Friday, February 24, 2012

50 Local, Kennebunk, Maine

50 Local, Kennebunk, Maine
There's nothing like sitting at table with a best friend, tummies full and grinning over a wonderful dinner. "Maybe just one more sip of wine," we murmur to ourselves. Neither one of us wants to leave the table, break the spell. So we sit there a moment more. We are so thrilled with what we just ate.

Local food sources
Dinner at 50 Local---a small bistro located on Main Street in the center of picturesque Kennebunk, Maine---was indeed a thrill. I didn't imagine finding an eatery there so sophisticated, so au courant, so on the cutting edge of everything divine to a foodie's 21st century ears. Locally sourced, organic, seasonally driven. Phew.

So what about the food you ask? Aaah yes, the food. The menus, one for small plates and the other with traditional appetizers, entrees and sides, offered a nice selection of appealing possibilities.

Moules-frites, the quintessential (Belgian) bistro dish of mussels and French fries, arrived steaming in a deep bowl brimming with crispy potato wedges topping a generous pile of fat, juicy mussels. The rich winey broth tasted lightly of anise flavored Pernod and we sopped it up with 50 Local's lovely home made foccacia. I could have lifted that bowl to my mouth and drunk the broth like soup it was so good.

Our second choice was cassoulet. Usually a stew dense with garlic, beans and lots of pork, duck and mutton, this version showed a lighter hand and boasted bites of crisp-tender pheasant, luscious pork belly and plenty of the usual white beans. There was no shortage of flavor in 50 Local's cassoulet and more delicious foccacia again found itself sopping up juices and beans.

I wish I could tell you we tasted more but we had reached the saturation point with barely room for a little sweet. Beignets. They arrived crispy hot from the fryer. Dimpled doughy balls crusted with sugar with a cool puddle of caramel scented crème for dipping. Orgasmic. Nothing else compares to the sounds we made as we ate. Everyone of those five plump beignets disappeared in minutes and I have to admit, as full as we thought we were from moules, cassoulet and bread, we easily could have eaten five more.

I applaud husband and wife team, Merilee Paul and Chef David Ross, who created and run 50 Local. Local, seasonal sourcing makes a wonderful difference in the quality and taste of food. And diners seated next to us assured me our experience was the usual as they'd been there several times before. I've got to say, when the locals come back again and again and the place is full on a Tuesday, something wonderful is going on.

Prices are moderate and there's a decent selection of wine by the bottle and wine by the glass.We enjoyed glasses of a nice Spanish white, Las Brisas Rueda, 2010. The decor stymied me a bit and I couldn't quite put my finger on the style. I can say it does all hang together in a pleasing way and the metal chairs that I initially frowned over were really quite comfortable. Our table for two was a bit small as were the plates we were given for our sharing. But neither one of those things seemed that important and certainly didn't dampen our enjoyment. Service is low key, friendly and professional. 

Well done 50 Local. I can't wait to go back.

50 Local on Urbanspoon

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