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Camden and Rockland, ME Restaurants (long)

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Restaurants & Bars

Camden and Rockland, ME Restaurants (long)

littlerock | Jul 18, 2005 11:48 AM

Just returned from a three-night stay in Camden, ME which is a favorite location of mine. We had some wonderful dining experiences, some repeats from last year, and a new recommendation to share.

Primo's in Rockland was a favorite dining spot last year and we decided to return. It really is a destination spot, because there is nothing around it but the highway it sits on. We always walk through their garden area to see the vegetables and herbs that are grown to be used in the evening's entrees.

The house is an old, cozy Victorian. Last year we sat in the upstairs area, this year downstairs by a small window in a room with a fireplace surrounded by an ornate Victorian mantel. The waitress was friendly and accommodating and our meal was delicious. We had oysters prepared two ways--one fried on top of a delicious caper-flavored aioli sauce; the second rendition was prepared lightly battered and fried with a red pepper coulis--delicious. We both had the same entree--which never happens, but it was the pork loin in a madeira sauce with mushrooms (saltimbocca), sliced on a mound of seasoned mashed potatoes with rabe folded into the potato mound--one of their best selling and most requested entrees.

We shared a key lime cheesecake with gingersnap crust with a generous topping of fresh, wild blueberries. I really enjoy Primo's and was happy to hear it hadn't missed a beat since lending its name to two other locations out of state.

New Favorite: Natalie's at the Mill. This restaurant is new, opened this past October, and everything in the restaurant is new. It has a deck that winds around the front and side where you can dine and/or have a drink. The inside was described to me by some people as having a sparse interior, but when really looking at all the appointments in the room, it was classically and elegantly decorated. It has new maple flooring, the furniture has been finished in a black mat stain which contrasts with the lightness of the wood floors. There is a bar area and a seating area composed of large, lovely dark brown leather sofas and chairs with a large, square glass and black wood stained coffee table. All of the decorations, though not many are very tastefully selected in shades of black with touches of red. The candles are lit and the light dances everywhere around the room. Now to the best part, the food.

We thought the food to be superb. I enjoyed the scallop entree. The scallops were large, sweet and very fresh. They sat atop a wonderful mound of rosemary scented sweet potatoes--I enjoyed every last bite. My husband had the crab cake. It was an unusual crab cake in that it was composed of Indonesian crab--very large pieces and I don't know what held it together because it was all crab and one of the best crab cakes we had ever tasted.

I'm writing this small review in work; I don't have my cards with me today to give the exact location of both restaurants but I could provide that tomorrow if anyone is interested. I also have the name of the chef at Natalie's. I do hope this restaurant and it's owner Abby succeeds--wonderful chef. My only little point of criticism (which is too strong a word to use) is this; While sitting on the leather couch enjoying our martinis, we noticed people being excorted past us to a room that we thought might be a small function area because the front of the restaurant, where we were, was basically empty. When we were seated, we too were brought to the back dining room; this is a room that is not at all noticeable from the front of the restaurant. I did notice, too, people coming into the restaurant looking in and then leaving. I think it was because the restaurant had and "empty" look and maybe made people feel intimidated to enter--at least that's how I would feel. When I return, I will ask to be seated in the front dining area. But, like I said this is a very small point especially when you consider the warmness of the welcome we had by the owner, the excellent service and formost the wonderful food.

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