New England Stage: In Good Company – Rockland

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This is my last stage in New England. Owen, the GM at Moxy, mentioned that he had an aunt in Rockland, ME who owned a restaurant and was an accomplished CIA grad. Upon hearing that, I decided to leave in the early morning from my stay in Glover, VT, and make the nearly five-hour trek up to Maine.

 

I had never been to Rockland, but I imagined it would be a nice touristy coastal New England town. It was. It has a nice view of the water and the boats. I got lucky as it was a super nice day out, and I spent about a half hour hanging around, people watching.

 

My stage started at two, so I headed straight into the busy downtown section where In Good Company (IGC) was located and just walked right in. I was instantly greeted by the Chef/Owner, Melody Wolfertz, a 1988 graduate of the CIA. She has worked all over the country and decided to open her own restaurant, In Good Company, in 2004. The interior is super relaxed and casual. Melody mentioned that she wanted to have a place where guests could feel at home, at ease, and just have a good night out with friends.

 

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 Feel at home at In Good Company

 

The building was once an old bank, and the kitchen is in what was once one of the vaults. It’s a tight space using portable gas burners, but it was quite cozy in my opinion. I jumped right in to help and cut some bread, marinate steaks, and sliced flat broad beans that were to be used in a salad later that night.

 

The great thing about New England is the availability of local seafood in the area. It’s something that I sorely missed when I was working around in Pittsburgh, and to be able to see fresh fish, especially something like this yellowfin tuna that came in that morning, was pretty great.

 

Melody took the time to explain to me that one of her goals was to serve food that was simple, but done well and with a purpose. None of her menu items were over thirty dollars, and she explained that if a kid wanted to come in and get something, then they could easily do just that. Her menu offers a few small bites for only a couple of dollars, and no matter what one orders they still receive quality service in an always welcoming atmosphere. There’s a reason why this place has been open for well over ten years.

 

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Melody hard at work

 

Service started around 4:30, with a few people coming in for drinks and small bites right away.

As previously mentioned, there are quite a few small dishes on the menu. This plate was simply watermelon radish with a pat of butter and sea salt.

 

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Beautiful watermelon radish

 

A big hit were the deviled eggs, seasoned with smoked paprika.

 

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Deviled eggs anyone?

 

IGC also features an ever-changing list of meat and cheese boards, brought in from farms and charcuterie shops from right down the street. The wine list is pretty comprehensive, so eating a bunch of cheese and drinking a bunch of good wine is pretty much a perfect night, at least for me.

 

The bigger entrees coming out looked really good, too. Earlier, Melody had made ribs that had been simmering for hours and hours. These were served with a potato salad, and a really good BBQ sauce that had a lot of heat to it. I kept sneaking over to grab that sauce, it was that good.

 

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Ribs and hot sauce! Yum!

 

Seafood was in abundance that night. Orders for halibut, tuna, and salmon kept coming in, and the plates were tight. I ate the tuna for dinner, and the kimchi butter on top was really an interesting finishing touch.

 

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Delicious seafood

 

For risotto fans, the beet risotto was not only colorful, but delicious as well. I wanted to eat all’onda it. (I’m so sorry).

 

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Beet risotto

 

It was fun to watch the kitchen do its thing, especially in such tight quarters. I could only imagine how hectic it would get while trying to plate a ten-top with only two burners. Pretty crazy.

 

Dessert changes frequently, and there was a cardamom crème brûlée on the menu that night. There was also another crowd-favorite, the flourless chocolate cake. I don’t think there’s anything that’s much better than a dense slab of chocolate to finish off a meal. The whipped cream and sauce are perfect to cut through the heaviness of the meal, and it’s a classic for a reason.

 

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Crème brûlée 

 

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Flourless chocolate cake

 

Thank you Melody and team for having me in! I’ll be back again soon.

Thanks to Owen for setting it up!

 

Dan Salisbury

Dan Salisbury

Dan Salisbury is a current BPS student in Applied Food Studies. He has been washing dishes and cooking in professional kitchens since he was fifteen, and graduated from the Culinary Arts AOS Program in April 2016. Dan grew up just south of Boston, MA, and lives with his family in Pittsburgh, PA when off from school.An avid fan of Cormac McCarthy, staging around in restaurants, and eating a lot, he is always working on various projects and stories to integrate his serious love of food and writing.
Dan Salisbury