Feeling brew in Belfast

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One week ago I was in Belfast, Ireland. Now it’s Belfast, Maine.

Last night, dinner at 3Tides, a.k.a. Lb (pound, as in lobster pound) and Marshall Wharf. Yup, folks, it’s a triple header, and one well worth a stop if you’re in town–heck, it’s even worth a detour or special trip.

IMG_0736Located on Belfast’s waterfront in a renovated boathouse (check out the architectural details) that was raised above flood tide levels, 3Tides is a local favorite that’s still not on too many visitors’ lists because it’s off Main Street. On a fine night, the action’s outdoors, on the huge water-facing deck or below, where there’s a firepit and a bocce ball court.

In the adjacent building is Lb, a lobster pound where you can order lobster cooked or live to go. Also here is Marshall Wharf Brewing, which opened in October 2007. It’s a small brewery, with seven barrels making 12 kegs at a time, about 200,000 gallons. The 13 brews made are all served at 3Tides. Some also are available at Darby’s, also in Belfast; Primo, in Rockland; the Great Lost Bear and Novare  and Duckfat, all in Portland. Here, you can order a sampler tray of five beers for $5. Ask about tours of the brewery.

IMG_07343Tides serves a tapas menu with most choices ranging from $4 to $12. Quite a few are far more than tapas sized, especially the salads and quesadillas. David Carlson, who owns the complex with his wife, was born in New Sweden, Maine, which is Maine’s original Swedish colony and still a hotbed (okay, perhaps warmbed would be more accurate) of Swedish culture in the state. The tapas menu includes Swedish meatballs, a recipe Carlson got from his mother. Authentic, delicious, and served with garlic mashed potatoes as well as lingonberry jam. Yum.

I also sampled the Pemaquid Oysters, served on the half shell, and Pemaquid mussels, steamed in garlic–both more than memorable in the good way. For my entree, I had the fresh Maine crabmeat quesadilla, made with avacado, light garlic, fresh cilantro, jack and cheddar cheeses, and accompanied by sour cream and house-made salsa. No complaints. I saw the nightly pizzette special and the cobb salad, and both looked quite inviting and judging from the looks on the faces of those enjoying them, I’m guessing they were quite good. You also can get a classic lobster dinner here in season.

Now I didn’t indulge in dessert, but three choices are served nightly and all earned raves from others: carrot cake with caramel filling (others were practically engaged in a fork war over this one), cheesecake, and killer chocolate cake (very, very dense and very, very tempting).

Bottom line: Most definitely, GO.