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Carrot Soup, Scallops, and Cheese Plates, Oh My

Just got back from the Sebasco Harbor Resort, where I sampled several dishes from Executive Chef Sebastian Carosi’s new “Pure Maine” menu, which features locally procured and deliciously presented seafood, meats, cheeses, and produce. (If you ever hear me complain about my job, slap me.)

I plan to write more about Carosi’s food, and the newly state-certified green resort, in the Phoenix’s annual Summer Preview issue, which hits the streets in early June. In the meantime, allow me to mention some of the highlights of what I tasted:

-- Ginger-Spiced Organic Young Chantaney Carrot Puree with Flower Petals, Wild Fennel Pollen Yogurt and Rocket Oil. Holy crap. Ginger and arugula (Brits call it ‘rocket’) oil give this thick soup a surprising bite, which is tempered by the sweet tang of the yogurt. Plus it’s nice to look at – a palate of vibrant orange, with fuschia and yellow petals sprinkled on top of the white dollop of yogurt.

-- Bacon Fat Caramelized Colossal Sea Scallops, Cider-Browned Local Creamery Butter and Saucy Raisins. (Okay, so the names of his dishes are a little long.) While I wasn’t crazy about the addition of raisins to this dish, the crispy, salty outsides of these juicy scallops won me over. And yes, they are truly colossal.

-- Wolfe’s Neck Farm Grass-Fed Maine-Raised Beef Tenderloin with Pimento Cheese Mashed Potatos, Seared Spinach, Smoky Homemade Catsup, and Buttermilk Fried Onions. (Okay, so they’re really long.) This was the best steak I’ve had in a long time, hands down, period. And the ketchup, which Carosi makes himself, is the perfect all-American accompaniment.

-- Made in Maine Artisan and Farmstead Cheese Plate. Six local cheeses adorn this after-dinner cheese plate, including the creamy, intense Rosemary’s Waltz, from the Silvery Moon Creamery (the cheesemaking entity at Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook), and the parmesean-y Capriano, a hard goat’s-milk cheese from York Hill Farm in New Sharon.

Carosi, a Rhode Island native who’s cooked all over the West Coast and in Italy, is more than a celebrated chef – he’s a dedicated slow-foodie who realizes the ethical implications of his craft. “I definitely require that there’s not a test-tube baby on the menu,” he says, referring to genetically modified meats which sully too many menus. But he’s not a food snob. “This is all country food,” he says, pointing to the spread. If so, i'm moving to the country -- or at least closer to Sebasco. 

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