November 3, 2011 Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern
I first head about Linda Bean on Chronicle. They recently opened their restaurant across the street from the flagship L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine-quite fitting as Linda is the granddaughter of L.L Bean. The day was dark and it rained off and on, but we were lucky that the rain held off while we were outside darting from shop to shop and only began again when we were back in our car. The inside decor was a little too “Bennigan’s“for me, with their rolling arm chairs like they have at the Olive Garden and their (almost too) casual atmosphere. The place caters to tourists, a whole bus load of them were dropped off right at the front door.
I started with the corn chowder with salt pork crisps and biscuit ($4). The day is damp and I need to warm up. One word, AMAZING. The soup is thick, creamy and flavorful and the pork crisps, well do I need to say anything more?…they are crispy yet manage to melt into salty goodness on your tongue. The biscuit was a little dry, but you forget back it when you taste the soup…what biscuit?
I get the Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine lobster roll ($17) that is lobster meat with Linda’s special herb dressing on a toasted butter roll served with bread and butter pickles and salt and vinegar kettle chips. Pickles, sweet and crunchy. Chips, warm and freshly made. Lobster roll…..meaty, yet I wasn’t a fan of all the herbs (in fact, I tried to scrape some off). When I come to Maine, I want a no nonsense lobster roll, one that can stand on its own two feet, where the meat is sweet enough that you don’t have to do much to it. I don’t like a lot of mayo which, in my opinion, just masks the meat and lowers the quality of the lobster roll. This one was light-ish on the mayo, but over herbed, and the roll under the meat was soggy :(
The service was decent, again, reminiscent of the Olive Garden or Houlihan’s…but overall, it was a good experience-I would go back just for another cup of soup! I thought that the food was pretty good considering the tourist trap that it is….
Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern
88 MAIN STREET, FREEPORT, MAINE 04032
Open 10:30 AM to Late Night, everyday!