A great get-a-way in Rockland and Rockport

City or Town: 
Rockland
Rockport
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 George

            After reading articles about 18 Central in Zest and Down East magazines, we were eager to dine there. Chef Patrick Duffy and his wife Jessica have created a restaurant that is unique, with very creative dishes and an ever-changing menu that keeps both locals and summer visitors flocking to this place. Be sure to get a reservation.

            Our table overlooked Rockport Harbor, and every table was full including the long bar near the entrance on a Monday night. Our server Alexa, a young lady who aspires to be a professional photographer (www.kenyaraephotography.com.) has worked here since last November, and was super friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu, a very good thing, because Patrick’s dishes are complicated.

            Linda insisted on a single shared appetizer, Fried Green Tomatoes ($15), which turned out to be wise because portions are large. I did wish I’d had a chance to try the extensive raw bar menu which includes oysters from 6 Maine suppliers and clams from New Meadows. Next time!

            After reading about the scallop and pork belly entree in the magazines, I had to have it, and Alexa confirmed that it is indeed very very good. And boy, it sure was. Just imagine: grilled scallops, roasted pork belly, parsnip mashed potatoes, grilled radicchio, spring onion agradolce, and a spicy mustard on the side.

            At the first bite of scallops, I am in dining heaven, and then I hear Linda raving about her first bite of chicken, “Wow! Is that good!” Patrick’s sauces are really amazing and some take more than a day to prepare.

            We stayed that night at 250 Main, a gorgeous new hotel on the east end of Rockland’s great downtown, with stunning views of the ocean from both the rooms and the rooftop deck, and lots of amenities from heated towel racks to afternoon wine and cheese gatherings

            A college-age young man, Joshua, carried our bags to our room and visited with us at the afternoon wine gathering. Every staffer here is friendly, smiling, and takes time to speak with you, something we appreciate. Our room on the 5th floor offered a great view of the ocean, and we lingered the next morning before heading home.

            While we were in Rockland, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Close to Home, a new sandwich shop opened by the owners of Home Kitchen Café. My El Cubano was superb.

 

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