Been slacking a bit in food reviews. November's been a busy month, but the gals are back, chomping and chowing around town. We'll start back up with a review of the sumptuous buffet offered by The Saltwater Grille on Thanksgiving Day.
Reservations were required, as the SWG gets very busy for its holiday meals. We were seated immediately upon arrival - something I really appreciate because nothing annoys me more than having to wait for a table when you have reservations already. Just something wrong with that in my book! Anyway, a very friendly young waiter poured our water and offered to bring us drinks right away, another aspect of service I really appreciate. Then we proceeded to the buffet and dug in.
The food, for the most part, was spectacular. To begin, a starter table included steaming fish chowder, a ginormous bowl of peel & eat shrimp, complete with cocktail sauce and lemon, cheeses, lox & capers and rolls. Another table held salad fixings - ceasar and garden - and included sides such as marinated mushrooms, pickled beets and a curried carrot & cranberry salad that was to die for! Tried not to fill up too much on the appetizers, but it definitely required significant restraint.
The turkey and prime rib at the carving station were each succulent and cooked perfectly, still warm and juices flowing. Both were served with gravy. For sides, there was plenty to choose from: scalloped potatoes, pasta, carrots and beans and of course, stuffing - two kinds - the typical bread & giblet kind and then a cornbread & walnut offering. Both were delicious, although I was surprised the SWG didn't warn people ahead of time that walnuts were part of the dish, considering the prevalence of food allergies these days. Salmon was also available, tastily cooked in a light lemon and butter sauce.
Now, I'm typically leery about buffets, primarily because so often the food tends to get soggy and lukewarm, languishing in chafing dishes; however, this is not the case at the SWG. The busy and friendly staff kept the steamers full and rotated, which meant the food stayed hot and fresh.
Just two disappointments: the pasta, which appeared to be cream-based, was virtually tasteless, and noticeably missing were the mussels and tomatoes dish they served up last year (this is our second year at the SWG for Thanksgiving). But everything else on the buffet more than surpassed our expectations.
Since restaurants typically frown on doggie bags at buffets, we had some great fun in attempting to sneak out some turkey our furry Hungrygals, but we managed it. After all, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the whole family at the table!
The cost of the buffet per person was about $37, and the SWG adds an 18 percent tip on to the bill (a bit high, I think, since we primarily served ourselves, but we didn't mind. The servers need to be compensated for missing Thanksgiving with their families, after all). Two thumbs and two paws up for the SWG Thanksgiving buffet!
The Saltwater Grille
231 Front St
South Portland, Maine