White Barn Inn
Ber’s Nose – Absinthe & Old Tom Gin, Raspberry Cordial, Lemon
Winter Solstice – Raspberry, Cranberry Juice, Club Soda
Focaccia, White, Whole Wheat Roll, Multigrain Epi, Olive Oil, Butter
Beef Tartare, Brioche Crisp, Capers, Garden Herbs
Local Summer Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho, Fresh Basil, Sea Salt Cracker, Balsamic Ice Cream
Lobster Spring Roll, Carrot, Daikon, Snow Pea, Thai Sweet Sauce
Pan Seared Quebec Foie Gras en Croute, Creamsicle Torchon, Fennel Seed Powder, Kumquat
Compressed Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Almond Croquant
Chilled Pea Soup with Local Peekytoe Crab Cake
Lobster Bisque with Cognac and Pernod Cream
Kennebunkport Lobster Nestled on Homemade Fettuccine, Carrots, Ginger, Snow Peas, Cognac Butter Sauce
Wild Mushroom Lasagna, Grilled Halloumi, Tomato Consomme, Cucumber, Local Arugula, Fontina Fritter
Guinea Hen Breast Roulade, Salt Crusted Leg, Forest Mushroom Risotto, Asparagus, Baby Artichokes, Cardamom
Cheeseboard with Fruit Bread, Crackers, Chutney
Chocolate Cake Pop and Mascarpone
Banana Cream Tart, Peanut Butter Buckeye, Caramelized Bananas, Dulce Chocolate Ice Cream
The Bee’s Knees Earl Grey Cheesecake, Frozen Honey Parfait, Almond Baklava, Confit Lemon, Blackberry Sorbet
Summer Peach Souffle, Fire Roasted Peaches, Peach Ice Cream, Streusel
Mignardises – Chocolate Cigar, Apricot Pate de Fruit, Mango Marshmallow, Coffee Caramel, Walnut and Pecan Pie
Take Home Cookie Mix
A Relais & Chateaux property in Kennebunkport for several years, The White Barn Inn was chosen for Independence Day dinner as an excuse to get away from downtown festivities, the opportunity to fete two missed birthdays also an impetus to do the sort of formal dining less-and-less commonly seen in America these days.
Recently toqued by Derek Bissonnette, his tenure in the kitchen beginning when longtime Chef Jonathan Cartwright announced his departure in June of 2015, The White Barn Inn is a storied AAA Five Diamond and Forbes 5-Star recipient with attached Resort and Spa plus a more casual bistro space, but for those looking for a truly refined experience a space in The Restaurant is the a worthwhile destination, the service all Sir, Ma’am, Please and Thank You while the environment is romantic without being precious, a talented Piano man playing quietly throughout dinner service.
Well priced and diverse in manners of dining, a four-course prix-fixe seemingly the most popular though a tasting menu is offered, those familiar with The Inn at Little Washington or Blackberry Farm will instantly recognize the sort of experience offered at Maine’s most awarded restaurant and opting to order three different prix-fixe menus a substantial amount of food was able to be tasted, most of it quite excellent.
Taking an expected local-seasonal approach to the offerings, even the Foie Gras brought from nearby Quebec, the evening at The White Barn Inn began with craft cocktails and Iced Tea plus Ice Water, the selection of breads unfortunately disappointing as all but the focaccia was dry and lifeless, a real shame as the butter was brought from a local farmhouse and largely went to waste.
Not the sort of place to flood the table with canapes, a lone amuse of Beef Tartare on a crisp with Capers and Herbs tasty, if not particularly memorable, it was with the first course that Chef Bissonnette really began to show off his skillset, the trio running a gamut of flavors ranging from the Thai-inspired Lobster Spring Roll to Summer Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho with Balsamic Ice Cream perched on a crispy diving board while the aforementioned Duck Liver delivered fully by way of a seared steak ‘en croute’ alongside a clever torchon wrapped in Vanilla and Citrus with nuance added by Fennel Seed powder.
Dubbing course two an “intermezzo” the options ranging from light sorbet to soup, suffice it to say that the descriptor undersells the quality as well as the portion of the items offered, Compressed Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Almond Croquant actually a roll of fruit stuffed with chevre that danced with aged balsamic while the Chilled Pea Soup with Peekytoe Crab and boozed-up Lobster Bisque served like a cappuccino were as bold far more sizable and rich than one might have expected, the former truly impressive and perfectly in tune with the season.
At this point having seen earlier diners complete their meals and depart for celebration on the beach, main courses continued to be both well presented and big in portion, the vegetarian Lasagna shining as grilled Halloumi mirrored textures of the crispy baked top of more traditional presentations while Guinea Hen offered both a roulade of breast as well as a salt-crusted leg liberated tableside, the fresh pasta beneath a poached lobster was essentially offered as a means to sop up the Ginger-infused Cognac Butter Sauce.
Enjoying a single plate of Cheese from a mostly New England based cart before dessert, a Red, White and Blue Cake Pop in smooth Mascarpone patriotically cleansing the palate, the pastry kitchen made up for the bread by way of a puffy Souffle crowned in Peaches alongside the Peanut Butter and Banana Tart and Honey-kissed Cheesecake with basenotes of T ea playing well off citrus, fruit and nuts.