Saturday, March 3, 2007
Tan Turtle Tavern - Northeast Harbor
This Bar Harbor Insider was excited to learn about a new casual, family oriented restaurant coming to the island. We have plenty of high end places chasing the tourist dollar and trying to make their rent money in a few short weeks, but as a regular guy with a family to feed, we need more places to eat out without empting the wallet. The Tan Turtle Tavern advertised itself as having good food at good prices and a extensive kids menu and it did!
We visited the TTT a few days after it openned and were pleasantly surpised that dinner went along without much of a hitch. The only problems we encountered was a bit of a chill out on the porch area, some slow service and our free dessert (we clipped the grand opening coupon) which was the lava cake didn't exactly have "molten" chocolate lava - it was cold inside.
But we expected some opening night jitters and beside we are rooting for the place! Our main courses - Maple BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($16.95), Crispy Scallops Basket ($13.95) and the Chicken Fingers ($5.99) from the kids menus were fine and tasty. The ribs were very good and reasonably priced especially compared to other places on the island who want over $20 for ribs. $17 bought a whole rack which was plenty for two people. The only complaint from our tester was that she wanted more maple flavor (she is a maple nut). This meal included some nice mashed potatoes and a side of veggies.
I had the crispy scallops which were fried to perfection and had, as advertised, a nice crispy coating. Also in the basket were some great hushpuppies, a side of potato salad and some nice crispy "Turtle Chips" which are homemade potato chips. I've had these type of chips before at another place on the island and found them over cooked. The turtle did them right. The only thing missing was some tarter sauce.
The junior dinner in our party had some great hand-cut chicken breast with some chips and potato salad (I guess they were out of cole slaw on this evening).
The Tan Turtle Tavern is located in the old "151" building on main street in Northeast Harbor. Its a cosy little place in a cosy little town filled with people like Martha Stewart and David Rockerfeller in the summer but on the early March evening we visited it, the place was filled with locals, many brought their kids along. The place was packed and reservations after six pm were a must to get a table on this opening weekend night.
We will certainly be returning again for few reasons. The food was good. The prices were good. The atmoshere was good. They gave us a frequent dinners card good for one free dinner with the purchase of six. And they offer a mind boggling number of dinner options so you can never get bored with the place! No kidding the menu had the most number of choices I have ever seen. Everything from fish to burgers to sandwiches to steaks to BBQ to Mexican to Salads. Luckily they let you take home the menus so you can study them for your next visit. Those poor waitresses!