11 August, 2008

Fisherman's Catch Restaurant, Wells, Maine

The Fisherman's Catch restaurant, on Harbor Road in Wells, Maine, is one of our favorite places to eat when we're visiting southern Maine. We love the casual atmosphere of the big screened-in pavillion that serves as their dining room, and the campy fun of having a roll of paper towels hanging from the rafters over each table, ready to mop up lobster juices or wipe melted butter off your fingers. And we love the views the dining room has of the Webhannet salt marshes.

Walking in the front door, there are lobster tanks on the right and the waitress station, cash register, and kitchen to the left. Fisherman's Catch is a popular place, so you'll need to place your name with the hostess until a table opens up. The waiting area is noisy and chaotic, but there is plenty of room to sit down and local "shoreline activity" newspapers to browse through. It won't be long before you're shown to a table.

The dining room is, as I mentioned, a large pavillion which has been screened in with storm windows. The pavillion is filled with picnic tables and benches, and each table has a roll of paper towels hanging over it for easy access as you tear into your lobster dinners. To help diners take advantage of the salt marsh views, the restaurant has also provided small binoculars at each table with a window view.

We've never had a bad meal at Fisherman's Choice, and our most recent visit was typical of our experiences. Because it was a busy Saturday night, we had to wait a little longer than usual for a table, but were still seated within a half hour. We used that time to check out the menu, so we were ready to order as soon as we were shown to our seats. Here's what we ordered:

The Platter for Two - Delicious locally-harvested whole belly clams were sweet and not gritty. Scallops were big, briny, and tender; their full flavor indicated that they were "dry" scallops and not pumped up with water the way some fish markets are selling them now. Fried fish was flaky white haddock, done just right. There were handfuls of delicious tiny coldwater shrimp from the Gulf of Maine as well. the breading on the seafood was Fisherman's Catch trademark light coating: thin, crispy, and tasty, not at all heavy or greasy. All of this was piled up high over a bed of standard shoestring fried potatoes. On the side, two cups of coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrots, mayo, seasoning, and horseradish; not sweet, decent as restaurant coleslaw goes but my own homemade is better) and two white-bread dinner rolls and butter. At $29.99 this was a bargain.

Fish and Chips
- A generous portion of delicious, lightly breaded and fried haddock with shoestring fries, dinner rolls and butter, and a cup of coleslaw.

Lobster Roll - Fairly typical for a Maine lobster roll; big meaty chunks of lobster, dressed with melted butter and piled high in a New-England-style hot dog bun with a leaf or two of lettuce underneath to keep the butter from soaking through the bun. Quite good. Served with a garlic dill pickle spear and kettle-cooked potato chips.

For dessert, we had Blueberry Pie (no picture, sorry) made with wild Maine lowbush blueberries and the most delicious flaky crust you can imagine. It was served along with a double scoop of very good vanilla ice cream, and it really hit the spot.

Fisherman's Catch Restaurant
134 Harbor Road
Wells, Maine 04090
(207) 646-8780

Reservations accepted for parties of 7 or more.

Click here for their website. You might want to turn your speakers off first, some of the pages on the site have obnoxious and unwelcome music and/or sounds.

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