George

Because Portland Chef David Turin is famous, we expected his Kennebunkport restaurant, David’s KPT, to be a “fine dining” experience, a place where Linda and I might splurge once a year. But we were very pleasantly surprised to find that this place, in a scenic location alongside the Kennebunk River, is comfortable, casual and affordable.

In the summer, you are apt to see folks dining on the deck in bathing suits while some customers inside are in suits and dresses. And the menu reflects this, offering everything from burgers and pizza to very creative dishes featuring seafood.

As soon as we stepped up to the receptionist, we felt very welcomed. And that feeling continued, exemplified by manager Jeff Fightmaster and our server, Mark. The restaurant was exceptionally busy for a Friday night in April, the parking lot filled with vehicles from all over New England.

We began with glasses of Sangiovese Di Majo Norante from Italy ($9/glass). Mark’s knowledge of the menu is extensive, so I actually let him order my meal. He started me out with clam chowder ($8), which he described as “unusual.” And it was, with a sweetness that I later learned came from brown sugar. The bacon and thyme added flavor to the dish that was full of potatoes and clams. It was very rich and filling, but I couldn’t stop eating it, and consumed the entire large portion.

Mark said their “best dish, hands down” is the lobster ravioli ($28), and when he said that, my hand went up. When it arrived, I understood why the dish is called, open-faced lobster “ravioli,” because the fresh homemade ravioli is presented in a sheet that is wrapped loosely around the rest of the dish, with a generous amount of lobster on top and scallops and shrimp underneath. But oh boy, the sherried lobster cream sauce was soooo rich, I hardly made a dent in this dish. And still, I was so full that dessert was, regrettably, an impossibility. Oh how I wish we could have had the pecan and white chocolate torte.

It was especially pleasing to see Linda eating seafood, a rarity for her. With the first bite of my lobster ravioli, Linda informed me, “You’ve managed to get it all over your lips and face.” Mmmm, good.

Linda

We were slated to visit David’s KPT restaurant last spring but George’s back wasn’t cooperating, so we’ve been anticipating this popular eatery for a whole year. We were lucky in every way this time. It couldn’t have been a more perfect evening for dinner overlooking the Kennebunk River.

The restaurant capitalizes on this beauty through large windows and a huge deck at the water’s edge where one can dine or enjoy cocktails. Its contemporary decor includes comfortable chairs that invite lounging. I especially loved the combination of blue leather and stunning blue striped chairs. The woodwork and the ceiling is a calming deep blue.

David’s KPT opened in the spring of 2013. By 6 p.m. the evening we visited, all the seating at the three bars (one a raw bar), and most of the tables were full. Clearly, it has become a popular spot. They host a happy hour starting at 3 p.m. and this includes special prices on drinks and appetizers. The atmosphere here is vibrant and fun. As the sun starts to sink it lights up the restaurant in a few places. The bartender working near us dons sunglasses, smiling as she mixes and serves drinks.

I noticed right off the interesting angle at which the chairs were aligned to the tables. For some reason this made it seem more relaxing. This is the place to dine during daylight. The view is spectacular and the setting sun makes for an ever-changing scene. The dining room is open, with seating for 150, but it is not overly loud. Clearly it has been well-designed.

But let’s not overlook the food here. I chose Potstickers with Asian Beef ($11) as my appetizer. It was a large salad of arugula topped with crispy potstickers, (fried pork dumplings) and marinated beef with red peppers. Its salty Peking dressing, mingled with the peppery arugula, was enhanced by the tender beef. It came with chopsticks sticking out of it but I didn’t even attempt using them. I know my limitations.

It is evident that fresh seafood is highlighted in their entree choices so, for the first time ever, I opted for a full seafood entree. Skewers of Gulf shrimp and scallops ($26) were grilled to perfection and drizzled with a citrus parsley truffle oil. To say that the seafood was tender and sweet is an understatement. The rustic mashed potatoes and crunchy green beans were great, too.

Alas, we were far too full for dessert even though they all sounded great. Our stroll back to the Captain Lord Mansion on a wonderful spring evening was the perfect way to end our day.

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed in the “Best of Maine” section.


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