We started out with some appetizers. First the Sam's Shrimp Jammer. These were a nice helping of bite-sized shrimp. They were fried and served in a spicy cream sauce. Now, for my money, they could have stood a bit more heat (as in spicy heat), but still they were pretty decent.
Did I mention we were very hungry? Well, to go with that, we also ordered the Hand Dipped Beer Battered Mushrooms. Now these were very, very good. They came out nice and hot and had a nice breading on them. The mushrooms themselves tasted really meaty and--well--mushroomy! They were served with a horseradish dipping sauce which only served to enhance their flavor. And they arrived at the table piping hot. A very, very good appetizer.
Tommy decided to try the soup of the day Cream of Asparagus Soup. I have not always been a big asparagus fan, but in the last few years have learned to love it. I was curious how it would taste in a soup. Well, let me tell you, it was excellent. A nice creamy soup had a very mild asparagus flavor. It was delicious and I'd order it again.
For his main course, Tommy ordered the Pasta Special-- a large portion of fettucini in a cream sauce was served with three shrimp and two scallops. Now, the shrimp and scallops were cooked perfectly--just perfect. But the protein part of the dish seemed to be just a bit skimpy, give the huge portion of fettucine. However, it all had a wonderful flavor and the presentation was very nice as well. Maybe one more each shrimp and scallop would have made the dish seem more of a value. Still, the taste was spot-on.
I ordered the Traditional English Style Beer Battered Haddock and Chips--minus the chips. Nothing against chips, but i substituted a salad for the chips--no problem. It also cam with a small serving of mushy peas, a grilled lemon half, and of course, tartar sauce. The salad was very good as were the peas. But what i really need to comment on is the fish. It was, without a doubt, the best piece of mild white fleshed fish I have ever eaten. It was a huge portion, first of all, and covered with a nice beer batter. But underneath that batter was a tender, moist, delicate, and delicious fish--so good that I ate it just as it was. It was fantastic. Best fried white fish I've ever had. The batter really protected it and kept it nice and moist. Good job.
We have very attentive service through the course of our meal and I had a chance to watch the goings-on in the restaurant. Chef-owner Sam spent a nice bit of time chatting with us. At first I thought maybe it was just us, but as the time went on I found that he spent a lot of time all over the place--in the dining room chatting with guests, in the kitchen checking on things, and interacting with the other staff. I was impressed. It's attention to detail and a great span of control that can make or break a good restaurant, and Sam certainly was in charge of what was going on, but not at all obtrusively. I was impressed.
When I think of good places to eat in downtown Sanford, of my favorites, Cafe Rouge is right near the top of the list. For value, it does top the list, second only to the pricier Stone's Throw. They seem to be doing a nice business at Cafe Rouge. I hope they stay on their game and continue their winning ways. I know I'll be back, for sure!