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Signature Dishes of Seacoast Chefs

Dessert at Grisini by Jack Bingon/ Taste of the Seacoast

Classic. Distinctive. Unforgettable. These are the words diners use to describe memorable meals — chefs signature dishes that people order again and again. Here are some of the regions classic dishes. Click to visit three exciting restaurants.





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Cape Arundel Inn
Kennebunkport, ME

The Cape Arundel Inn is located at 208 Ocean Avenue, right on the water in Kennebunkport, Maine. The charming, gray shingled house has earned kudos for both its ambience and its food. Local media have labeled it "most romantic," while TV Diner voted awarded the inn its highest platinum accolade. It’s easy to see why. In the dining room, ocean waves break on the rocks just outside the windows, providing dramatic views. The setting is intimate -- just you and your dining companion, and all that sea and sky beckoning beyond.

Richard Lemoine, executive chef, is a craftsman in the kitchen. He works extensively with seafood in celebration of Maine’s natural bounty. "People definitely come here expecting lobster and fresh seafood," he says. "I like to work with natural products that we have locally and seafood fits that description. I also use local produce and other signature products like Maine blueberries."

The dishes described here are so popular they have been on the inn’s menu since they opened in 1994. Two classic and hearty appetizers are the Lobster Chardonnay Risotto with wild mushrooms, roasted asparagus tips, and shaved Reggiano Parmesan, and Panko Crusted Maine Crab Cakes with Napa cabbage slaw and gingered wasabi aioli. Diners also rave about the salads, especially the Grilled Romaine Hearts with Maytag Blue Cheese, red pepper confetti, and wild Maine blueberry vinaigrette, and the Autumn Caesar Salad, which blends crispy fried green tomatoes, house-smoked Maine lobster tail, and creamy lemon basil vinaigrette.

Although you could probably make a meal of the appetizer/salad combinations, save room for the entrees. At the top of the list is the Sautéed Maine Lobster with Wild Mushrooms and Herb Beurre Blanc. The sautéed lobster and mushroom mixture is returned to a spinach-lined lobster shell and broiled to perfection. "Guests love this dish because it combines the earthy taste of the mushrooms with the fresh flavor of the lobster," explains Richard.

Another favorite is the Pan-Fried Potato Crusted Halibut Fillet with roasted autumn vegetables and dill horseradish remoulade. The combination is perfect for fall, and the colors of the vegetables and remoulade echo the vivid autumn foliage.

Both dishes disappear quickly, but all the lobster offerings are extremely popular. "We go through 35 pounds of lobster per day," says Richard. "This generates a lot of shells, which in turn yield eight gallons of lobster stock per week. We use the stock in our lobster entrees, risotto, and various soups and sauces. We run a thrifty, New England kitchen like the old-timers did."

Although the Cape Arundel Inn offers a variety of desserts, one has particularly stood the test of time. This distinctive offering is the Broiled Ginger Strawberries over Grilled Buttermilk Biscuit; it is served with Tahitian vanilla whipped cream and toasted shaved coconut. The unusual blend of flavors is magical, each one layered upon the next to create its own unique taste.

The Cape Arundel Inn is open seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (207) 967-2125, or visit their web site.



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