My husband and I were in Maine for our anniversary this weekend and decided to have a special meal at the White Barn Inn. The place was beautiful, the menu had “Happy Anniversary “and our names on them -the service terrific – my husband has a dairy allergy and they were very accommodating. That is where the good part ends. Let’s start with the bread service. They took the trouble to offer a choice of 4 different sour dough preparations – beautiful breads – and served them room temp. They did not heat them so that wonderful sour dough crust – not there. They served an amuse bouche (one bite designed to excite your palate) that looked like a slice of Alpo and did not taste much better. A grey slab on a plate. First course: I had the pan seared Maine Day Boat scallop on spring asparagus, ramps and morels with a champagne froth. Can you say trampolines for the texture of the scallop? Spongy, not seared and no flavor. My husband had the beef carpaccio with shaved foie gras and crispy quail eggs. That was good. BUT – he chose to do the reserve wine pairing and it was paired (by the waiter, I might add, not the chef or sommelier) with a pink champagne………….what?? what?? What?? This did not work at all, needless to say, but it did work with his intermezzo of mandarin orange, red pepper sorbet. My intermezzo was a white tomato soup with basil gougere. Good soup but not tomato……… On to the main course. Mine was described as herb crusted veal tenderloin, roast cutlet of spring lamb with pea puree, ratatouille ravioli and Madeira sauce. I got a veal chop, lamb medallions and the ravioli was so dense I couldn’t taste the ratatouille inside. The sauce was so thick (over cooked) a fork could stand up in it and so sweet it could have been dessert. My husband had the sautéed beef tenderloin (another grey piece of overcooked meat – maybe grey was the theme of the night?) with a braised short rib that was fine. The wine pairing on that one worked – well, they served a silver oak cab so what piece of meat doesn’t go with that? But the pairing lacked what it’s supposed to do – it is supposed to reflect all the nuances of a dish, not just meat and red, but flavors in each that should bring out the flavors in the other. Synergy. My husband was happy with dessert – with a dairy allergy he doesn’t get them often and they did the grand Marnier soufflé for him without butter in the ramekin. My dessert – well……. It was Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Air, Mocha Truffle and Dulce de Leche Sauce. I was looking forward to this dessert for weeks after reading the menu on line. The cake was way too dense (did I really say that?) and the coffee ice cream (my favorite) was more like a granite – all ice.
We were more than a little disappointed. And it cost us $400 for the two of use. The “reserve” wine pairing – the worse joke of the evening – was three glasses of wine that did not enhance the food for $85. My two wines by the glass were $45 and dinner cost $103 each. Highway robbery.