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Dockside Restaurant, York Harbor, Maine

YORK HARBOR, Maine — It would be easy for the Dockside restaurant to rely solely on its waterside setting. It is, after all, gorgeous, nestled on the shores of Harris Island with views of a boat-filled harbor, rocky coastline, and island-studded ocean. But chef Dennis LaPlante’s dishes are equally stunning.

Take the creamy mozzarella, made by LaPlante early each morning, and served with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, or the piping hot crock of house-made white bean hummus, or the peekytoe native crab and wild mushroom cakes served with toasted corn arugula salad. “I think the best way to approach food is with heart and honesty,” says LaPlante. “Start with the best product and keep it genuine.”

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LaPlante’s simple yet creative approach shines in such house favorites as the thickly-herbed, deceptively simple, pan-roasted native cod served alongside a cauliflower hash brown, and the chef’s personal favorite, slow-braised chicken with homemade gnocchi (pictured above). There is one dish we hope never leaves the menu: drunken lobster sauté — butter-poached, just-trapped lobster paired with crisp pan-seared scallops, served with a light Irish whiskey and shallot cream sauce.

DOCKSIDE 22 Harris Island, 207-363-2722, www.docksidegq.com, entrees $19.50-$32.50

DIANE BAIR

AND

PAMELA WRIGHT

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