Fathom Opens in Bar Harbor, Pleasing Both Locals and Memorial Day Visitors to Acadia National Park

You walk in and restaurants immediately flash clues about the experience to come.

On its opening weekend, as we entered Fathom, Bar Harbor’s newest entrant on the fine dining scene, the crisp linens against the warm glow of the walls suggested both meticulous attention to detail and comfort.  The table appointments of a single flower, sea salt with a silver spoon, and a Japanese fighting fish circling in his bowl said expect classic with creativity. 

At 8pm every table in sight was occupied and a happy buzz emanated from the various sections of what was previously Maggie’s on Summer Street.  The bar was well stocked, so that I could start with a Lillet, an aperitif that has been made since the late 1800s.  But two unusual appetizers caught our attention: a sea scallop with fresh horseradish wrapped in prosciutto served over blueberry and fennel salad and Fathom’s version of the Hong Kong classic drunken shrimp, these drowned in a tequila cream.  I hope that as time goes on chef Joshua Heikkinen won’t hold back so much on the spiciness and flavor his menu promised for these appetizers, which were both nonetheless truly succulent.  (I, admittedly, like heat more than most people do.)

Dramatically presented filet mignon with wild mushroom béarnaise and duck breast with rhubarb were as pleasing to the palate as the eye. In fact, they were conversation stoppers.  

Owners Tracy Pattershall Hallett and Joshua Heikkinen say their goal is to incorporate Maine products into all world cuisine styles and to have “local and fresh” dictate the menu.  An illustration of Josh Heikkinen’s approach is the Maine tapenade-crusted pork chop.  Using local Brown Family Farm pork, he doesn’t go with the classic Mediterranean tapenade flavors of olives, anchovies, and capers, but instead invents a local rendition with dilly beans, dandelion greens, and salt cod and tops it with a dill chevre.  This is exciting stuff from a chef with a great local pedigree that includes both Red Sky and Fiddlers’ Green. 

And congratulations to Tracy and Josh for assembling a staff that epitomizes both professionalism and friendliness. 

It’s hard to “fathom” that this place will be anything other than a big success. 

To learn more about where to eat and what to do on a visit toAcadiaNational Park, visit OUR ACADIA.

 

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