoulet and red snapper for entrees. The cassoulet
interestingly enough had fig sausage in it but also pieces of fig- duck breast
meat and a wonderful breaded duck leg which was my favorite, everything you'd
want in a cassoulet and more- oh also very good portion sizes. But now ahh the
red snapper: as my husband said "how did the chef manage to get the outside of
the fish so crisp- like a shell of crispness- and the inside so tender and
perfectly cooked" and I mean PERFECT- it may have been the best piece of fish
that we'd ever eaten- served with a wonderful melange of fall tubor
vegetables. Oh yes we also had glasses of a wonderful french pinot noir which
went perfectly with. For dessert and coffee- 1st coffee: I had thought that
Chez Henri had basically continued their predecessors Chez Jean's coffee- it
tasted the same to me but having 98 Provence's coffee made me realize that I
was wrong- 98 Provence has chez Jean's coffee- again quoting my husband"there
is a lot going on in this coffee" a lot of wonderful spice notes and
complexity and wonderfulness of flavour. The dessert- which really is for 2,
as I've been finding in many rests. recently- nougat glace- a cylinder of
served with toasted filberts in one section of plate, and almonds and green
pistachios in other sections- simply amazing astounding sublime- yes, a
perfect topper indeed. (the prices are similar to chez Henri with some of the
app. being much more i.e. the fois gras encrute but that is an amazingly
special app.- I believe that it was $19) Try to get reservations and go before
they close for the season- they re-open in April but they are so good and I
think that late fall with the house they are in et al fits their cuisine so
well- warming fireplaces, really nice people who work there- just really
perfect in every way, such an incredible experience in every way...

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