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Carmen, Natalie's Wow; 'Barbaric Yawp Of Praise' For LFK

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<a href="http://www.axelrodphotography.com">Ted Axelrod</a>
Ted Axelrod

The surprise of food that is "novel" for the Maine coast, served in a traditional setting; "professional and knowledgeable service;" and visits from high-energy chef Carmen Gonzalez to the dining room - all prompt The Portland Press Herald's Nancy Heiser to give Carmen at The Danforth four stars in yesterday's review.

The Rohan duck breast entree deserves raves. Like superlatives across a page, the components lined up in a row, each one as good as the next: Succulent and tender slices of breast meat, a roulade of tender and moist duck leg studded with corn kernels, an ethereal corn flan, and finally a warm, lemony spinach -- all underpinned by a port sauce that was buttery and tangy at once.
John Golden is smitten with Natalie's in Camden, a town he says "is ablaze with savvy kitchen stars." Before deciding on Natalie's for his review in The Golden Dish,for DownEast, Golden checks out similarly heralded 40 Paper and Shepherd's Pie; 57 Bayview, Francine Bistro and The Pearl in Rockland were also in his sights. "But once I entered Natalie’s incredibly vivacious space I decided that this was where I would remain for dinner."

Golden compares his "incredible dinner" in Natalie's to "dining abroad at a seaside villa."

My main course was seared long island duck breast with caillette (“sausage”) of duck dark meat, celeriac gratin and brandied cherries. The dish was brilliantly conceived revealing the very able talents of the chef, Geoffrey Deconick. He’s from Belgium and sports an impressive resume from stints with world-class chefs like Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud. His interpretation of modern French cuisine is perhaps unexpected in Camden. But I wasn’t complaining.
For her positive but bizarrely worded review in Portland Monthly, Diane Hudson sounds her "barbaric yawp of praise" (is that a happy sound?) for LFK. She starts out comparing the atmosphere to Paris "but on the other side of the show-stopping plate glass windows and the exquisite architecture adorning State Street." She seems to have missed the showstopping (and not in a good way) view of drunks and street people in the park directly opposite LFK, but, never mind, the "surprise" of "the exceptional quality of the cuisine" directs her attention inside. The meal starts with "artesian cheeses, led by Morbier." No comment.
Fleshing out the plot are luscious lamb koftas ($12)–tender, moist meatballs on splendid house-made pita with tzatziki and couscous salad. It’s as though a sweet friend from Morocco has walked through the door–stirring.
They're really making their own pita at LFK?

From the blogs: Maine Travel Maven says "ooh la la" to newcomer Fromviandoux in Camden; Map & Menu takes the ferry to Chebeague Island for stops at Calder's Clam Shack, Slow Bell Cafe, and breakfast at the Chebeague Island Inn.

· Carmen Creates Buzz-Worthy Dinners At The Danforth [PPH]
· Aloft In The Hallowed Halls of Camden Dining [TGD]
· LFK: The Write Stuff [PM]
· Fromviandoux Adds French Flair To The Dining Scene In Camden [MTM]
· Chebeague Island ME [M&M]

Natalie's at Camden Harbour Inn

83 Bayview Street, Camden, ME 04843 207-236-7008

Carmen at The Danforth

163 Danforth St. Portland ME