March 2, 2023

Rosella KPT Preview Dinner

Rosella KPT, a sustainable sushi restaurant, is opening in Kennebunk's Lower Village this Memorial Day. This will be the second location of the restaurant—Rosella is located in New York's East Village and is known for serving local seafood, like steelhead trout raised in the Hudson Valley and South Carolina-caught shrimp. The chefs' unique approach to sushi was featured in Bon Appetit's "Can Restaurants Reinvent 'Sustainable Sushi'?" in April 2022. 

The Maine location of Rosella will be in the Kennebunkport Resort Collection's Grant Hotel, which is just next to Batson River. Last weekend, I attended a preview dinner for the new restaurant at Ocean at Cape Arundel Inn, out near Walkers Point. We were seated early enough by the windows of the inn to see the beautiful sunset over the ocean (which is now at 5:30 p.m.!). 

I was excited to meet one of the restaurant's owners, TJ Provenzano, who delivered many of the courses, perpared by Rosella KPT chef Matt Kramer and Ocean chef Peter Rudolph. The menu was a collaboration between the two, but several of the dishes were of the sort that will be served at Rosella KPT. 

We started the meal with wine and these adorable oyster shooters from Mere Point in Brunswick, served over a fish sauce granita with blood oranges. The bites were so salty and delicious and now I can't stop thinking about serving my next batch of freshly-shucked oysters with fish sauce. 

The sashimi course was a great chance to learn about Rosella's approach to sourcing—this is where I learned about the steelhead trout sourced from a farm in the Hudson Valley. Steelhead trout was new to me; you can tell from the look of it that it's a lot like salmon. 

I was surprised to hear that the bluefin tuna was aged. Apparently just like you would dry age beef, letting the fish rest in a temperature controlled environment for up to a week can mellow and change the flavors. So the freshest fish doesn't always make for the best sushi! 

The ceviche was made from Nantucket bay scallops, which were nice to try. In Maine, we're used to sea scallops, but the bay version are smaller and sweeter. The coconut broth with herbs, lime, and crunchy corn nuts was a delicious complement. 

This course was paired with an orange wine. Apparently Rosella's New York location is really into orange wine and only served wines produced domestically. In Kennebunkport, they'll still have a thoughtful wine collection, but it won't be exclusively US producers. 

The meal was 10 courses (!!) but we'll just stick to some highlights from here on out. 

The Maine scallop rollup was several scallops wrapped in phyllo and tasted like a highbrow fried scallop from a lobster shack. 

The fish head paitan ramen takes its name from the broth, typically made with chicken bones and other parts, but in this case, using the heads of fish that would otherwise be tossed. It was a light but full broth, with bouncy noodles and maitake mushrooms. And of course, the perfectly cooked, jammy soy egg. 

One of the desserts was a coconut sorbet with basil oil and sea salt—a flavorful sendoff for a fantastic meal. I'm now so looking forward to Kennebunkport's first sushi restaurant, and a sustainable one at that, when it opens this summer. 

Rosella KPT | 1 Chase Hill Road, Kennebunk | (207) 967-6540