A recent trip up north resulted in a surprise dining experience that was worthy of commentary. The Oxford House Inn is a lovely, quaint historic property in Fryeburg, ME, which is worth the trip if you are seeking fine food, superb service and abundant romance. As taken from their website:
The Oxford House Inn, a Western Maine Bed and Breakfast and Country Inn, offers visitors to the Mt. Washington Valley and Maine’s Western Lakes Region four beautifully appointed guest rooms, a fifty seat gourmet restaurant, and JONATHAN’S, a granite-walled pub. Built in 1913 by renowned architect John Calvin Stevens, the stately Mission style architecture, stunning sunset mountain views, exceptional food and warm New England hospitality have established The Oxford House Inn as a dining and lodging destination.
And the writer does not lie… Our evening at the Inn was one of the more memorable evenings of late.
Our entrance into the Inn felt more like being welcomed into one’s home, with a comfortable parlor setting to greet weary travelers. Within moments our hostess checked us in and sat us in a hopelessly romantic table adjacent to the imposing stone fireplace, one seat being a lushly appointed, fixed reading nook.
Given the wintry mix outside, a brace of cocktails was in order. Of note, the Perfect Martinique was a well-balanced, refreshing rendition of this pre-prohibition classic. For starters, the Calabrese Salad with fresh Burrata Mozzarella was an enticing palate teaser. The Clam Chowder with Bacon was a creamy, comfort-food masterpiece, filled with plenty of goodies.
Entrees were the Grilled Filet Mignon and the Seared Bulgogi Glazed Duck Breast, both cooked to perfection. The Filet was served with Blue Cheese, Date & Caramelized Onion Stuffed Rosti Potatoes, Broccoli, and a Zinfandel Port Demi-Glace. I asked for “black and blue” and to my delight the meat served “black and blue…” be still my beating heart. The Duck Breast was served with Scallion Sticky Rice, Thai Veggie Slaw, and Bok Choy Kimchee. Again, the Duck was requested as “medium” and it was served “medium.” Both dishes showed balance and restraint, while still enlivening the taste buds appropriately. The chef touts the use of local, fresh ingredients and it shows in the quality and freshness of the dishes.
We finished with a pair of desserts, Apple Beignet and Warm Indian Pudding. The Beignet had a sweet apple filling, mulled cider caramel, and a cinnamon sabayon. Light and fluffy with a mélange of spicy, goodness. The Indian Pudding was served with smoked almond brittle, and rum raisin hard sauce. If there was one negative to the evening it was the Indian Pudding. The Pudding itself was perfect, earthy and deeply flavored with a pleasant interplay between sweet and sour. Unfortunately, the almond brittle and run raisin hard sauce were so sweet that they trounced the delicacy of the Pudding… In their individual components each was interesting, but together they clashed terribly.
With dinner we had to order the Black Pearl Mischief Maker, a Shiraz-Mourvedre blend from Paarl South Africa. The interesting hook? The winemaker is a Fryeburg native, Marylou Nash. A fun connection and actually a very nice wine, which went perfectly with our entrees.
Service was impeccable. Friendly, professional and well-timed, with just the correct amount of attention. We have already started planning our next visit, which we hope will involve staying in one of the beautifully appointed rooms upstairs.