We have eaten at Anneke Jans several times in the last few years and always enjoy it.
The food is interesting and generally well crafted, and the staff are unusually welcoming and pleasant. We had an evening we thoroughly enjoyed and will certainly return, even though it is an hour's drive for us to get there.
There were peaks and valleys in our meal last night, more of the former than the latter.
We started with craft cocktails, which are certainly original and distinctive. The four of us each had a different one and we all tasted all four. Common to all of them was far less sweetness than one typically encounters, which was a welcome change.
High points of the meal: two of us had the mussels, and loved them. Their broth was unusually rich and flavorful, and they were accompanied by an ample serving of pommes frites. I had the duck breast, served au jus, it was the most perfectly cooked portion of duck I have ever had. The sides were not especially complicated, but married well -- farro, carrots (roasted?) and a puddle of pureed parsnip.
But some things did not work as well. Two portions of a gnocchi starter were chewy and underdone though the dish otherwise was well-conceived. A starter salad of beets seemed pretty undistinguished. Desserts were generous in size and not bad, but the dessert options could have been more tempting.
Our server was wonderful, the most thoughtful we have encountered in quite some time. She inquired about how we wanted things every step of the way and made us feel that the restaurant really cared about our enjoyment of the meal and the evening.
Dining early (we arrived at 5:30 because each couple had a long drive to get there and wanted the evening not to end too late) was a good idea. Food arrived just when we wanted it, and everything was piping hot. Service got slower when the restaurant had filled an hour later, so it took longer to get the desserts than the earlier dishes. The restaurant is also very noisy when full, especially when you are seated adjacent to a table for ten who talked in loud voices.
And heartfelt thanks to the restaurant for adding valet parking. Parking in Kittery in the evening is a chore, at least on weekends, and it was raining.
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