With its elegant interior, locally-sourced ingredients and a pared-down menu, Maine St. Steak and Oyster strives to create a casual ambience with high-end versions of classic dishes. The restaurant, which opened last Thursday, saw a busy first weekend and looks forward to an exciting future on Brunswick’s Maine Street.
Restaurant owners Kim Lully and her husband Sunny Chung, along with their partners Sarah Gabrielson and Tony Pastor, previously operated a small Korean restaurant in Portland and are eager to bring something fresh to the local food scene.
“Everything else that has been here a long time is great. Obviously, that’s why they’re still here, but it’s nice to see something new,” Lully said. “[We’re bringing to] Brunswick a little of that ‘Portland feel.’ You know, it’s funny, we used to say we wanted to give Portland the ‘Boston feel,’ and now Portland has its own moniker.”
What, exactly is that ‘Portland feel’?
Lully believes that now more than ever people are seeking out more focused dining experiences.
“I think the [restaurants] that have been here for a long time needed to do what they needed to do 20 years ago. Now it’s about focus, honing in and giving people something that they want … something that’s focused. Just picking one or two products and really just putting the best foot forward on those,” Lully said.
The menu features modern takes on dishes from burgers and beef carpaccio to freshly shucked oysters. Head Chef Tony Pastor refreshes the familiar flavors of the classic American Steakhouse with homemade sauces, seasonal vegetables and diverse cooking methods.
The restaurant makes an effort to use only simple, local ingredients to create its concise menu. It sources its oysters from Mere Point Oyster Company, its produce from Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport and its steak from Caldwell Farm—only an hour away—in Turner, Maine.
In addition to the menu’s modern reinventions of classics, the restaurant keeps its offerings narrowed with a “non-threatening” wine list. Without fancy cocktails and dishes, Lully promises a “local, comfortable, casual, great quality” dining experience. The 38-seat dining space offers a new dining option for family dinners, date nights or any night out.
The restaurant strives to carve out an accepting and accessible space. Families can come and enjoy their evenings, couples can celebrate their anniversaries and no one should feel unwelcome when they walk through the front door on Maine Street.
“We’re hoping that everybody’s going to come and have fun. I mean, it’s good food, but not fancy,” Lully said. “I think when you walk in … the big high ceilings, the natural wood floors, it has more of that kind of city bistro feel where you get great food, but you can come dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt if you want to. It fits whatever you need. We just want to feed people and make them happy.”
Lully hopes the restaurant will become a space that reflects her team’s enthusiasm for their new creative and culinary venture.
“All four of us really, really love what we do. From the wines, to sourcing the local produce, to the steaks oysters, everything that comes out of the kitchen is sent with love and care because we really, really at the end of the day, like what we do for a living,” Lully said.
Maine St. Steak and Oyster is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday.