A New Face for Sebago Brewing
Sebago Brewing Company in their new space in the Hampton Inn on Franklin Arterial has raised the bar on the quality of their food and interior design and it has resulted in a stylish, upscale venue far and above the quality of its other chains.
Don’t get me wrong. This is still typical brew pub food: predictable big plate, highly caloric grub that is part and parcel for the beer drinking pot belly set. It’s not an inglorious scenario but the fainter of heart might want to add the local EMS number to speed dial.
Yet it also offers Portland diners a much needed option: a casual dining spot with decent, moderately price food in a space that is modern, light and uplifting. None of this changes the fact, however, that the chain’s standard menu items that rely on phrases like “piled high” and “heaping” which are very accurate descriptions indeed.
I’ve visited the restaurant several times for lunch and dinner. Their burger is excellent and uses Pineland Farms natural beef (at a small surcharge to the standard $9 burger) and local Pineland Farm cheese toppings served on a huge and sturdy brioche roll. The roll itself is not the best example of this artisanal bread dough but it works well enough. The fries are good and the Cole slaw is decent.
Other menu items at lunch or dinner run the gamut of the usual prospects. I’ve tried the haddock bites offered on the appetizer list that were actually quite good with their mild chipotle spicing. Other choices include quesadilla, calamari, nachos, wings, and other typical bar grub starters.
At dinner one night, I went with a friend who had the pasta with haddock, which was very tasty. My choice was from the special’s board and included an ill conceived barbecued brisket topped with melted cheese, mushrooms, and Freeport’s Buck's Naked barbecue impresario’s blueberry sauce, (which itself was very good). The paper thin cut of the meat was like masticating on insoles. This dish should either be swept from the menu or revised. The accompanying hand-cut sweet potato fries, which looked great, were undercooked and as hard as hockey pucks.
The dessert list is surprisingly uninteresting with a few mundane choices like tiramisu, a cliché dessert that is nearly extinct on restaurant menus, to peanut butter pie.
But there are enough other entrée choices that will satisfy most diners. It’s standard brewpub fare that is served in a great looking space that beats the odds in a town whose eateries generally tend towards more refined, if not esoteric fare. Here you can come and go as you please and eat surprisingly well.
John Golden makes no bones about sharing his opinion. If you'd like to share yours, email him at email@example.com.