Dinner and a Show: Opal’s Open-Concept Chef Bars
- Eat and Drink
- Delray Sands Resort
- Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina
- Samoset Resort
- Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
- Opal Sands Resort
These five Opal resorts’ open-concept kitchens transform an ordinary culinary experience into an engaging show.
As people have become more interested in where their food comes from and how it’s prepared, the open-concept kitchen has become a popular way for full-service restaurants to showcase the freshness of their ingredients, as well as the skill of their chefs. Opal resorts’ own restaurants have long been employing their own twist on open-concept kitchens – what they refer to as chef bars – ever since they first installed a stone hearth oven right in the dining room at the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina in Bar Harbor, Maine, 10 years ago.
Since then, many more chef bars have come along – at Delray Sands Resort, Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, Opal Sands Resort, and Samoset Resort – to not just feed, but entertain and inform guests in a fun, multisensory way, kind of like a show. So which chef bar “show” should you be sure to include in your next Opal resort visit? We outline a few.
Latitudes [Delray Sands]
The open-concept kitchen at this ocean-inspired restaurant comes through in the large L-shaped raw bar, where a smorgasbord of shellfish, local stone crabs, oysters, jumbo shrimp, Alaskan king crab, lobster, and more all sit before you on ice and behind glass. If you’re not sure you can handle the shellfish tower, you can also order off the menu à la carte, so you can pick, say, a few shrimp, a couple of oysters, and one stone crab claw, then watch the chef shuck and prep it all in front of you.
Sea-Guini [Opal Sands]
This coastal-inspired restaurant’s horseshoe-shaped bar curves around one central brick pizza oven and a pizza- and pasta-making station, where patrons can watch chefs throw dough, plate dishes, and crank out all kinds of freshly prepared pasta, like bucatini, rigatoni, and capellini, and even hand-rolled gnocchi. For pizza, we suggest the Tuscan with sweet fennel sausage, meatballs, fontina, and mozzarella over spicy tomato sauce; for pasta, go for the Spaghetti Ali Olio, spaghetti tossed with toasted garlic chips, sweet field tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, baby spinach, and topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.
Enoteca Lounge [Samoset Resort]
This urban wine bar, styled with the same rustic Italian charm as the resort’s other on-site restaurant, La Bella Vita, is home to an antipasto bar, where guests can watch chefs prepare appetizers and pizzas. Backed by a brick oven, the obvious draw is watching chefs toss pizza dough, but you can also expect to see them preparing meats and cheeses for the various salami boards, as well as roasting olives, portobello mushrooms, and peppers in the oven.
Drift Kitchen + Bar [Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa]
There are actually two chef bar experiences offered in this Italian restaurant. Upon entering, the first one you will see is the spirit-mixing room, located behind the marble-top L-shaped bar and, essentially, a small room made entirely of glass, so guests can watch the bartenders prep and experiment with different kinds of cocktail infusions, syrups, shrubs, garnishes, and more. Next is the “pastificio” (or pasta studio), another glass room located around the corner from the bar, where chefs make all their pasta from scratch and hang it on wooden racks. It’s also where you can watch them work the old-fashioned prosciutto slicer to thinly slice all cured and aged meats featured in Drift’s popular curated charcuterie boards.
La Bella Vita [Harborside Hotel, Spa, & Marina]
The sounds of dicing and chopping in this rustic Italian restaurant can often be attributed to the popular bruschetta dishes being prepared in front of guests at the far end of the bar, which also features a towering stone oven hearth. If you’re in the mood to watch them make pizza, but want to do Maine right, go for the lobster pizza. Instead of tomato sauce, the pizza is made with lobster cream sauce.