A friend, knowing my love of food, had heartily recommended Clementine’s to me back in February of 2008. It took me another two years to venture through Clementine’s doors. And, oh, how I wish I had listened earlier to her advice about this restaurant. Located at 44 Maine Street in Brunswick, Maine, Clementine’s is an intimate dining location in an area with several other culinary stars. Clementine’s stands out from the rest of the pack with its creative and excellent cuisine, decadent drinks and attentive and friendly service. I can say, without hesitation, that Clementine’s is possibly the finest dining in Brunswick. I now go there as often as my wallet will let me!
On a recent cold winter evening, I returned there with some friends. The lovely hostess greeted us at the door, took our coats and led us to our table The restaurant is cozy without feeling crowded. With a party of four the space felt perfect.
Clementine offers a spectacular three course prix-fixe special for $25. The prix-fixe menu includes most of the regular menu items at a reduced portion size. While they say that they are reduced portions, I have never left Clementine’s hungry and find the servings to be the perfect size.
I highly recommend trying some of Clementine’s cocktails. Their mixed drinks are some of the best I have had in the area. (In fact their bartender, Carly Lowell, is a finalist at the 2011 Cold River Bartenders Bash.) You cannot go wrong with any of their drinks but I recommend Carly’s creation called the Shimmer.
This drink is made with Cold River Gin, Prosecco and Elderflower Syrup. The Shimmer is addictive with a clear, bright tone and sweet after taste. The rest of my table tried the Passion, the Sidecar and the Margarita. The Margarita was described as one the best my companion had tasted. I was unable to try the Passion as it disappeared quickly leaving me to believe that it must have been good!
To start my table had the Pan Roasted Mussels, Lobster Tortellini, and Caesar Salad. The mussels were in a Meyer lemon, garlic, shallot, oregano and white wine sauce which brought out the richness of the mussels. It was so scrumptious that we all made sure to mop up every last bit of the sauce with the Standard Bakery bread. My companion really enjoyed the Caesar salad, but the true star of the appetizers, and whole menu in my opinion, was the Lobster Tortellini.
The Lobster Tortellini are served in a white wine butter sauce with wasabi tobiko on top. They are a food revelation and the tastiest creation I have come across this year. Biting into one is an orgasmic experience. One can almost feel the food gods parting the clouds and shining down on you. If I had to choose a last supper these things would be first on the menu. The lobster is succulent and sweet and highlighted by the wine butter sauce. The wasabi adds a subtle heat and the tobiko pops in your mouth bringing a salty note. My companions described the tortellini as: “The best taste of lobster you have ever had concentrated down into a bite-size morsel”, “A whole other experience from looking at a boiled lobster” and “Tourists should experience lobster this way!”
For our second course our table went with the Salmon in Bric Pastry, Grilled Pork Loin and the Tenderloin Tips. The salmon was wrapped in a crispy bric pasty and then steamed to a moist perfection. It was tender, flavorful and delightfully flaky and accompanied by stewed white beans, black olive salad and rosemary oil. The pork was expertly cooked and paired with flavorful spinach, glazed root vegetables and a rosemary-Dijon sauce.
The tenderloin tips were served with haricots verts, mashed potatoes, roasted garlic butter and a red wine demi-glace laced with mushrooms.
The third course did not disappoint and further sealed my love for Clementine’s. When it came time to decide on dessert, our party of four split evenly between the Chocolate Mousse and the French Cheesecake. This cheesecake was not heavy or overly rich, instead it was light, fluffy and had a delightful texture that was more reminiscent of a mousse.
It packed one heck of a flavor punch when paired with the ginger syrup and fresh strawberries. The Chocolate Mousse was almost too beautiful to spoil by eating. Once tasted though, it was equally pleasing to the taste buds with its deep chocolate flavors highlighted with a drizzle of mango puree and a garnish of candied pistachios.
Clementine’s is a treasure and Brunswick is fortunate to have it here. The staff treats everyone with respect and creates a dining experience that is both first-rate, casual and comfortable at the same time. My companion summed up the entire experience: “In some restaurants the experience goes beyond food. An adventurous cook creates a certain culinary atmosphere with the space, presentation, service and food. In such an establishment the cook does things we don’t think of in our comfort food zone and makes us rethink our food assumptions.” Clementine’s does just that!
Please go support Carly Lowell at the 2011 Cold River Bartenders Bash! You can buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/142950
For more info on the bash: http://frontburnerpr.com/uploads/MD_BarBash_Release3_Feb10_FINAL.pdf