Dining a la Strawberry Fields
I never expected to have such an incredible dinner in a little shack in the middle of farm fields only 10 minutes from downtown Portland.
That’s one of the beauties of living in this port city: everything is so near yet seems so far afield.
Let me explain. The little shack is actually a restaurant called The Well. The farm field is Jordan’s Farm on Wells Road off Spurwink, a handy short cut to take off Route 77 if you’re going to Scarborough beaches.
The chef is Jason Williams, a multi-year alumni from Back Bay Grill. All the food is sourced locally, not just from Jordan’s but from a variety of farms for the lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and dairy products. The fish comes from Browne Trading, that fishmonger-to-the-stars right in our back yard.
The kitchen is fully professionally outfitted: restaurant range, wood grill, and all the other doodads necessary to prep a great meal.
We sat in the screened porch, which is open to the kitchen and overlooks the surrounding farm land and strawberry fields across the road. Big picnic-style tables are set up for dining in a meadow soon to be flanked by giant sunflowers. The porch counter, with four stools, was perfect for the three of us.
The meal was so simple and so pure without the kickshaws of typical top-chef bravado. Instead, get ready to swoon over incredibly effortless fare that is at once stylish and delicious.
We all shared the country style pork terrine, a vibrant and beautifully made loaf that was complex yet graceful.
My main course was grilled chicken breast (Serendipity Farms) that was cooked sous vide first and then finished off over wood on the grill. It was served with a perfect puree of local potatoes and crisp grilled local asparagus. The chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy.
We shared a plate of potato gnocchi, little jewels as tender as pastry morsels. My friends ordered the grilled veal and the pan roasted halibut. The fish was a pure white fillet that was moist, flaky and luxuriously burnished, skin shielding the pure white fish that rested in a pool of fresh pea puree, whole peas, and rice. The veal was grilled over the wood fire and accompanied by roasted potatoes. My friend said it was the best she’d ever had.
Jason's own house-made bread is not to be missed either—made that day and heated on the grill when ready to serve.
Every entrée is about $20, the best deal for some of the best food in town.
Dessert was Jason’s homemade ice cream with balsamic infused local strawberries. My only qualm with the dessert is that the ice cream needed to temper a bit more before serving - better to experience its richness and pure vanilla flavor.
We brought our own wines and our own cocktails. As I ate, I thought the next time I dined there I’d bring my own glassware instead of pouring good wine into amber-colored plastic glasses. But on reflection it really wouldn’t matter. Keep it simple.
This is the ultimate in outdoor seasonal dining—a gorgeous setting, fantastic food, and the incredible novelty of eating so well so naturally. Don’t miss it!