It’s hard to overstate how amazing the food scene is in Midcoast Maine right now. I know that this is no revolutionary breakthrough. Restaurants like Primo and Long Grain are garnering not just regional, but national attention, and it seems like every weekend, one hears of a new mouth-watering destination between Bath and Belfast. Maybe it’s just the narrow mentality that Portland is Maine’s go-to foodie mecca, or the somewhat mistaken notion that the population of any single town in the region couldn’t possibly support all of these fantastic eateries, but no matter how much we psych ourselves up for a Midcoast meal, it always seems to exceed our lofty expectations. Last weekend, our dinner at Suzuki’s Sushi Bar in Rockland turned out to be another fine example in this case study of Midcoast foodie excellence, but to really show just how popular the food scene is in the area, it might help to start our story an hour south in Wiscasset.
Thinking that a pre-tourist-season winter trip to have an abnormally early dinner in a town with a population of around 8,000 would be a cake walk, Meredith and I started our Saturday with a stop at her mother’s farm in Wiscasset. After a hike with Orvis, a late lunch from Treats by the water, and some leisurely antiquing, we stopped into our favorite store in town, Rock Paper Scissors, to lose track of time browsing and talking to the shop owner Erica. When Meredith mentioned our plans for the evening, Erica shared just how much she loves Suzuki’s and how amazing the meal would be. She also suggested that we make reservations, which surprised the two of us. None the less, we got back to the house, decided to play it safe, and picked up the phone. It’s a good thing we did, because the only open time for a table of two that evening was right at 5, and without a reservation we would’ve been just another one of the couples we watched that evening go elsewhere when faced with the hour long wait!
Armed with our reservation, Meredith and I made the trip north to Rockland (an easy drive up Route 1), and were quickly seated with a view of the room and the sushi counter. Although we’re big fans of sushi back home, we somewhat bashfully stick to a few of the more common rolls when we’re ordering takeout for lunch. Since we’d made the trip two hours north for this particular sushi however, we figured that this would never suffice, and faced with a plethora of delicious looking options we did what any smart person would – we let someone else do the picking for us. We both ordered the traditional assortment of seven kinds of nigiri and one tekka roll (a pretty great deal for $23), and proceeded to partake in some of the absolute freshest and most delicious sushi that either of us had ever had. The assortment consisted of tuna, yellowtail, halibut with shiso, shrimp, local diver scallops, salmon, and crab nigiri. Tuna has always been one of my favorites, but the halibut with shiso absolutely blew me away, and the diver scallops were simply perfect. Meredith and I demolished our meals and then spent the next 15 minutes reliving how amazing every last bite was.
If we’re smart, one day Meredith and I will figure out a way to either write-off or subsidize our meals and travels, but until that day all the miles, time, and money spent in many repeated trips to Midcoast Maine will just have to be a worthwhile investment towards the continual happiness of our bellies.