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The Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor, ME

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | August 8th, 2011 | Restaurant Reviews
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I love when I am amazed by a dining experience.  Over a month ago, my husband and I took a 10-day trip that was a mix of vacation and work.  We started with the vacation piece, during which we toured Maine and New Brunswick.  We chose Bangor, Maine, as our first night’s stay, as it was more than halfway to our destination of Saint John.  While I had hopes for a solid dinner somewhere in Bangor, in no way did I imagine we would discover the restaurant that was the highlight our trip.

Based on recommendations from someone fellow foodies, we decided to have dinner at The Fiddlehead Restaurant.  When we arrived at the restaurant at 7:30 on a Friday night, we were asked if we had a reservation.  Not knowing when we would arrive, we didn’t.  As the restaurant was full, we were offered seats at the bar, which was fine with us.  Quite often if it is just the two of us, we sit at the bar by choice.  This seating assignment was far better than any table for two at the restaurant, as we were able to partake in banter with many of the staff.

After being seated, one of the co-owners, Laura Albin, provided us with menus and water.  As we weren’t regulars, she took some time to talk with us and learn more about us.  She then placed us in the able hands of the bartender and waitstaff.  With many fabulous drink and food options, we took our time in deciding.  Once decisions were made, and orders placed, we were delivered our cocktails and homemade cornbread served with molasses.

After a small nibble of cornbread for me and several slices for my husband, it was time for our first course.  I ordered the baked cana de cabra.  Consisting of warm cheese served with pine nuts and honey and crostini, it was a wonderful start.  Melted cheese is one of my favorite foods, but when it is paired with a sweet contrast, it becomes even more delectable.  My husband chose the braised pork belly p.b. & j.  He adores pork belly, which isn’t found on that many menus.  Served with peanut sauce and pineapple chutney, it was a unique combination that had much flavor.

Moving onto the second course, I opted for the pickled vegetables instead of my usual choice of a salad.  A plate of brussel sprouts, fiddleheads, and green beans were delivered.  The vegetables were nicely crisp with a great pickled flavor.  Served ice cold they were a nice segue from appetizer to the main course.  My husband ordered the endive salad, which had a nice assortment of vegetables and a light coating of dressing.  With two courses finished (plus cornbread), we had a meal of fabulous dishes with no disappointments.

For our entrées, it was hard to make a choice.  However, I don’t often find vegetable tamales on the menu, so knew I had to give this a try.  The combination of summer squash, zucchini, farmers cheese, and tomato ragout made for a delicious dish.  My husband saw two of his beloved meals combined in one and had to order the lobster lasagna.  Bubbling hot with a bechamel sauce, instead of a typical marinara, he devoured every bite.

While we were quite full, we decided that we had to indulge in dessert.  If the first three dishes were as tasty as they were, we knew dessert should be another win.  I chose the traditional cheesecake with peanut brittle.  The cheesecake had a nice tangy bite and a smooth consistency.  The peanut brittle, although thicker than I imagined it would be, had a fabulous flavor.  My husband opted for the winterport winery stout ice cream.  This ice cream truly tasted like a glass of stout turned into ice cream, which was perfect for my husband.

Quite full of food, it was time for our evening to end.  Although typically, we’d be ready to leave due to our full stomachs, the atmosphere at this restaurant was so invigorating and warm, we really could have stayed all night.  Every member of the staff with whom we spoke was welcoming and friendly.  Not only were we treated well as diners, with full water glasses and prompt service, but we also were treated well as though we were friends or family.

If you are anywhere near Bangor, I would highly recommend dining at The Fiddlehead Restaurant.

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