Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

skeeter

Portland ME Restaurants

Recommended Posts

For the record, he would have made anything you liked depending on his mise.

And for what it's worth, I used to sell flats of gorgeous black trumpets to in-the-know restaurants... in October. There's treasure up here, damn you! What are you waiting for?? :angry::wink:

Had a taste of some duck prosciutto at Evangeline y'day. These guys are doing all kinds of interesting charcuterie. Stay tuned.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Portland, Duckfat is really one-of-a and a fine one-of-a. We cruised in (as usual), on a Saturday just before noon (as usual), easily found a parking place (as usual), and entered to queue in not a bad line (as usual). One of the specials that day was a BBQ pulled pork panino and that really spoke to me along with a tardively-ordered small Belgian frites order with red pepper infused mayonnaise; Colette preferred a beet salad and communicated by wait-talk to also obtain a piece of flat bread (really foccacio). All were quite special (as usual); what is not usual is their (usual) reasonably priced wine ($10 for the half bottle.) $39.86 was our total bill before tip with two half-bottles of wine.

On the other hand, Walter’s, disappointed us this year. We loved the chorizo and clam chowder, loved is too mild a word - it was terrific. But I had the bistro fish special which that day was mahi-mahi that was characterless as were the accompanying frites. And Colette thought her peeky toe sandwich was missing the promised “avocado cream” and candied jalapeño, making it kinda unexciting. With two glasses of wine the bill was $47.08 before tip.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally went to Portland Lobster Co on 180 Commercial St. Amazing how such a little kitchen handles such a tiny sliver of real estate on that downtown wharf considering the crush of people there last night.

We were 10 adults and 4 children. It is strictly clam-shack style where you order, wait and pick-up trays of fried food or lobsters with condiments in little 1oz cups.

All in all, it was pretty good. I had a Maine Lobster Dinner, 1&1/2lb with fries, coleslaw & lemon (market$: US$27.95) Add steamers and corn for another 7 or so bucks. Others at the table pronounced their lobster rolls and Fisherman's Platters satisfactory. Fries were very good. Fried onion rings had an herb in the batter which was nice.

Beer and Wine flowed freely with three bar keeps - all popular local beer brands were represented. There is no wait service, just a bus boy and gal. There appears to be live music every night.

I'd say these folks are doing a whopping business.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael Bauer, executive food editor and restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, visited Portland recently and wrote "Right at Home in the Other Portland" Included in the article were Fore Street, Hugo's, Evangeline, Emilitsa, Rabelais Booksand Standard Baking for special mention.

Rob Evan's Duckfat also got a write-up.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a serious visit to yum-town on Monday. We went to Miyake with friends and shared some plates. Working at Hugo's, I consider myself a bit of a pork belly expert, but man, the pork belly there is exceptional, all rolled up like pancetta, sliced thin and crispy. Highlights also included house-cured salmon roe, flounder fin sashimi, monkfish liver (a perennial favorite of mine). Every time we go there I spend days reminiscing about each dish and saving up in the sushi envelope for my next visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to the folks at Maine Food & Lifestyle for pointing out the Top 10 Food Trends for 2009 at Epicurious.com.

8.    Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon) Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check, and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, and Fore Street to start.

I've been meaning to visit for some time now, but decided this was the week to experience what is going on in Portland.

I have reservations at Five Fifty-Five Wednesday evening. Also planning on stopping by Duck Fat, Fore Street, Hugo's, and Evangilene. Not sure how much food I can fit into two days, but I'll do my best.

Add lots of shopping and exploration, and it should amount up to a good time. Aside from the food, I especially need some new threads for my trip to Napa & San Francisco in February!


Edited by zeph74 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at 110 Exchange Street will be vacating the premesis soon and be replaced by a food-related enterprise.  All I can say at this point is that funding has been realized and a lease has been signed.

All those lovely windows...

Aww johnnyd, you are such a tease! Nothing else you can reveal? Anyone we would know or are familiar with behind this new enterprise?

Yup!

Nope!

Maybe... But I will seek permission and post as soon as I can even if it gets out before then. I still don't know whether it's service, retail or something else.

According to sources close to the new tenant, this space will become a restaurant.

The prospective tenant (actually the building's new owner) has abandoned their plan for the first floor restaurant, and has leased it to another party who is also planning a restaurant. Check back in six months for the next update. :hmmm:

Thanks for thinking of us with the update! There are so many new ventures to look forward to. I'm excited to check out each and every one of them!

This space, formerly The Salt Institute at 110 Exchange St, will be home to another Harding Lee Smith restaurant called "The Corner Room". The following from The Bollard news page:

Chef Harding Lee Smith, proprietor of The Front Room on Munjoy Hill and The Grill Room on Exchange Street, is readying to open The Corner Room in the first floor of the upper Exchange Street building formerly occupied by the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Smith said the new eatery will serve Italian-inspired cuisine.

Further reading shows a second Italian-inspired restaurant, called Luna Rossa, will be opening in the space left vacant by The Pavillion at 188 Middle St,

A few blocks away on Middle Street, former Prost/Onyx proprietor Ryan Byther is preparing to open Luna Rossa in the space best known as the former home of The Pavilion. The restaurant will occupy the right-hand side of the first floor and the entire mezzanine level, where Byther plans to offer low-key entertainment, like dueling pianos.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any Restaurant Week reports out there? I've seen surprising little in the blogs so far - Back Bay Grill, Pepperclub... that's all I recall off hand. I plan to get out for one meal (thanks to a courageous babysitter - dinner without our wee-one is a BIG deal!)

I hope its going well. This could be a really good thing for Portland (and Maine) in years to come.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We enjoyed a RWME meal last Wednesday at the Blue Spoon. We were able to choose from almost anything on the menu (the burger and the pot pie were excluded) and able to choose three out of four possible courses for the set price (or pay full price for a fourth). I found the meze appetizer alone to be almost enough for a meal, but our entrees (a seafood stew and roast chicken) were so good, we finished every bite. Unfortunately they had run out of two out of three of the desserts (by 6:30pm) but the available squash muffin was tasty.

On Saturday we opted for the lounge menu at 555. The place was jam-packed and bustling. Delicious meal - we tried 2/3 of the RW menu and enjoyed every bite, especially the exquisite roast chicken.

Sunday we checked out the Food Film collaboration held at One Longfellow Square. Dinner was prepared by Pacciaro (sp?) - their pasta is fantastic and tonight was served with a spicy tomato sauce containing bits of eggplant, olives and capers. I think they called it Nonna's Pasta. While we ate, we enjoyed several short films including a "career choice" movie that I recall from school and some funny animated bits. The feature film ("Big Night") followed the meal and the evening concluded over yummy tiramisu. Fun and relaxing night out.

We were a bit peckish after the film so stopped for a slice at Bonobo. They are offering a good deal - choice of soup/salad, one of three pizzas, and choice of several desserts for $20.09 - we might make it in for a full meal.

Very much enjoying RWME - thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, my husband and I have good timing! We went to Hugos on May 2... just days before chef Rob Evans won the James Beard award for best chef in the Northeast!

We were visiting from Boston, and during our trip we also went to Maine Diner (on our way up), Fore Street, Duckfat, Gilberts Chowder House, Gritty McDuffs, Inn on Peaks Island, Standard Baking, Two Fat Cats Bakery, breakfast at Porthole and Becky's... and a few others. I am still craving more Duckfat fries... [drool].

We never found a good lobster roll place though (we were at the Maine Diner for breakfast) so we had to satisfy our craving at the Clam Box in Ipswich back in MA!


Edited by fischwlu (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a damn fine tour - and great timing: Hugo's is booked solid according to this article in today's local paper.

The article also lists some new restaurants opening soon:

Chef Jeff Landry recently opened the Farmers Table on Commercial Street. El Rayo Taqueria, a new Mexican place created by chef Cheryl Lewis, is set to open this month on York Street. Eric Simeon will be the executive chef at Grace, a soon-to-be-opened restaurant in a remodeled 19th-century church on Chestnut Street. Chef Harding Lee Smith is working on his third Portland restaurant, the Corner Room, a rustic Italian-inspired place on the corner of Exchange and Federal streets.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Willard Scoops - a new ice cream shoppe in Willard Square has been open a couple weeks now. This from The South Portlander:

Willard Scoops has started doing business in Willard Square, offering ice cream made and shipped from a Mount Desert Island farm. The ice cream is sold in cones. Willard Scoops plans to soon offer fruit smoothies, agave-sweetened ice cream and gluten-free cones to its menu. The shop is owned by Paul Leddy and his wife.

Word in the neighborhood is that this is some serious stuff. I live nearby and can't get excited about Beal's or Red's anymore, so this news is welcome as summer slowly unfolds.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Visiting Portland this week and we're overwhelmed by the great restaurants. We hail from rural PA with little to brag about beyond shoo-fly pie. Tonight we're heading South to Arrows and my brother suggested Hugo's. Anything else we should not miss?

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Visiting Portland this week and we're overwhelmed by the great restaurants.  We hail from rural PA with little to brag about beyond shoo-fly pie.  Tonight we're heading South to Arrows and my brother suggested Hugo's.  Anything else we should not miss?

Thanks in advance.

Depends on what you are after. I would go for local seafood personally, but that's me. The following places focus on local seafood, meats and produce.

Evangeline is a highly regarded French bistro on Longfellow square.

Fore Street Restaurant is a favorite of mine. The open kitchen is bustling and the service is 1st rate.

555 on Congress Street has impressed many as perhaps Portland's best.

Local 188 is a bit more casual and has a diverse menu (see link). I was chatting with chef/owner Jay this morning and he was braising something delicious in the back.

Hugos is not just a meal it's an experience.

Portland is indeed becoming a destination for people who take their eating seriously. To help sort it all out, an enterprising software developer has arranged everything nicely using google technology, including a complete inventory of critic's reviews. Go to Portland Food Map .com and click the map on the right.

Bon Apetit


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our trip so far:

Upon our arrival, we were tired from driving and just checked out the area. Found Bayley's in Scarborough (We're staying at a dog friendly motel in Scarborough) and pigged out. We really enjoyed the lobster rolls and fried clams. We apparently showed up shortly after closing, but the staff took our orders and served us with a smile, never letting on that we were there after closing. I only found out when they started cleaning up... They earned an extra tip for that :)

For lunch Thursday, we went to Gilbert's Chowder House in Portland. Really enjoyed the lobster stew my wife and I shared. She ordered the mussels which she said were done perfectly. I had the "fish and chips" special. That was ok, but probably not the best choice. We'd gladly return.

Thursday was our anniversary and I had reservations for Arrows. The restaurant was beautiful and very much to our tastes. Despite the pouring down rain, we had window seats and thoroughly enjoyed looking out onto the gardens. The food, well.... was another thing. Nothing bad, but nothing exceptional like we expected, either. We opted for the 5 course garden chef's choice. We started out with a fish plate which was fair at best (IMHO). The smoked salmon was dry and somewhat salty, the salt cod was... well... salty, the caviar did nothing for me... Next was a garden salad, with some nice greens, but the dressing did not enhance the segregated greens. It was a mustard vinaigrette that seemed to bring out the bitterness in the greens. The main was next with a lobster "cocktail" in a house made mayo. The lobster was tender, and sweet as it should be, the mayo ok, but nothing to say this was stellar restaurant. There was also a small portion of a rib eye steak "au poive" but I couldn't taste or see any peppercorns and there was a distinct smoke flavor reminiscent of bacon, although we had advised our waiter we didn't want any pork products. This was followed a cheese course that was nothing different or spectacular, and the dessert was three scoops of home made ice creams (vanilla, chocolate, and caramel). Ice cream was a decent quality, but I can get ice cream at any restaurant. That said, my wife really enjoyed the house red wine.

Friday lunch we hit Duck Fat in Portland. I had the tongue panini and my wife had the duck confit panini. We thought both were somewhat skimpy, but tasty. We also shared the french fries cooked in duck fat, which we enjoyed, but didn't think they were as special as the press would lead one to think. They were good fries, not exceptional.

Friday night we took a breather and ate in our room. During the day we made a whirlwind tour stopping at Whole Foods ( a very nice version, bigger than most we've seen) picking up various fruits for a fruit and cheese plate. We passed by their beautiful cheese display as we planned on stopping at the Cheese Iron. We're sorry we did. The staff at the Cheese Iron was very nice and helpful, but they simply didn't have the variety of cheeses we expected from a cheese specialty shop. We would have done much better at Whole Foods. None the less we had a nice meal in our room with a bottle of red wine.

Saturday lunch we tried out J's Oyster Bar on the suggestion of a friend. Another big disappointment. We shared an order of the baked stuffed oysters, which was supposed to have a lobster stuffing. We didn't see or taste a hint of lobster; just an oyster topped with a bunch of dry stuffing. My wife had a lobster salad plate and I the crab. She felt the lobster was "ok" but was mostly knuckles with once small claw. My crab was the worst I ever had; a stringy substance that reminded me of crumbled shredded wheat, except shredded wheat has more flavor.

We made up for that Saturday night by going to Miyake and enjoyed the Omakase II. Outstanding. Everything was perfect. I expressed my low tolerance for spicy (hot) foods, and they bent over backwards to make sure everything was within my limits. We live in a sushi challenged part of Pennsylvania, and Miyake was quite the delight. A definite on our next trip to Portland (maybe another visit this trip).

For lunch today we went to Flatbread and had a great pizza. Good brick oven pizza.

Tonight we're off to Fore Street, and tomorrow we hope to go to Evangelene's on Monday.... If we stay longer, hoping to hit Hugo's yet :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful report - Thank You UC.

Forgot to tell you about Miyake - 1st class sushi. Forgot to tell you about J's Oyster too - a pub-style hangout. Good thing you saved yourself from the oysters, I've never had a good oyster there.

No surprises elsewhere - Arrows is over-hyped but it could have been a bad day. Evangeline does a prix-fixe meal on Mondays - did you make it to both there and Fore St?


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Local 188 owner/chef Jay Villani has signed a lease on the space formerly occupied by O'Natural's at 83 Exchange Street. He plans to overhaul the kitchen and install a bar.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Johnnyd,

      are you familiar with this Pattisserie ?

    http://www.geospatisserie.com/

BTW, like your Portland Info(s)

Hey there, Stranger

I have not been in there but I know where it is. It's a damned fine website, I must say. I seem to remember seeing Chef Geo somewhere before...


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to drop a quick note about a fish they have had on the specials board at Yosaku. Its called Sanma, is from Japan and I understand its a Pacific saury (so says wikipedia.)

For those who really enjoy small, whole, grilled fish along the lines of sardines [@johnnyd...] this is a real treat. Seriously delicious!

I just called them and its still available. JohnnyD, I hope you have a chance to try this if you haven't already. You could do a much better job of describing the flavors.

Regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds great, Ellie. I love it when chef Tak finds something new. Remember the Tsubu Gai (sea conch sashimi) from this post? Awesome.

If I was a little more financially able, I would tour all the Portland sushi bars so everyone gets a fair shake. But I doubt I could top this visit to Miyake by the Portland Food Coma Posse back in April.

Speaking of sushi bar rumors, the Siam Restaurant on Fore Street appears closed and might possibly be hooking up with the aborted Wasabi Sushi place slated for 7 Exchange. But as usual I don't really know anything...

ETA: The New York Times' Julia Moskin writes about Portland restaurants on September 2. Watch this space.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam Hayward, of Fore Street Restaurant, was featured on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday:

Top Chef Cooks Up Ways to Cut Costs, Not Quality


Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sam Hayward, of Fore Street Restaurant, was featured on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday:

Top Chef Cooks Up Ways to Cut Costs, Not Quality

Also posted in New England Cooking & Baking forum here.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The October Bon Appetit magazine covers our waterfront,

Let's start by looking at those stellar ingredients—specifically, amazing seafood—that inspire the city's best cooks. Long before local, sustainable, and organic became industry buzzwords, Portland chefs were using native ingredients, from corn and fiddleheads to oysters and mussels, and, of course, lobsters. "Having the wealth of resources from farmers, fishermen, and artisans," says Abby Harmon, chef-owner at West End neighborhood favorite Caiola's, "Portland chefs are able to cook seasonally year-round."

"The Foodiest Small Town in America"

Writer Andrew Knowlton was among the guests at our most recent Deathmatch dinners back in April,

On an unseasonably warm Sunday evening in late April, 70 or so locals of Portland, Maine, allowed three guests "from away" (me, my wife, and our daughter) into an underground dinner party called Deathmatch. With a name like that, I didn't know what to expect. Lobster fighting? Blueberry wrestling? Deathmatch, as it turned out, is an invitation-only event at which several of Portland's talented chefs cook around a theme.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...