Reviews: Eaux

The Portland Phoenix has published a review of Eaux.

“Shrimp & City Grits” is a cheffed-up version of the iconic southern dish, complete with a semi-runny soft egg on top. These grits are the real deal, though, and while the shrimp could’ve used a bit more seasoning on this particular occasion, they paired beautifully with everything else happening on the plate to form a cohesive whole.

Reviews: Duckfat Frites Shack, Maine Lobster Shack, Blue Lobster Wine Co.

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Duckfat Frites Shack,

Frites are as expected (read: perfect), served alongside a chosen assortment of house-made sauces/aiolis and perfectly suited for pairing with Oxbow’s always impressive lineup of draft and bottled farmhouse ales. The real standouts thus far, however, have come in the form of dishes not exactly in line with Dutch and Flemish fare. Salmon belly poke—served with avocado, cilantro, sambal and crispy rice crackers—is the most delicate, viceral-grunt-inspiring dish you’ve ever eaten out of a paper tray. As battered birds go, chicken-fried quail is the “cleanest” imaginable in both taste and texture, destined for dipping in a lemon-sage mayo that lives up to its name and flanked by a piquant pile of fermented coleslaw.

The Press Herald has reviewed Blue Lobster Wine Co., and

Perfect location for a stop while strolling Anderson Street, especially if you’re an unpretentious wine lover who supports the concept of urban wineries.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Maine Lobster Shack.

I wouldn’t say that Maine Lobster Shack is the best at any one thing, but they performed well with everything we had. They seem to have a solid grasp on casual seaside fare and the Fore St. location really is a fun, central spot in the Old Port. Have beers and oysters outdoors, lobster rolls and fries indoors, or whatever combo of atmosphere and seafood you want. I think you’ll find a pleasant experience without any wanting for more when you’re through.

Bon Appetit: Neighborhood Restaurants

Bon Appétit has included The Purple House, Ten Ten Pié and Hot Suppa in their list of America’s Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants.

We asked 80 of the most interesting people we know—chefs, novelists, activists, comedians, NBA players, and more—to let us in on their most-trusted haunts, from a Tibetan dumpling stand in a grocery store in Columbus to a landlocked fish market in Tulsa. These are the spots we return to again and again, the places that make no claim to be the “newest” or the “trendiest,” and that’s precisely why we love them.

Reviews: The Front Room, Belleville, The Sinful Kitchen, Little Giant

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Front Room,

Comfort food is still the name of the game at The Front Room, the first of Harding Lee Smith’s “Room” restaurants. Open since late 2005, The Front Room continues to serve approachable, hearty dishes like chicken pot pie layered with a criminally flaky duck-fat pastry and house-cured salmon pastrami served on steamed brown bread. Not every dish works well, however.

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Little Giant,

A mushroom tartine, for example, is actually a toasted slice of good dark bread, schmeared with tart ricotta and piled high with meaty, dark, wild shiitake and a fried egg flopped on top. Around it all is a moat of thick honey spiced with red pepper, a bit of which brightens the rich flavor of the whole dish.

The Press Herald has reviewed Belleville, and

Belleville does three things, mostly, and it does them extraordinarily well: outrageously buttery, crackly laminated pastries; superb baguettes ($3) with heft and chew; and fat squares of inventively flavored and flavorful pizza (fig, rosemary and onion, for one; salami, for another). They offered a delicious-looking banh mi ($9) on a baguette one day and a meatball sub ($10) another.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed The Sinful Kitchen.

We thought it to be a great breakfast and with all the interesting items on the menu, I look forward to going back a bunch more and trying some of their other great options. It doesn’t matter whether you like sweet, savory, or spicy, The Sinful Kitchen has something that will certainly please you. I’m so glad I finally got to experience it for myself.

Reviews: Drifters Wife, Highroller Lobster

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Drifters Wife (4½ stars), and

Some of Jackson’s best dishes do make use of his new equipment, like a saffron-yellow, heritage-bred chicken, served with roasted parsnips and green garlic ($34). Cooked “al mattone” (under a brick), first in a smoking hot cast-iron pan on the stovetop, then crisped in the oven, the buttery half-chicken is golden-skinned, juicy and so terrifically addictive, it should come with a PSA.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Highroller Lobster Co., and

But the taste was flat, a mere simulacrum to the sweetness of fresh lobster.

Reviews: Benkay, Drifters, Back Bay Grill

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Benkay,

Open for the better part of 20 years in a tiny, nondescript storefront on lower India Street, the restaurant relocated in January to posh new digs on Middle Street. For chef/owner Seiji Ando, the move is an exciting one that offers him a chance to seat more diners and to prepare a weekly special-importation menu, thanks to a mystery shipment of fish that arrives every Thursday from Japan. The sushi he prepares from it are wonderful, especially delicate medai and gently tangy shima-aji (horse mackerel).

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Drifters Wife, and

Flavors are often subtle, yet stand-out. A starter of pickled shrimp with celery root, remoulade and rye brings together contrasting notes of brine and earth for something so well-balanced it deserves to be a main course. So too does a plate of gold ball turnips, bacon and ramps, which tastes like what the “farm-to-table” movement has gone for but missed in so many area dining establishments over the years. Even a salad of mixed local greens is somehow tantalizing, set off by a dusting of breadcrumbs and a tangy shallot vinaigrette.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Back Bay Grill.

Back Bay Grill has maintained exactly what they are known for – high level service, quality food, and a great experience. They always use exceptional ingredients, but their dishes really hit the mark with each bite, focusing on exactly what they should, taking a main ingredient and making sure that all the other parts of the item add to it, while still maintaining the primary intent. You can taste each piece, and you’ll never forget what you ordered.

Reviews: BlueFin, Scratch Toast Bar

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the BlueFin, and

BlueFin, the seafood-themed restaurant in the Portland Harbor Hotel, is a head-scratcher, with prices that rival the area’s most expensive restaurants, yet little of the allure to justify them. It starts with spotty service, thanks to a front-of-house team who, apart from the lone server during dinner hours, all seem to be employed elsewhere in the hotel. Bartenders and piano players double as valets, front-desk staff double as hosts and bussers, lending the whole enterprise an ad-hoc feel. The menu is just as off-kilter, with a few genuinely enjoyable dishes – dressed lobster served in a custardy homemade popover, and creamy, egg-yolk-enriched lobster mashed potatoes – alongside a few dire ones, like a wet, underseasoned paella; a hazelnut panna cotta so firm you could drive across it served with a hot, salty waffle; and an acrid affogato made with cold espresso.

the Press Herald has reviewed Scratch Toast Bar.

The spreads I picked were a three-berry jam, Yummus (hummus with pureed carrots and other veggies) and an artichoke heart and spinach bake. The jam was like berry pie filling, so good you could eat it with a spoon. But it was also great on the cinnamon raisin nut bread. The Yummus was tangy and flavorful, and oddly, didn’t taste that much like carrots. The spinach and artichoke bake was creamy and rich. It was especially good on the airy miche, which was my favorite of the breads.