After spending a day leaf-peeping and hiking around the Grafton Notch area, we were all feeling a little hungry. We hadn't been in this part of Maine for several years, and our recollection was that there were either pricey inns or depressingly boring food options. A lot has changed, and there seems to be much new development along with a greater selection of choices.
We always are mindful of how we spend our money, so we tend to seek restaurants that provide good food at reasonable prices, and indeed, we did.
After a short wait for a table, we were presented with a basket of cornbread and maple butter. The cornbread was non-descript -- not great, not bad -- but the maple butter was a nice touch punching up the experience of being in rural New England.
I selected the Chicken Pot Pie for an entree, which came with a choice of soup of the day or salad. I opted for the soup, which was a seafood chowder. It was very satisfying the way a good seafood chowder shoulde be. Rich, but not gummy or thickened with starch as some can be. Chock full of seafood with a full flavor.
The Chicken Pie is an ample portion, and arrived piping hot (ouch!). The crust was flakey and golden, and there were large chunks of chicken lolling about with assorted peas and carrots. This was disappointing, as the vegetables seemed to have been canned, but I guess I shouldn't have expected fresh for $11. What really surprised me was that even with the canned veggies, just a dash of tarragon and maybe some thyme would have given it a more savory flavor, which it lacked. Further, the chunks of chicken were so large as to be very difficult to eat!
The fries I ordered arrived hot and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside -- but I couldn't shake the feeling that they were standard 'seasoned fries' of the kind one would buy at Sam's Club or Costco. The ketchup rocked -- Heinz never disappoints.
My partner chose the baked haddock, served in a buttery casserole. This was tender and tasty, though had a somewhat greasy feel to it -- I do hope it was too much butter rather than too much of something else!
Our dinner guest chose one of the chicken filet sandwiches, which seemed kind of 'barren' when it was presented. There was a gorgeous pickle spear, which looked very fresh. The bun was plain, the chicken was not especially thick, and it seemed to have been served on a too-large plate as if to suggest that we should have ordered something more expensive.
Though I did manage to blurt out a request to our server for more corn muffins (ok, they weren't great but I love to eat!), we didn't get much in the way of 'attention' the way I've grown accustomed to in a full-service restaurant. Once our entrees arrived, we were on our own, and we'd been hoping to at least get refills on the water, if not the iced tea. After a while, and with no server in sight, I just got up and fetched my own water for the table. We also observed what seemed like some reall cluster-ducks as the busboys and servers seemed to get in one another's way, and the busboys didn't seem to even think about using a tray for clearing some of the tables.
Overall, the ambiance was casual and homey, and the bathrooms were clean and thoughtfully presented.
I'd like to have given this place a totally enthusiastic review commensurate with the wonderful conversatons we had with some of the other guests as we waited for our table.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.