It’s simple, really. If you want to impress a business client, a date or your in-laws, you can’t go wrong with the Falls.

The restaurant at Great Falls Plaza in Auburn is upscale. You will be greeted by a suited man at the door. The decor is elegant and the menu short and to the point. This is a place for filet mignon, stuffed lamb loin and pan seared salmon, not a David Ortiz burger and all the fries you can eat.

The Falls is upscale yes, but it is not cloying and that’s an important distinction to make. You walk through the door, are seated and begin eating without the sort of social panic that makes you worry about your every move. Did you use the wrong fork for the salad? Did you pronounce bruschetta correctly? Is nodding to a diner at another table a major faux pas that might get you scratched from the social calendar?

Some upscale restaurants try so hard to achieve that status, they forget the basics: good food and making their patrons comfortable. The Falls did not forget. The portions are by no means small, as you will find at some upper-lever restaurants, and the prices are not sell-the-farm outrageous.

Credit for that may be due to the fact that the business was launched by Greg Hird and his family, who have decades of experience in the restaurant business through the wildly popular Chick-A-Dee in Turner.

So, yes, The Falls is the way to go upscale. It is a great way to impress that new lass you’ve been wooing or that hot shot writer you’re trying to lure into a contract. It’s also a great place to take the family if you want to show them that not all restaurants have moose heads on the walls and a wait staff that will sing for 30 damn people who are celebrating birthdays while you’re there.

And here let me point out that I am not wooing the great eating machine Randy Baril nor am I trying to sucker him into signing on a dotted line. I brought the Monster of Mealing to this fine new establishment just to see how the two of us would take to the Epicurean settings, given each of us are accustomed to eating with both hands, directly out of the pan, standing over the stove.

Our culture shock was apparent at once.

“Hey look,” I said to Randy, pointing at the menu. “Poached chicken breast. You love chicken.”

“Can’t do it,” he said. “I have chicken in the car.”

He wasn’t kidding. Randy is so dedicated to the art of filling his stomach, he keeps a backup of grub at all times. In the parking lot, waiting in the back seat, was a tub of chicken legs he’d barbecued at home.

For me it was a no-brainer. At $25, the filet mignon is the most expensive item on the menu. But it’s filet mignon, and if I left the restaurant without ordering it, I might have to step in front of a bus on Turner Street.

Randy was having more difficulty.

“You know?” he said. “I really wish the menu had pictures on it. I like to see what I’m going to be eating.”

I probably don’t have to tell you there are no pictures on the menu at The Falls. Once we were beyond that barrier, our experience was quite enjoyable, though there were issues.

Randy got the roasted pork tenderloin, which he declared quite delicious. However, the meat was seated on a form of food neither of us had seen before. It troubled him deeply in between giant mouthfuls of pork. Occasionally he would poke it with his fork, but no clues ever emerged.

It took us a full day and both our wives to learn that the mystery substance was spoon bread and that Randy and I were both close-minded yokels for not trying something new.

One final problem arose in the form of a long, green item on Randy’s plate.

“I like peas,” he declared after ripping it apart, “but not in the pod.”

The filet mignon was — I hesitate to use a word that has become trite from overuse — divine. Cooked just right and no sissy portion. If the steak had been too small, I would have hated it no matter how good it taste. But it was both delicious and ample, and so all was right in the world of meat.

The total bill: around $60 with a shrimp cocktail at the start and the tip at the end. Not bad for fancy eating.

So yes, it’s simple. If you and your beer buddies are heading out to strap on the feedbag and swill a few pitchers, find a Hooters. If you want a little ambiance and food that is prepared and delivered like artwork, you can’t miss at The Falls.

Filet medallions prepared with red wine sauce, carrots and button mushrooms, by The Falls Restaurant in Auburn.

The Falls Restaurant

  • Where: 2 Great Falls Plaza, Auburn
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Contact: 207-330-3255 and http://www.thefallsla.com/

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