Ogunquit is home to several culinary masters; the serene location and fertile land has inspired many chefs to plant lush gardens for use in their personal, inventive kitchens. Perhaps most famous of all are Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, a couple whose culinary prowess elevated Arrows Restaurant into one of the top fifty restaurants nationwide. Their cooking and creativity has a place of fame in my family (and many others, I am sure).
Several years ago, the pair opened a second restaurant across town, MC, nestled in the quaint marina of Perkins Cove. Like most establishments in this area, its setting is inside a New England style cottage. Two walls of the dining area consist of expansive windows, affording diners a view of pure, natural seaside beauty.
Though MC is designed to be a casual counterpart to Arrows’ elegance, the food and service have no less grace. The waitstaff may be more chatty and amiable, but food is still central to the experience, always presented in tandem by multiple members of the staff. The menu is simple, yet classic, allowing guests to craft entrees of their own, with several choices of sides and sauces (always served on the side). The lighthearted feel of the menu speaks for itself:
Last night, with the requisite glass of red poured, I began with a plate of cognac cured smoked salmon, served with tangerine cream and pickled red onions.
Coming from a Jewish family, I like to think that I know my lox, and I won’t settle for less than stellar. This was the best smoked salmon I’ve had in my life.
As an entrée, I selected yellow fin tuna, prepared perfectly rare, with sides of mango chutney and jasmine rice. Of course, I shared bites of my family’s dishes, ensuring multiple tastes of Mark’s mom’s famous corn custard, which is nothing short of divine.
Throughout the meal, we watched the sun set over the ocean, and by dessert time, darkness had set in. While the lack of light was not conducive to photos, I can assure you that I savored every bite of a spiced bread pudding, cooked with apples, raisins, and cardamom, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfection.
MC is our traditional first stop as a family, now that my sister has arrived. With hours in the sun, several chapters of a book read, and a long and delicious dining experience, vacation is officially underway.
What restaurant holds a place of fame in your memory?