Fore Street was a large place that opened in 1996, with an open kitchen and grill area in the center of the space. There was a good sized bar area also where you enter. In the dining room the lights were kept quite low with a little natural light coming in the windows on 2 sides until the sun went down and then it was all candle power. The small tables were nicely spaced and there were a number of large booths that could hold up to 6 people. Although I could hear no music in the background the room hummed, probably because it was packed with tables turning over during the early part of the evening. The staff were friendly, helpful and willing to let us split many of the dishes. The crowd was pretty casual. Their “sister” place is a bakery below them where they also get their bread. The specialty was seafood cooked on a wood grill or rotisserie and I’d say it was a mixed result. Some items were wonderful but others had some huge flaws.
The bread was dense and crusty in both wheat and white options. It was good. You could see a huge basket of the loaves near the salad prep area.
The Wood Oven Roasted Rope-Cultured Maine Mussels from Bangs Island were mixed with garlic almond butter and dry vermouth. They were huge mussels – probably the biggest I’ve had. They were plump and juicy but almost too large to maintain the texture I expect from mussels. There was an explanation about the timing they were harvested was when they were taking in extra water for breeding. The broth was good with the bread but there was something about them I found less appealing.
The Seared Corn and Roasted Carrot Salad was made with Scarlett Frill and Rocket, English peas, bourbon roasted bacon and tarragon vinaigrette. The bacon was really smokey and highly flavored as was the corn. The carrots were really small and I might have missed the couple pieces as they were purple and blended in. There was not enough dressing for all the ingredients to be flavored and maybe just too many ingredients to make it work. This sounded way better than it was.
The Cracker Meal Crusted Soft Shell Crab was from Maryland and served with Bay Laurel mayonnaise and leaf lettuce. The body of the crab was good and nicely juicy but the claws were all hollow and just fried crisp bits. The seasoning was quite good but the crab flavor just wasn’t there. It was fresh and not previously frozen but not the best representative.
Wood Grilled Moulard Foie Gras was from the Hudson Valley and served with herb focaccia, a fried duck egg, confit onion sauce and pickled carrot. This was a mixed plate. The foie gras was not properly cooked and still cold, not cool, cold in the bulk of it. The onion jam was delicious and the egg was cooked with a nice crispy edge to the white portion. The herbed focaccia was toasted and good with the egg and jam but the greens had an odd dressing on them.
Atlantic Halibut Filet from the Gulf of Maine was served with roasted summer squash, kale, snap peas and a beet and flowering thyme vinaigrette. The fish was cooked perfectly in the wood oven. The squash pieces, kale and peas all worked nicely with the sauce under the fish and the vinaigrette. It was a good blending of flavors and textures.
For dessert we had the Warm Nectarine Tarte Tatin with butter pastry, caramel sauce and almond ice cream. This was a winner. The flavors blended perfectly and the edge was caramelized to a chewy crust. It was truly delicious and left a good taste in my mouth.