Though the ocean is in very close proximity to McKay’s Public House in Bar Harbor, the patrons set to attend the island eatery’s first-ever Titanic Dinner this weekend will certainly have the glamour of sea travel on their minds — and on their palates.
The meal, to be served all evening starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, will recreate the luxurious meal served to first-class guests on board the doomed Titanic, which 100 years ago this weekend sunk in the North Atlantic. Though the menu is almost exactly what was served then, owner Brian Smith has tweaked a few minor items to appeal a little more to 21st century tastes.
“What we’re trying to do is get people together to celebrate a bygone era,” said Smith. “We’re also trying to keep it accessible for the people who live in Bar Harbor who maybe wouldn’t be cruising on a White Star Cruise liner. We haven’t changed too much, just a few things. There are less plates, and they’re a little bigger. Other than that, it’s pretty authentic.”
Instead of the complicated nine-course dinner with lots of small plates that people like the fictional Rose in James Cameron’s “Titanic” movie would have been served, guests at McKay’s will have two options. There’s a five-course prix-fixe menu, set at $45, or there’s an option to try each item a la carte. The meal will start with options like Bagaduce oysters on the half shell, cream of barley soup or foie gras, before moving onto dishes like Chicken Lyonnaisse, rich with the flavors of thyme and onion, and Calvados Glazed Duck Breast, made with an apple brandy sauce and served with fingerling potatoes.
Instead of the palate-cleansing Punch Romaine — a frothy champagne and rum-based cocktail perfected by the legendary chef Escoffier — McKay’s will offer a beverage made with, yes, champagne and rum, but also Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream’s lemon basil sorbet. A cheese plate and a choice of rich, period-specific torts, tartes and chocolate treats will end the repast. SoPo Wines out of South Portland will provide optional wine pairings of French varietals.
According to Smith, there were several members of the Bar Harbor-summering Astor family who were onboard the Titanic — including John Jacob Astor, who perished in the sinking. Smith has asked Mt. Desert Island High School band leader Dan Granholm to assemble a band to play period-specific music, and he’s currently on the hunt for white dinner jackets for his staff to wear.
“I think it’s great for our community to get together and have a fun event like this,” said Smith. “We want to provide something really unique for them. We want everyone to get dressed up and really get into the spirit of it. It’s been so much fun to plan.”
To make a reservation for McKay’s Titanic Dinner, call 288-2002. McKay’s is located at 231 Main St, Bar Harbor.
McKay’s Public House Titanic Dinner
A whipped pâté of foie gras sautéed with shallots and white wine served with toast points, red onion, and cornichons
Local Bagaduce oysters served raw in a spicy vodka sauce on the half shell
A rich and hearty barley soup with sherry and truffle drizzle
Grilled asparagus, mixed greens, and confit tomatoes with a saffron champagne vinaigrette
Atlantic salmon poach in a court bouillon served with a airy dill hollandaise accompanied with potato medallions and asparagus
Seared Statler all natural chicken breast with thyme onions accompanied with whipped potatoes and asparagus
Roasted zucchini with an organic wild rice, fresh herb, aged parmesan, panko, and vegetable stuffing with an aged balsamic drizzle
Hard seared duck breast glazed with an apple brandy served with organic local herb roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus
Seared filet mignon topped with a foie gras and truffle compound butter accompanied organic parsnip puree with roasted garlic and asparagus
An intermezzo of champagne, rum, and a lemon basil sorbet from Mt. Dessert Ice Cream
Cheese plate of artisan cheeses – Morbier, Taleggio, Aged Gruyere
Hazelnut-raspberry bakewell tart
Buttery toasted hazelnut filling and raspberry compote in shortbread crust
Belgian Chocolate Torte
Rich bittersweet chocolate topped with whipped cream. Gluten-free