George

As Linda noted on our way home, “It was an electrifying performance.” About half way through the second act of a wonderful performance of “The Music Man” at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, lightning struck and the lights went out. Curt Clark, the theater’s artistic director who starred in this musical, entertained us for a while with theater trivia. Then a group of men, and later the theater’s interns, sang for us but eventually Curt announced they would not be able to restore the lights and finish the play. All of us were offered a chance to return to see another performance.

Fortunately, we’d seen the musical — one of our favorites and a six-time Tony Award winner — before, and knew the wonderful ending. We were unable to return for another performance of “The Music Man,” but we’re hoping to see “Young Frankenstein” in August. Every musical here is amazing.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner before the show at Henry and Marty Restaurant, very appropriate because Henry and Marty met at the Music Theater before opening their widely acclaimed restaurant. Eight years ago Paul Hollingsworth and Aaron Park purchased the restaurant. Paul handles the front of the house and Aaron is the chef — very creative and focused on locally supplied produce, meat and fish.

I have to thank the many readers of this column who have recommended this restaurant to us over the last several years. This was certainly one of our best meals this year. Both Paul and our server, Amy, were very helpful with their recommendations. The restaurant is small with a cozy bar in one corner and about two dozen candlelit tables. We began our dinner with glasses of Malbec ($8 each).

For an appetizer, I chose a special preparation of mussels ($10) with Pernod and fennel sauteed in a dash of cream. Linda explained that both have an anise flavor and partner well. When Amy set them in front of me, Linda exclaimed, “Wow! That smells good.” And wow, they tasted good, too! Lin kept reaching over to grab the fennel. The portion was generous and when I joked with Amy about drinking the remaining creamy broth, she said guests actually take that home.

Both Paul and Amy recommended the Pan-Seared Scallops ($29) and that’s all I needed to hear. They are served on a bed of baby spinach, topped with an orange chipotle Bisson Farm bacon glaze and corn micro-shoots and come with jasmine rice and vegetables. The scallops were phenomenal, with a bit of sweetness, but I couldn’t eat them all and brought (drum roll here) one scallop home.

Linda

A night at Brunswick’s Maine State Music Theatre with a dinner at the Henry and Marty Restaurant makes for a perfect summer outing. They were very busy on the Sunday evening we visited. It seems that many other people had the same idea we did, dinner here before the show. Paul said part of the busy night was that diners come after the weekend matinee show as well as before the evening show. Regardless, they had plenty of staff and the service was great.

The menu has the most gluten-free offerings of any I have seen. Great choices of appetizers and entrees abound. I really liked the idea of their Summer Petite Entrees. These are creative dishes with smaller portions. I started with the Pear Salad, a fresh combination of pears, gorgonzola and roasted pecans over greens, all topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. I shared a little with George, but it was so good he didn’t get much.

Some of their classic dishes range from Cuban Shrimp and Steamed Lobster to Thin-Crust Pizza. There is a nice variety across their menu and choices you don’t see other places. Lots of seafood options as well as vegetarian choices here. Chef Aaron knows his way around Korean ingredients and offers a couple Korean dishes. Both include their housemade kimchi, and Amy noted that both are very popular.

I have only had a smoked pork chop once before and I fell in love with that taste. So when I saw this as a choice on the petite entrees, I knew just what I was ordering. My “small” entree consisted of a huge smoked chop with mashed potatoes. The meat is less salty than ham but has a wonderful smoky flavor. The thick chop was very tender. The apple cranberry compote served with this was sweet and tangy, which was perfect with the smoky flavor of the dish. I probably could have finished it but I saw amazing desserts going by, so even with a small plate I had leftovers.

I’d told George what I’d read about their Shaker Lemon Pie, and when Amy concurred that this was a favorite he was sold. It is a lemon preserve pie adapted from an old Shaker recipe. The pie was served warm with extra virgin olive oil ice cream (made here) alongside. Hands down the most unique and delicious lemon pie we’ve ever had.

If I had known how big the pie was I never would have ordered my dessert! But the Chocolate Nemesis had me at “silken flourless torte”. Its texture was indeed silky, actually melt-in-your-mouth smooth. Served chilled with a little whipped cream, this was unbelievably great. Again, it was the best I have ever had. No leftovers on that dessert!

Henry and Marty Restaurant is a standout and if you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your list the next time you are anywhere near Brunswick.

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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