Natalie’s Noel in Camden


Early this week (along with about every other travel/food writer in Maine), I was treated to dinner at Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn. Not just any dinner, mind you, but its Maine Noel menu, as prepared for the James Beard House, in New York.

The five-course menu opens with a wild mushroom “cappuccino” with madeira foam and nutmeg essence, a bone warming soup that was rich and delicious.

The second course was spiced wild boar leg with savoy cabbage and Ansons Mills polenta galette and preserved Maine blueberry-banyuls jus. I really enjoyed the polenta, but found the boar itself a bit dry.

After a refreshing pomegranate and pear sorbet, roasted wild partridge breast with chestnut angel hair, black truffle and sauce salmis followed. This stole the show, as far as I was concerned. The combo of the chestnut and truffle was intense without being overwhelming.

The fourth course was Maine Atlantic wild salmon filet with choucroute and smoked salmon nage. Well not exactly. It wasn’t wild salmon, as the authority seated next to me noted, becuase it’s illegal to serve wild salmon. Although the waiter said it was Scottish, the word from the kitchen came that it was farmed. Whatever, it was delicious, moist, flavorful with a smokey edge.

And for dessert:a trio of clementine confit, orange bavarois and mandarin sorbet. A sweet ending to an excellent meal.

This five-course extravaganza is available nightly until Dec. 24, so if you’re looking for a worthwhile splurge ($89), go ahead, treat yourself or be a good elf and take your sweetie out.