The day had to come – the final evening of our vacation.
Our dining destination last night was actually just outside of Ogunquit – Joshua’s, a restaurant in Wells, one town north of ours. The chef, Joshua Mathis, began his career at Five-O, before opening his own kitchen along with the aid of his parents. The family-operated business would already have my support, but it gets better, as they grow their own vegetables and add seasonal ingredients to each dish, matching each month of the year. And the final plus: nearly everything on the menu, including the wine list, is organic and sustainably raised.
The one drawback to Joshua’s is that the menu never changes. Aside from the soup of the day and two entree specials, one of which is vegetarian, the menu has remained identical from the moment the restaurant’s doors first opened. I see fine dining as an adventure, and part of that means opening a menu without any preconception of what might be waiting within its folds. I enjoy reading through the choices, imagining the flavors, making selections according to my cravings that evening. At Joshua’s, that piece of the experience is lost.
But, the food is still expertly prepared, as Joshua bakes his own breads and desserts, spins his own ice creams, harvests his own crops, and of course, prepares each dish himself. While the excitement of new tastes may not be part of a return visit to Joshua’s, the joy of perfect cooking certainly is.
Our meal last night began with a bottle of red, as always. Things got a little crazy because I chose the wine, and it wasn’t pinot noir:
I picked a David Bruce petite syrah – everyone loved it.
The chef always bakes a variety of breads, and we were treated to a basket with tastes of four types:
The best is the anadama bread – whole wheat molasses with dried fruit and nuts, akin to a doughy dessert. I. love. bread.
I’ve tasted nearly every appetizer on the menu in the past, so I chose to start with a salad:
Mixed greens fresh from the garden, with a roasted tomato vinaigrette.
The thing about Joshua’s is that while the menu may never change, every item is still cooked to absolute perfection. For an entree, I chose the fish special, and while it was not a new dish (my sister remembered ordering it last summer), it was the best fish I’ve had this entire trip.
Seared halibut and a sea scallop (Amy, you’re right – I’m obsessed!), with garden fresh steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and just enough creamy corn sauce. Both the halibut and the scallop were just – oh, amazing.
Dessert has been five literal years in the making. Back when the restaurant first opened, my parents visited it in the spring, and my dad described the dessert he had ordered: a maple walnut pie with maple ice cream and homemade whipped cream. His description sounded perfectly decadent, and with maple being one of my favorite flavors, I couldn’t wait to order it in the summer. And then, summer came, and they ran out of pie. The following year, our server greeted us with dessert menus and apologized – they were, once again, out of maple walnut pie. It happened again and again – no pie, no pie.
This year, I made sure to reserve a piece right at the start of the meal.
It was so very much worth the wait.
Ending the week in our timeless town with a timeless meal seemed particularly appropriate. I’m savoring my last few hours in paradise, soaking in every flavor and every gorgeous view to last me until next year.
Do you prefer menus that are familiar or those that always change?