Lakes Area Dining: Bar Harbor ready for the cold
LAKE SHORE — By all accounts, it was a good summer for Bar Harbor.
Everyone knows, however, it’s the bank account that matters most. Head chef PJ Severson called it a successful first season for the remodeled Lake Shore supper club in all aspects.
Hoping to carry the momentum into winter, Severson created a slimmed-down menu geared toward combating the cold Minnesota nights.
I dined with the restaurant’s first-year head chef Nov. 21. He explained a handful of dishes that highlight the menu including our first taste — the lobster Thai corn chowder, which featured a curried sweet corn flan and lump crab in a spicy lobster broth with adequate chunks of lobster.
The spicy hit gave the body a quick jolt of heat, but didn’t linger.
Calamari was next on the list and included the best breading I’ve had for this starter. The calamari is tossed in a sweet chili sauce and paired with a spicy remoulade. The pairing works, but the remoulade isn’t needed if you don’t want the heat.
The next round of plates featured Severson’s rendition of chicken pot pie, with the ingredients on the outside on top of a light and flaky puff pastry. It was a good, hearty meal despite being on the small plates section of the menu.
It was accompanied with a pasta carbonara. Like the version served at Cru at Grand View Lodge, this dish features bacon and sweet peas along with a poached egg that you break and mix in with the pasta. Severson added chilli flakes for heat.
It’s interesting eating with a chef. I found no faults with the carbonara. Severson said there was too much bacon. I scratched my head in disbelief. I never heard of such nonsense. Too much bacon? We agreed to disagree.
A confit duck leg came out next accompanied by mashed potatoes and a L’orange sauce. Again, another item found at Cru last spring; and again, both were equally delicious.
Our final savory dish was the black and bleu bistro — bites of steak smothered in bleu cheese and combined with sauteed mushrooms and onions on top of crispy hash browns.
The steak was prepared perfectly, but I’m not a big bleu cheese fan. The dish would be a grand breakfast, but works, too, as a dinner. The dining experience was capped off by a hot brownie smothered in ice cream and fudge. A great ending to a unique dining experience for me.
Other entrees available include rotisserie chicken, three steaks, grilled salmon, lobster tails, pistachio crusted walleye, ribs and pasta marinara.
Signature sandwiches include the Harbor and Brie burgers, buffalo and Caribbean chicken, New York style Reuben, pulled pork, french dip, walleye and traditional steak. Severson and most other places are hoping for snow and ice and the corresponding winter sports traffic it brings for a successful winter season.
Whether it’s spicy heat or heartiness, Bar Harbor seems to have the menu to warm you this winter.