Award-winning Lehigh Valley chef comes to Water’s Edge Restaurant and Bar

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 10:30am

Water’s Edge Restaurant and Bar in Edgecomb is open for the season and Chef Michael Adams is offering up a menu bridging fresh Maine surf and turf and the gastropub setting. After two successful pop-up restaurant events – one for Gardens Aglow, the other for Valentine’s Day – owners Scott Larson and Bruce Harris decided to open the restaurant full time and put its kitchen in Adams’ hands.

“We’re excited that we have found a candidate like Chef Michael Adams to help establish another year-round restaurant and bar in the Midcoast region,” said Scott Larson. “Opening full-time allows us to service our local community for lunch, happy hour, and dinner. Water’s Edge will still be available for business meetings, parties, and special events as well as catering services.”

Adams hopes the menu will tantalize guests, and be ever-changing. “That's something I definitely see happening. The idea was keeping it simple and gastropub fare and I think it’s going to continue to evolve.”

Midcoast Hospitality Group Vice President of Marketing Erin Stodder said, “Water’s Edge is the perfect spot for a beautiful sunset meal and Chef Adams’ dishes complement the venue absolutely. The restaurant has been overhauled inside and is set to seat 75 guests in a variety of settings. It overlooks the Sheepscot River and we're so fortunate because this spot has a sunset almost every night … and the sunsets here are fabulous. It's a really nice and relaxing atmosphere to come hang and chill.”

“We plan to open the rooftop deck in the coming weeks and hope that locals will come to catch a spectacular sunset over the Sheepscot River, while relaxing with family and friends over delicious food, and drink ... Adams is a very talented chef and eager to put his stamp on Water’s Edge,” said Harris.

Stodder and Adams said standouts on the menu include the Pemaquid mussels, shrimp tacos, lobster risotto cakes and seared skirt steak. “They’re the best shrimp tacos I’ve ever had. Hands down. Seriously.”

Other items include oysters with ginger rhubarb mignonette, Bavarian softer pretzel with grain mustard and Allagash White and brie fondu, and poutine with brie, cheese curds, bacon balsamic sauce and chives – and those are just the starters. Most recently, the restaurant saw success with a salmon tartare dish with cucumber and marinated jalapeno for last week's special and fillet mignon this week.

Adams said he is still getting to know the local farms, fishermen and purveyors, to keep the menu authentic to Maine and the Sheepscot region much like he has done with his past farm-to-table-style menus. “My cooking philosophy is to source locally. You really don't have to do a whole lot when the food is fresh. But I'm still kind of learning the lay of the land, so I'm excited about all the fresh seafood that's available.”

Adams worked mostly in Lehigh Valley with stints in Philadelphia since graduating from Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1991. After working in a series of country clubs, he opened his own restaurant – The Farmhouse in Emmaus, Pennsylvania – and ran its kitchen for 10 years. Most recently, he led Historic Hotel Bethlehem's kitchen for the past seven years.

While at The Farmhouse, Adams kept a strict farm-to-table dining experience. “We brought our own hogs in and made our own prosciutto, pancetta, pate and different cuts … We didn't have tomatoes on the menu if it wasn't in season, so it was true farm-to-table. You didn't see ingredients on the menu that weren't available locally.”

Adams’ honors include the Pennsylvania Preferred Best Chef of 2007, its first year, and a nomination for James Beard Foundation's Best Mid-Atlantic Chef Award in 2008. His win as Preferred Best Chef pitted him against Georges Perrier’s chefs from Le Bec-Fin. “Georges Perrier kind of brought French cuisine to the city in the early 80s. He involved many restaurants (at the competition) and I just did it for fun, I didn't do it because I'm competitive by nature or anything like that. I just thought, 'This would be cool.' That was fun. That was a trip for sure.”

Adams said his journey to Midcoast Maine started in 2018 when a particularly busy graduation and Mother’s Day weekend prompted him to tell his wife to go out and treat herself to a weekend away. She chose Camden. Walking around downtown, she was taken by a picture of a house in a real estate broker's window and went to look at the home. “Two days later we made an offer and 90 days later we had a home here.”

The plan was to be in the area sooner, but the pandemic threw everything off, said Adams. In the meantime, the opportunity at Water's Edge came up and Adams said it was finally time to make the move to Maine. Now, Adams is most excited for guests to come to Water’s Edge and find a favorite on the menu.

“There's definitely room for more creative growth and for keeping everyone interested and a little excited when you change things up a little bit. If you want to give it a title, we'll call it culinary Darwinism. We'll see where it takes us.”

Stodder said Adams will enter Windjammer Days’ Crab Cake Cookoff, set for 1 p.m. June 28.

Water’s Edge is open noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Monday for the next few weeks before opening up seven days a week, when happy hour will go from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.