No self-respecting food-lover on a tour of Maine would skip a visit to this restaurant, only three miles (yet worlds away) from Ogunquit’s busy downtown. Co-owners/chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier (crowned Best Chefs of the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2008) are leaders in the region’s sustainable food movement, and source much of the menu from their own backyard gardens. In season, they grow more than 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, and flowers (think spicy mizuna greens, marbleized heirloom tomatoes, willowy clusters of cosmos) with the help of their master gardener Rae Avery. A rustic elegance permeates the dining room, in an 1820s colonial house, where the heady menu features dishes like smoked shrimp rillette, parsnip crème brûlée, and sea salt–roasted rabbit. Though some longtime regulars complain of the restaurant’s ever-increasing prices, overly formal service, and emerging preciousness, Arrows is still a one-of-a-kind place; it’s especially magical in the gloaming hour, just before the sun sets behind the vine-laden trellises and distant maple trees.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.