Big nights, special dinners at several Maine restaurants

Feel like a treat? There’s ample opportunity to not only enjoy a world class meal, but also enjoy a meal that’s truly a rare, wonderful thing. Though wine dinners and prix fixe dinners happen year-round, late January happens to be full of some very special culinary experiences statewide.

In Bar Harbor, Fathom, located at 6 Summer St, offers up its first-ever Chef Series dinner, which will pit owner-chef Josh Heikkenen against his own mentor, chef Michael Anderson of MDI’s August Moon Catering, in a six-course battle of the palates. They’ll go through courses based around dumplings, scallops, monkfish, quail, rabbit and persimmon, with the diner being the deciding factor in whether teacher or student is the winner. An early preview of some of the dishes include monkfish with green onion panna cotta from Anderson, and rabbit timbal with potatoes anna from Heikkeinen. What a night. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, and it’s $50 per person, not including wine. Call 288-9664 for reservations.

The following day in Brunswick, the Inn at Brunswick Station hosts its annual Robert Burns Supper, a celebration of the great poet and of all things Scottish. The supper will feature a Scottish feast of Cock-a-leekie soup (chicken soup), Bubbly-Jock an’ trimmins (turkey and trimmings), Tipsy Laird (trifle) and more, before concluding with Cheese an’ Bisquits. Guests will enjoy the requisite introductions, toasts, and recitations, including the Ode to the Haggis complete with bagpipes and the ceremonial sword slicing, accompanied by a complimentary Scotch toast – the Tavern at the Inn has quite a selection of single malts. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., and it’s $35 per person. Call 837-6565 for reservations.

Then, finally, on Sunday, Jan. 27, is the sixth annual Big Night Wine Dinner at Cleonice on Main Street in Ellsworth. Chef Rich Hanson each year recreates the over-the-top explosion of food featured in the 1996 film “Big Night,” complete with a whole roast pig, seemingly endless charcuterie, cheese and other antipasti, and a timpano – sort of like a cross between a lasagna, a pot pie and, well, a drum made of pasta, filled with delicious things. The fun gets started at 6 p.m. the 27th, and the cost is $69 per person and includes wine pairings from Wicked Wines. For reservations, call 664-7554.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.