It’s Wednesday afternoon and I still can’t stop thinking about the amazing dinner we had on Saturday. That’ a sign that I cannot just let the task of writing this review fall off my to-do list. I must share it with you all and hopefully one day you are in Rockland, ME and are able to enjoy a meal there just like the four of us did this past Saturday.
Lily Bistro is a French bistro with a modern vibe and owners with a very impressive background. The restaurant’s about page mentions that Chef Lynnette Mosher and Robert Krawjeski have been instructors at the New England Culinary Institute and have worked in many restaurants, including Clio, Radius, Chez Henri, Olives and Pigalle in Boston. I was impressed with such credentials but what I loved the most is that they feel passionate about sourcing local ingredients for the restaurants. I feel like Maine is really big into the whole local movement. I really appreciate that!
We had dinner reservations at 6pm but got there a few minutes early. The four of us were the only people in the restaurant. In fact the whole city center felt kind of deserted (the tourist season starts in about a month when it gets hot and people move back into their summer homes) but we were hungry, and excited for the meal.
Empty restaurant means I could snap a few easy photos of the decor. It also means we got the best table in the house, right by a giant window in the sun.
After a few minutes, some people actually started coming. We snapped a few more pics before digging into our food…
Our beverage of choice – Mas Carlot Les Enfantes Terrible, Cote du Rhone
This was such a fantastic bottle! The wine was full bodied yet approachable. We had 2 bottles throughout the night.
Fresh sourdough bread with pure butter and a liver/butter spread
I actually really liked the liver spread and sourdough is my favorite “white” type of bread.
For our first course we decided to get an order of poutine for the table – french fries with mushrooms, gravy and cheese. This is not something I’d normally order but how good does this look?
This is not the greasy version you may get at a McDonalds in Montreal (that’s what I think of when I hear of poutine).This was a dish of perfectly fried potatoes with high quality cheese and just a touch of gravy. I had a small handful and my dining companions devoured the rest in minutes.
My appetizer: goat cheese tart with roasted beat and watercress salad
The goat cheese tart was cold (or I should say room temperature) which surprised me, but once I knew what to expect, the second, third, fourth (you get the idea….) bites went down easy. I love goat cheese – this was baked goat cheese goodness! The little salad on the side was super fresh and so delicate. I wish it was bigger though. I feel like restaurants always skimp on veggies. I want veggies, guys!!
This is where I should note that the menu changes every few days (!!!) so if you ever go back, don’t expect to get the same dish. I am convinced, however, that you will see something that will appeal to you and that it will likely be mainly comprised of in-season and local ingredients.
My entree: seared tuna, black olive gnocchi, radishes and cauliflower with lemon vinaigrette
This is how tuna should always be served – medium rare, letting the freshness of the fish shine. I love the textural contrast of the perfectly seared “crust” and the rare mushy center. The black olive gnocchi was something I’ve never had before – it was fried and added a lot of richness to the dish if you made that perfect bite containing one of each thing on the plate.
The few veggies that were served tasted pickled (and I am obsessed with pickles!) and once again I wished I could order a whole other side of them (I actually considered asking the waitress for that). They were just so crisp and delicious!
Dessert time! By this point I was already in love with this restaurant. I love the unpretentious atmosphere yet food that was clearly prepared with thought and care. It was also quite busy (every table was taken with a few people even waiting at the bar) but the service was very attentive. We were having a blast! The wine may have helped. But anyway, back to dessert. If anything can seal the deal for me, that’s dessert.
Chocolate ganache cake with house-spun blueberry gelato
Upside-down pineapple cake with coconut ice cream
We shared these 2 beauties among the 4 of us, but I’m not going to lie – I dominated the chocolate dessert. It was so rich and basically perfect. The gelato was a bit icy. I’m guessing the idea was to balance out the creaminess of the cake but a dessert that’s too rich does not exist in my book. I think I have a special gene with a high tolerance for chocolate.
All in all, this meal was flawless. I tried many other dishes (my MIL’s pork schnitzel was amazing!!!!!!!!) and everything was great. We ordered 11 things in total, so that’s a pretty good track record. I can’t wait to go back to Lily Bistro already.
What’s your favorite type of restaurant? Big or small? Fancy or low key? This was it for me.
For other restaurant reviews, please check out my Restaurant Reviews page.