The beef that was for dinner at The Well at Jordan’s Farm. photo/Figgy DiBenedetto
The Well at Jordan’s Farm
21 Wells Rd., Cape Elizabeth
How weird did your social skills get during lockdown? Mine were definitely weird to begin with, and the last few years have made them even more awkward. Large, loud crowds leave me exhausted and I often yearn for more intimate settings — settings that are organically beautiful, sounds from nature, and tastes that connect me to this awesome planet we’re simultaneously stewarding and ruining. A recent dinner at The Well at Jordan’s Farm hit all three of those marks while reminding me that our time here is fleeting.
Established in Cape Elizabeth over a decade ago, The Well was a forerunner of the “bubble” or “pod” dining that became so popular during the height of the pandemic. Wood gazeboes are nestled amid a working produce and flower farm, where groups of up to 12 can share Chef Jason Williams’ authentic farm-to-table delights.
The Well offers a five-course chef’s tasting menu for $85 per person, and family-style options for larger groups at $75 per diner. Our group of four was delighted not to have to choose from any options; we simply informed the restaurant of any dietary restrictions in advance. Our (bug free!) gazebo had a wooden table dressed simply with a jar of farm flowers, and it included a Bluetooth speaker playing our own music.
With the sun just beginning to sink into the wooded horizon and a light mist blurring the fields of flowers, we settled in for what was already a memorable evening. A rustic loaf of homemade bread, fresh butter, and an amuse-bouche of smoked chicken gently rocked our palates awake, and away we went on our gustatory journey.
The first course: freshly dug (and peeled!) asparagus, grilled and served with olive oil, wilted greens, aioli, and a dusting of chili pepper. Our bread made another appearance as we swiped up any trails left behind on the plates.
Next was the fish course: halibut, perfectly seared and slow roasted to buttery perfection, served with roasted broccolini and frizzled leeks. A reminder that sometimes less is more.
Which brings us to the pasta course of pillowy goat cheese–filled ravioli, melted plum tomatoes and sautéed greens. The pasta lover I am wanted more carbs, less veg, but my intimate knowledge of ravioli prep reminded me to appreciate the work that went into them. Italian nonnas just make it look easy.
Beef. It was what’s next for dinner. A hefty block of grass-fed sirloin sat upon a tangle of Swiss chard, wild mushrooms, and farro. My primordial instincts sawed it apart immediately. Meat good. I was sated.
But wait — dessert! I have honestly been replaying my first bite of this for weeks. The fluff-fluffiest little bombolone (Italian donut), still warm from the fryer, with a delicate scoop of vanilla gelato and fresh rhubarb compote. No further frills needed.
The farm, the fog, the food, the friends — we were enraptured. Then our phones suddenly broke the spell, alerting us that the former President of the United States was being indicted. This on the heels of Pat Robertson no longer being able to spew his vitriol against the LGBTQ community. We were thrust back to reality, but damn, it was a really good break, and a really good meal. As my favorite ’80s television show reminds us, “You take the good / you take the bad / you take them both / and there you have / the facts of life.”
Now back to our regularly scheduled program that is life. Enjoy the ride, but bring snacks.
The Well is open Wednesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Sept. 30. Reservations required.