Able's Lobster Pound - Mt. Desert, ME
I've been reading a lot of reviews for Abel's Lobster Pound this afternoon. Sometimes I just like to pour through other people's thoughts before I put pen to paper. I also like to read the phone book. I may be a little odd. Still, I have to say, I may not be as odd as people's reviews of Abel's. Very few people are on the fence when it comes to this place. They either love it or hate it. Let me be upfront in my opinion. I love it.
Now that being said, we went in early June, which isn't season. It was still on the cool side to sit out back. Also, it was early in the evening so things weren't super busy yet. Maybe these things are coincidence. Maybe they are tips for the best experience. You can be the judge. We drove by, and thought, this is it! Just look at the building! This is where we want to dine! And what the heck is a lobster pound anyway?
Now that I am on a plane back home, I googled it and found this post about it. If you want to learn more, click here. It is not, as Jeffrey and I surmised, a place where lobster control puts all the lost or orphaned lobsters. There are not lobsters on the beach just waiting to be picked up... imagine if there were though. It would be a bit surreal.
Ok, ok. You are waiting for me to talk about the food. And you are probably thinking, this woman is a bit nuts. Maybe.
At Abel's, you have the option of indoor or outdoor dining. We chose to sit on a picnic table, waterside, out back. If you do the same, be sure to check in up front though. You will be given menus and told to seat yourself. Our picnic table was surrounded by tiki torches and had been freshly painted. Abel's must be gearing up for high season. The view from here is amazing. Sunset over the water was so romantic, but for us just the perfect background for two friends catching up. To our left was the kitchen shed. Yes, there is a real kitchen inside, but the lobsters are kept in tanks in the shed, where fresh salt water is pumped up. They are also cooked in a pot out back. I felt like I was at summer camp. I mean, just look at Jeffrey at the picnic table. Don't you get a little nostalgic?
Jeffrey ordered a 1.5 lb lobster and I had a one-pounder. Our waitress assured us the pound weight is calculated after cooking and that if they are short, the kitchen adds more meat. Apparently, she had read some of the not-so-positive reviews. When our lobsters came out they were perfectly cooked, tails split and knuckles pre-cracked. We named them Bonnie and Clyde. I asked our waitress how long Bonnie and Clyde had been hanging out, waiting for their final destiny.
She said they get deliveries every two days. She then proceeded to show us how to crack the lobsters' backs so not a single bit of meat goes wasted. Awesome. This gal was on the ball, fed us well, showed pictures of her kids, and told us of a nearby table of "regulars" that she sees every year. That's good, authentic service.
We had our lobster with a bottle of Angeline Pinot Noir. The wine prices are about double the liquor store, which is average for a restaurant anywhere. The Bar Harbor area does allow "merlot to go" so we took the remainder with us. Our sides were fries (Jeffrey) and baked potato (me). I would have liked some coleslaw or a green too. As far as value goes, I felt like we got a fair deal. Yes, Abel's is a bit pricey, and yes, it may be a bit touristy, but it was vacation and it was lovely. If the food is good, which it was, I will pay for the view and the charm!
My summation is that if you are looking for cheap lobster, it isn't happening at Abel's. If you are looking for quick, car-hop service, you won't find that either. If you want an experience with gorgeous views, well prepared food, friendly locals, and a relaxed pace, try it. I hope you had the experience I had, and if you do, you should be leaving happy, with just a little butter on your chin.