20Oct/160

Experience The Lost Kitchen

Last month, I had the wonderful experience of dining at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine. Despite being in the middle of absolutely nowhere (as confirmed by the owner), The Lost Kitchen has become widely known as Maine's top restaurant.

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Dining at The Lost Kitchen is not just a meal, it's a full experience. The restaurant is housed in an old, beautifully renovated mill.

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There is only one seating, at 6pm. You're asked to arrive a bit early to pick out your wine or other beverages in the wine cellar of the mill.

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The menu is posted on the cellar door for those who'd like to pair their wine choice with the main course. Prices for the wine were quite reasonable--starting at about $30 per bottle.

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The entire meal lasted about 3 hours. We were promised a 4-course dinner, but it ended up being 8 courses. We had several delicious "freebie" courses, then a short break while Erin French, the owner and head chef of The Lost Kitchen gave a welcome toast and explained the courses to come (those posted on the above menu).

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Erin explained where many of the ingredients came from--mainly local farms. And by local, I mean mainly neighboring farms. Very local. Ingredients often carried over by hand. Erin actually waits until that day to determine the bulk of the menu, based on what is fresh and available.

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The room itself is simple yet welcoming, warm and cozy. There are a number of individual tables, a few seats at the chef's prep table and also a communal table that you can request to sit at.

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The food was incredibly fresh and delicious and the presentation of every dish was beautifully thought out. Erin herself serves many of the earlier courses so she can meet the guests herself. She says she wants to create the feeling that you're just over to her home for dinner. And that she does amazingly well.

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The food was copious; we certainly did not leave hungry. But the ingredients were so fresh and all but the dessert were really quite healthy (and low carb), so we also didn't leave feeling disgustingly full as you might expect after 8 courses.

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The 1:20 to 1:30 hour ride back to Boothbay was not ideal, but I do think it was part of the experience being so far from civilization. There's really nowhere to stay right by the restaurant, but if you'd like to cut down the drive a bit, Camden is only about 45 minutes away.

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For some recipes from The Lost Kitchen, you can pre-order their cookbook!

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There are only about 30-35 seats, just one seating, and dinners served only Wednesday to Saturday, May through December. Needless to say, it's not easy to get reservations. You have to call on the first day they take reservations for the season. In 2016, it was April 1st. I called at 10am on April 1st and my first choice date was already full!

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I encourage you to read some of the other write-ups of The Lost Kitchen, by The New York Times, Food & Wine, DownEast and my favorite of the articles by my friend Karen Watterson for Maine Magazine.

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You can see The Lost Kitchen's Facebook page here. The Mill at Freedom Falls' website gives details (and photos) on the process of renovating the building that houses the restaurant.

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Dinner at The Lost Kitchen--usually around $90 per person before alcohol, tax and tip--is a splurge. But for such a unique experience, I felt it was 100% worth the money and quite honestly a bargain. I am looking forward to returning in December! Fingers crossed for no snow....

 


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