The Travelin Maine(rs), George and Linda Smith of Mount Vernon, have spent their lifetimes enjoying all that Maine has to offer. Now they’ll tell you all about it — their favorite inns, restaurants, trips, activities, experiences, and travel books and websites — in their own personal style. They’ll be offering anecdotes, tips and all the details you need. So join them in exploring, experiencing and enjoying the great state of Maine.

 

The prosperous Lubec of our childhood has vanished along with the sardine packing plants and Unobsky’s Department Store.

But an August visit encouraged us by the level of tourist activity witnessed on the town’s very busy Main Street, now dotted with good restaurants, interesting shops and comfortable accommodations.

We’ve known for a long time that there is no prettier Maine town from a distance than Lubec. It sits on a hill, jutting into the ocean with church steeples rising above white houses.

Now, Lubec is pretty up close as well. Buildings are being renovated and there’s even a new inn in a former sardine packing plant.

Nothing surprised us more on this most recent trip than our amazing dinner at Frank’s Dockside Restaurant. It’s been tough in recent years to locate fine dining in our favorite coastal town. Not anymore.

Brother (and brother-in-law) Gordon Smith joined us for the meal and offers his own 2-cents worth today, his first appearance as a Travelin Maine(r).

Gordon

It was a cold and rainy August evening in Lubec, making the small interior of Frank’s Dockside Restaurant even more inviting. On this Tuesday night, every table was full, but their efficient wait staff delivered the orders very hot to the table.

Frank’s menu is extensive, and includes a variety of veal and chicken dishes as well as seafood. I ordered a cup of fish chowder and was astonished by the bowl piled high with fish and potatoes. Later, our waitress showed us the size of luncheon and dinner bowls — they are huge!

My “cup” would have served as a meal for many people. Even George, a hearty eater, could not finish his cup (I kept the family honor by finishing mine).

My entrée was baked haddock, perfectly prepared and a healthy-sized portion. My side of zucchini was not over-cooked. The baked potato was nothing special but that’s the only part of the meal that did not excel.

The desserts are homemade by Louise Corey, the owner’s mother, and the “Fog Bank” cake has become their signature dessert. I knew that golf courses had signature holes. I did not know that restaurants had signature desserts.

But if any desserts deserved this status, it is the Fog Bank Cake — named for the fog because, like fog, the cake is dark and moist. This plum cake with a warm sauce was terrific. It reminded me of a New Orleans-style bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

My portion of the bill was less than $30 including tip — further evidence that our Down East neighbors are as frugal as they are talented. It is nice to see Lubec enjoying a modest comeback.

George

My cup runneth over — with fish. Gordon is absolutely right about the fish chowder. A cup is a bowl, and a bowl is astonishingly large. But first, I enjoyed crabmeat stuffed mushrooms. Mmmm, good.

As usual, the Travelin Maine(rs) asked many questions and our server, Alison, did a great job in answering all of them.

Frank’s opened two years ago, and has combined the best dishes from their original summer and winter menus into one very fine list of appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Portions are extraordinary and we saw many people leaving with Styrofoam containers of leftovers — two meals for the price of one!

I loved the decorations, starting with the wood cook-stove that serves as the holding area for condiments and other supplies.

Over our table was a sign stating, “Today I will be happier than a bird with a French fry,” and a painting of a gull with a French fry in its beak. Nearby was a photo of owner Wendy Corey’s father licking a bowl of his wife’s fish chowder with these words painted on the wall: “It’s OK to lick your plate.” This is my kind of place!

On a mid-week evening the place was packed and most tables turned over while we were enjoying our leisurely dinner. But no one rushed us, and we were among the last to leave.

Note to those who enjoy wine with their meal: Frank’s does not serve alcohol but you can bring your own. Many customers did, including one table with two bottles of champagne on ice. I’m not sure what they were celebrating.

My entrée — blackened haddock — was superb, nicely spiced with a crispy crust but tender and not over-cooked inside. It came with fruit and a baked potato (I liked mine!).

Returning for lunch one day to try Frank’s Italian cooking, I ordered a meatball sub. Best meatball ever, with an excellent red sauce.

 

Linda

We first noticed Frank’s Dockside Restaurant last year when we were doing our annual Lubec walk-about. This little town seems to change each year, and it appears that Lubec may be making a rebound.

I was excited to eat here because they do a whole lot more than deep fried seafood that has been the cuisine in the area for a while. (And I’m not a big fan of deep-fried.)

Frank’s offers a good amount of Italian food — alfredos, pastas and parmesans — chicken, veal and eggplant.

I loved the French onion soup appetizer. Rich broth, lots of onions, and great cheese melted on top. Sooooo good. For an entrée, we were told the marinara sauce is very good, so all the parmesan dishes tempted me. Then I noticed six styles of veal were offered.

I really enjoy veal and don’t often see it on menus. I went with the Veal Picatta. It was incredible with an abundance of fresh mushrooms, ham, capers and a lemony butter wine sauce. I cleaned my plate. Accompanied by crunchy, perfectly cooked zucchini and a choice of potato, this was a bargain at $17.

I couldn’t do dessert justice, but tried George’s coconut cream pie (and was very glad I did!). Kudos to Wanda’s mom who bakes the desserts!

On the morning we headed for home, we were still in the area at noon and decided to get lunch at Frank’s. I’m so glad we did! I had the blue cheese burger — recommended by someone who had it last year and hasn’t forgotten it. A really great burger. ($7)

Our server at lunch, Wanda’s sister, raved about Frank’s marinara sauce and eggplant parmesan. We’re looking forward to it on our October weekend in Lubec!

Visit George’s website: www.georgesmithmaine.com for travel tips, book reviews, outdoor news and more.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.