Primo in Rockland, Maine

The chef at Primo is Melissa Kelly. We’ve never eaten her food before, but had always meant to when she was cooking a lot closer to us at the restaurant at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in the Hudson Valley. She left there to opened Primo with pastry chef and co-owner Price Kushner. (Since then, she’s won a James Beard Award for Best Chef, Northeast.) So not only were we looking forward to dinner because Theresa and Jeff were raving, but also because we felt like we were finally getting to do something we’d been wanting to for a very long time. You know how sometimes when you anticipate how good something will be, and then your hopes are dashed once you are in the throws of it? This was absolutely not the case at Primo. Everything was delightful and delicious. We had a ball, too.

Here’s the local halibut with risotto:

So at Primo, much of the produce is grown in the greenhouse and the gardens:

They also raise pigs and cure their own meat there.

When I go back (yes, that’s when — not if), I’ll arrive earlier so we can stroll the gardens a little.

For an amuse bouche, we started with a little shooter with a fried oysters.

Sorry for the dark photos, folks. Somehow, I missed taking a photo of Greg’s delicious cocktail, a Rita Hayworth. It was like a margarita, but made with cucumbers, I think, and lots of delicious herbs. If this drink is on the specials menu at Primo when you dine there, get it.

This is the the farmers salad — with a poached egg. It’s one of Theresa’s favorites:

It has romaine and frisée lettuces tossed with a lemon-parmesan vinaigrette olive oil fried croutons, applewood smoked bacon and a backyard poached egg. Yeah, that’s right.

We got oysters for the table. They were done two ways — one fried and one raw. I’m spacing on the sauces, but I believe the fried one was a little spicy, with chipotle, maybe?

Jeff also got his own plate of oysters. He didn’t want to share. I get it.

I believe this was corn soup:

Sorry for all the vague descriptions, but I don’t have a menu. I’ve asked them to send me one, so hopefully I can update. (I should have just taken it that day, but I was having too much fun to remember!)

I got a flatbread with sardines. You can’t really see from this photo, but it was delicious. Local, fresh sardines, too.

Theresa and her (now ours, too) friend Susan:

We were trying to figure out how, exactly, Jeff and I were related. This conversation lasted quite a while (we finally decided first cousins, once removed), and by the time it was done, we just decided we were all cousins, really. So yes, that’s cousin Susan on the right.

PS: Behind them, you can see the annoying people who told us to quiet down by having the gentleman in the blue blazer stand up, catch my eye and then signal what he wanted by pressing both palms slowly down to the ground as if he were directing an orchestra — “quiet down now, woodwinds, quiet down.” Nervy, since they were making especially loud racist remarks themselves. IHP.

Here’s a (dark) little look around the restaurant:

Each of those were separate dining areas in rooms in the restaurant, which is an old restored Victorian with view of the coast.

Here are our entrees. I’m sorry but I only remember specifics about a couple of them. (Where oh where is that menu! Can my dining companions help me out here? EDIT: Susan came to the rescue, so I’ve edited the original wrong guesses at these. Thanks Susan!)

This is Jeff’s duck dish with what looks like quinoa or barley. At first, I thought those might be a couple of Theresa’s scallops, but now I’m wondering if they might be some cipollini onions?)

Here’s Theresa’s sinfully rich and delicious scallops with fettucine and truffles:

Susan’s bass with pork belly, I think, and mashed potatoes:

This Pork Saltimbocca I remember well, because Theresa, Jeff and Susan said it was a classic. Greg got it:

Sautéed scaloppini of Pork “Saltimbocca” served on a bed of roast garlic mashed potato layered with wilted garden spinach, prosciutto and a sage, mushroom~Madiera jus.

And my halibut:

Even if I can’t give you specifics, I can tell you this: everything was cooked perfectly and the flavors sang. We were loving it.

Jeff, Theresa and Susan:

Les dorkages, Greg and Liz:

Oh look! Some light! Here’s some dessert we didn’t need but thoroughly enjoyed.

A caramel ice cream:

Little zeppole:

Ice creams, which Susan wouldn’t share. (Don’t blame her either.)

Blueberry crostada:

What a fantastic meal. I can’t wait to return.

The 411 on Primo.

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