Sea Glass Restaurant
Step through the doors at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth and you’ll immediately forget there’s a busy road and journey behind you. Before you, just beyond the double glass doors, lies a luxuriously tranquil scene. A few well-behaved dogs and kids romp on a long stretch of green lawn. There’s an inviting swimming pool and a colorful garden, and just beyond that, the Atlantic. See that lobster boat anchored to the right? It belongs to the guy who caught the lobster you’ll be dining on soon, presented as an updated and effortless lobster bake with sausage and corn hash and a parsley lemon butter.
Take a seat in the newly renovated Sea Glass Restaurant. It’s been recently updated, and is comfortable and inviting. If the weather is agreeable, snag one of the coveted tables on the stone patio. Every seat in the house has that gorgeous view straight out to sea, the view that makes you exhale and remember why you love Maine. Sea Glass’s new chef, Steve Sicinski loves Maine, too. He vacationed here for many years and when the opportunity arose to work at Inn by the Sea, he jumped on board.
It’s from the ocean that Sicinski gets much of his inspiration. After several years working at exclusive resorts in Vermont and Arizona, he’s excited to draw from the local waters. As a member of the Out of the Blue Sustainable Seafood Program in collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, he’s serving underutilized species, such as hake or monkfish, deliciously prepared with caramelized fennel and risotto carbonara.
It’s obvious that Sicinski enjoys his work. What he likes most as a chef at a resort such as Inn by the Sea is the ability to have his hand in everything. There’s the dinner menu, of course, but there’s also breakfast and lunch to consider, as well as room service, banquets, weddings, and other events. It’s a very full day and his vision is required everywhere. “Sometimes I envy those chefs who only serve dinner, who put all their effort into one meal a day,” he says with a smile, “but this is what I love.”
His style is progressive without being pretentious, simple but with surprising accents. He doesn’t care to lock himself into a particular theme, but chooses to use flavors and techniques from a variety of cuisines. You’ll find a taste of the Mediterranean in the lamb meatballs, Asian flavors in the sea scallops atop sweet spicy bok choy, or a bite of the South in a pork shank over braised greens. Dishes incorporating favorite Maine ingredients are of course included as well.
Many of Sicinski’s dishes include a sauce that manages to be both light and complex. The blood orange curry sauce on the mussels is all at once lightly citrus, slightly spicy, smooth and creamy. It’s a portion sized for sharing, but so irresistible you may not want to. That lobster appears again, in another appetizer. This time it’s combined with shrimp, wrapped up as a fat dumpling, and set on charred scallions with a tangy tangerine soy glaze. The corn and kale broth beneath the salmon filet is fresh and seasonal, with just a little heat. Swirl the pan-fried noodles around in it, to sop up any that might be left in the bowl. It’s okay to slurp a little. You’ll also find beef, pork and duck on the menu, all prepared with the same attention to technique and flavor. Vegetarians and gluten-free choices are not an afterthought in any way, but an integral part of the menu as well.
Every Tuesday this summer, Inn by the Sea will be hosting lobster bakes with all the traditional fixings right down on the beach. Be sure to make a reservation so you don’t miss out on the fun. Or swing by for one of the live jazz nights on the lawn. Bring a blanket, order yourself a drink and maybe a plate of pork belly tacos. Exhale. It’s summer. This is Maine.