Friday, September 13, 2013

Erica's Seafood: Straight to the Top

You cannot see the angels circling above.
Erica's Seafood
Basin Point
Harpswell, Maine 04079
(207) 833-7354

2013 Update:

I have since returned by watercraft. I did use the Dolphin's facilities to get to Erica's.  I literally ran up the gangway to get there. Lobster prices have been decimated this year by an abundant catch.  Read James Surowiecki's piece in the New Yorker about why-
The prices at Erica's mirrored the boat prices.  Andrea was offering 3 full lobster rolls for $27 bucks. More importantly Andrea is now offering the seafood roll equivalent of the Cronut- The Crabster, or the Crabby Lobster. This is lobster and crab salad combined.  I ate a life altering Crabster for $9.  Three days later I dragged my whole family there to celebrate my birthday with another Crabster and some seafood chowder.  I have become a little obsessive about Erica's and googled the establishment to find the minutes of her Planning Board hearings.  This was interesting reading and the process frustrates me about how much work is was for Andrea to make a nice place to eat where she employs people.  I am no Libertarian, but sometimes municipal zoning requirements are just crazy.
This is The Crabster- look how perfectly golden it is.

Original Review from 2012:

The original intent of my trip to Harpswell today was to validate my hunch that the Dolphin Marina had entered in to some Faustian arrangement for the new restaurant building. The Dolphin has always been dear to me, but I'll save that for another review.

The view to Bailey's Island
I really don't enjoy writing bad reviews and that was my intention at the Dolphin when I headed down Harpswell Neck.  The day was picture perfect, the kind that tends to happen only in September. The State of Maine Air Show was in full swing as I passed by the old Naval Air Station.  A Navy Corsair buzzed me as I passed Fat Boy. I built a couple Corsair models as a kid, so it was a thrill. A Corsair is one of the most beautiful planes ever made.

When  almost at the Dolphin I noticed some new signs. What were once Erica's Lobster signs now said Erica's Seafood and Takeout. There was hope that I might be writing a positive review today with a brand new place.  I assumed that the old Dolphin building may have been turned in to a seafood shack- as it was meant to be.  Erica's is the parking lot just before the dreaded Dolphin. I promise that is the last time I'll mention The Dolphin in this review.  Erica's is a tiny little white "shack" with tables and umbrellas out front- very unassuming and typical of Maine. The view to Bailey's, Flag, Haskell, and Eagle Islands is better than their neighbor's because there is no glass separating you from the view!

If you have followed my blog at all, then you know that I am on a holy quest to find honest and sincere Maine experiences and Erica's is exactly that. Harpswell has a lot to offer in the lobster roll arena: Estes, Allens, Nance's... This is my new #1 for Harpswell and also a top 5 pick for Mid-coast.  Erica's is on par with Waterman's Beach (James Beard Award winner), Five Islands, Muscongus Bay Lobster, and with much better prices. I was floored by the value offered at Erica's. A behemoth crab roll with the sweetest meat and nice claw pieces was a mere 8 bucks, how can this be? The lobster roll was $11 with a pickle.  Andrea Hunter (proprietor) uses unbelievable restraint with the mayo. She makes lobster salad like James Bond makes a martini- with perfect precision. The lobster pieces were perfectly sized, toothsome, and so sweet.
The float- tie up on the sides

I can't say enough about this place. I hung around taking lots of photos and the guys killing their Sunday with a six-pack at the lobster pound made mention of my loitering. I was loitering. My only concern about Erica's was how to get there in the boat? I don't think the neighbors, the ones I'm not talking about anymore, would be very pleased if I pulled up to their float and returned with a lobster roll from Erica's.  I noticed they had a dock and boathouse, so I asked if it was OK if I landed on their float to place an order? "No problem, just tie up to the sides of the float, not the end."  The skies parted and the angels did sing. I can come here on the boat, which is actually quicker than driving from West Bath.

I wish I would have found them earlier in the Summer.  Driving to Basin Point is a long haul, but now it is absolutely worth it. Get there before they close for the season! I'm not kidding- Bucket List this place.

Postscript:  I feel like a chump for not getting a scallop roll. I have since learned that Andrea's partner runs a scallop boat- you can see it to the left in the photo above. 

Funny Signs

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