Page 20 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 20

 Norumbega Oysters are a house favorite at Ancora Italian Kitchen in Bridgton.These were some of the freshest and tastiest we’ve enjoyed on any coast.
Fresh Take on Classic Italian
Far from the mountains of Rangeley or the bustle
of Main Street in SouthParis, lies Ancora Italian Kitchen, tucked away on a resurgent Depot Street in downtown Bridgton. Formerly known as Vivo, the new management has dubbed it “Ancora,” and it truly is an anchor to this charming area, and a new benchmark for fine dining in the Lakes Region. You can just
feel the energy in this place, as a new generation of food professionals finds their wings and takes local gastronomy to new heights. As Executive Chef Eric Metcalf explained to me, their focus is on fresh local ingredients and scratch cooking. Breads are baked in house, pasta is mostly homemade, fresh herbs are dried, chiles smoked, and infusions made. They even make their own cheese on occasion. “This is Maine!” Eric exclaimed. “Let’s feature local seafood, farm-fresh and foraged ingredients, and keep it clean and simple.”
Eric grew up in neighboring Fryeburg, and has worked his way up to this moment, from washing dishes, to working five years at Vivo as Sous Chef before unleashing his passion and creativity as Executive Chef for Ancora. He also sings the praises
of Ancora’s staff, which has remained largely
intact through the pandemic. They must be doing something right! While we were talking, a couple
of colorful cocktails showed up at the table. Of particular interest to me was the “Mexitaliana.” A little jaded by my 8 years in New Mexico, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this fresh take on the Margarita, featuring jalapeño and cilantro-infused tequila, lime and cucumber, with a blend of salt and smoked chile on the rim. The “Gentiluomo” was also pretty and delicious, featuring house-infused butterfly pea flower vodka, amaro, and lemon. Refreshed, it was time for dinner.
We kicked it off with a half-dozen Normubega Oysters, a house favorite for their size, firmness and intense brine. They were super fresh, having been grown and hand-harvested in the Damariscotta River, and just exploding with flavor. They paired well with a glass of Soave Classico, one of Ancora’s many fine wines available by the glass from their small but deep, exclusively Italian, wine list. Taste buds activated and palate cleansed, it was off to Italy with the deceptively simple but delicious Burrata, a fresh creamy soft
Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

   18   19   20   21   22