Nestled in the heart of Lower Village Kennebunk, just over the bridge from Dock Square, is an upscale steakhouse/sea shack hybrid. As new owners of the Maine Stay, we are trying to sample all the local eateries in order to best advise our guests. We would hardly know it was there, if not for the crowds outside and the hubub emanating from its small clapboard facade. The ground level features an open kitchen (something I find often signals very fresh and hygenic cooking). As Big Fish lacks a foyer, waiting guests practically invite themselves to parties seated closest to the entrance. While I wouldn’t be too keen on sitting there, I did enjoy getting a close look at their entrees. We were seated upstairs, which felt entirely different – the rough hewn beams and exposed rafters, wide plank floors, and mismatched tables were reminiscent of Maine’s humble fishing roots. While our table seemed quite grimey, it matched the worn, mismatched napkins and rustic atmosphere. Service was slow, but our very young waitress (not unusual at Big Fish) was very patient when it came to our indecisiveness. Ice water served in glass beer steins and the Sunday Globe occupied us while we waited. Walter had their burger, perfectly cooked, topped with crumbled blue cheese and fresh, baby mixed greens. Accompanying this was a pile of thin, crispy fries that juxtaposed his fluffy hamburger bun. Judi chose their half rack of ribs, sans espresso barbeque sauce. These she devoured, but couldn’t make enough room to finish up the truly excellent redskin and shallot potato salad they came with. Johanna ventured to sample one of their three daily specials, a halibut-like fish over a beluga-lentil medley with shrimp cream sauce and garnished with salmon roe (always a favorite of hers, this sealed the deal). This entree was absolutely fabulous, but the beluga caviar was nowhere to be found and the seven individual sacs of salmon roe proved rather disappointing. The motto at Big Fish must surely be quality over quantity, because this $30 plate left her wanting more.
Overall impressions – excellent food, great atmosphere for a younger crowd, but a little too pricey for the serving size and slow service.
Head to Big Fish, where your tastebuds will be delighted, but your wallet will not.