Getaways for Gourmets

The food is first-rate and the interior somewhat theatrical at this pleasant cafe down a side street with a sign pointing the way. Chef Julie Harris and Julie Berberian, both from Bar Harbor's former Fin Back restaurant, and partner Susanne Hathaway turned the old Unusual Cabaret dinner theater space into a casual melange of tables and bookcases surrounding a circle of sofas in the center. But for the theater lights overhead, the dining area looks like a large living room.

The contemporary menu features seafood, as in entrées of bouillabaisse with gorgonzola ravioli, grilled tuna with sautéed apples and smoked shrimp, and crab cakes with tequila-lime sauce. Shrimp and scallops are baked with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes and served over a bed of spinach and crabmeat.

Several main dishes also are available as appetizers on this mix-and-match menu. Otherwise the stars are homemade tuna sausage with wasabi and pickled ginger and two kinds of quesadilla, one with goat cheese and roasted red peppers and the other with smoked shrimp, mango and mozzarella.

Folks rave about the salads, perhaps watercress, caesar or baby spinach with grated asiago cheese and prosciutto, or warmed endive with grilled shrimp over greens with citrus vinaigrette.

Chocolate turns up in most of the desserts. Typical are chocolate-amaretto mousse, raspberry-chocolate truffle cake, and peanut butter and chocolate fudge cake.

Some of the best, most reasonable breakfasts in town are offered here year-round.