In the Portland area to judge Down East magazine’s First Annual World’s Best Lobster Roll Competition, I spent a couple of nights at the Higgins Beach Inn. While the region has a surfeit of alluring Roadfood restaurants to explore, I did manage to fit in a couple of meals at Shade, the Inn’s restaurant. I am glad I did.
The best thing I ate was Shade’s lobster roll: a great pile of strapping pink meat just barely slick with mayonnaise heaped into a big, buttery (and butter-grilled) roll that is the same configuration as an ordinary Yankee split-top bun but is made of rich brioche dough. Deluxe … and delish! The roll is accompanied by crisp 3-bean salad and a pile of freshly-cut French fries that are flavorful, although lacking crisp edges. I followed the roll with a slice of blueberry cheesecake, which was quite alright.
For now, only guests of the Inn can have breakfast. House-made corned beef hash is unctuous shreds and chunks of briny meat with a few crisp edges, larded with soft potatoes: a satisfying plate of food, accompanied by hash browns, a pair of eggs, and toast. The breakfast menu also includes buttermilk pancakes, eggs Benedict, and cinnamon French toast.
Higgins Beach Inn is a charming old hostelry dating back to 1897, recently renovated and modernized but still featuring creaky wood floors that list with age. Dining facilities include an airy semi-al fresco porch. I look forward to returning for such dinner entrees as shellfish stew and haddock & chips with caper remoulade.