I have to drive up to Bangor occasionally for business, and let's just say it's not a food destination. I found an ad in the hotel local directory of all places and for some reason it caught my attention. Just the way they answered the phone offered some promise. My first visit was so good that after my second try last week I thought it my duty to report.
Even in a larger city JB Parkers would probably pass as a restaurant to recommend, but in the context of Bangor it's a shining star.
Both visits I ended up with the same waitress, very professionally and friendly. I make a habit of interrogating the wait staff as to customer favorites and recommended dishes and look for signals of sincerity and interest in the food. I wish I could remember her name...Denise perhaps? She was very helpful and forthcoming. I could tell by the way her eyes light up when describing certain items she was into her job as a professional server and felt some passion about the food. An all too rare attribute. I can always see through a well rehearsed facade and she was sincere.
JB Parkers has a compact but diverse wine list as well as the menu, which for me is a bonus. I feel some stress with a huge menu trying to make a choice and Parker's compact selection, perhaps 30 varied items, was more than enough. My only complaint is that the wine list offers my favorite David Bruce pinot noir only by the bottle and not by the glass. Dining alone a whole bottle was out of the question.
I'm not a diner that likes to go into great detail about each dish. I either feel the food is very good and well prepared-or it isn't. I just end up with an overall "feel" for the quality of the food and my JB Parkers experiences qualify as excellent, especially considering we are talking about Bangor Maine.
Some of the things that stand out in my mind are the way both times I ordered a Caesar salad and immediately I was asked if I wanted anchovies, not as an afterthought. I love anchovies and both times the salad had quite a few on top...perhaps 8, which was a bonus.
On my first visit one of the starch offerings accompanying the entree was Quinoa, which I love and cook at home regularly. Their version was a kind of Mexican interpretation having corn and red bell pepper pieces in it, which I thought was very creative. Not what I would have expected from Bangor!
I could go on, but I didn't intend this to be a full blown review, but I really couldn't speak more highly of this place. White table cloths and silverware replaced as needed.
To find it (I put the directions in my Palm Pilot for next time), they are on Center St. straight off the Broadway exit off 95. Go past St. Joseph's Hospital about 1/3 mile, they are on the left with a small parking lot directly across the street. 207-947-0167 It's really in sort of a residential area, not where I would expect a good restaurant to be.
Denise, if you ever see this I really hope I got your name right as you deserve credit for making this New Hampshire food lovers Bangor trips a bit more bearable.