Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Another Bao Bao Review

Friday, October 24th, 2014

The Golden Dish has posted a first look review of Bao Bao.

Dumplings remain the star of the show — prepared boiled or pan fried. Not to be missed are the wondrous steamed hake sheathed in shredded dumpling dough wrapped around the filling. They’re like the Asian version of quenelles — delicate, sweetly flavored and incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Review and Report on Bao Bao

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Blueberry Files has published a first look review of Bao Bao.

By the time we left Bao Bao, the 40-ish seat restaurant was full, with a few people waiting outside. Several people came into ask about take-out options (none yet). The restaurant never felt too loud or crowded, although we did clearly overhear our neighbors’ conversation, so it’s not the place for secret transactions.

Rather, Bao Bao offers comforting Chinese delights, for which West Enders seem eager. Check out Bao Bao Dumpling House (open for lunch at 11:30am and until 1am); I’ll be back for those fun cocktails and to sample the many more flavors of dumplings.

The Urban Eye also paid a visit and has a report on the scene Tuesday night,

I sidled up to the sunken bar and ordered an Oxbow farmhouse (best with dumplings) and perused the menu. Seated to my left was Sam Hayward and Dana Street. The power duo behind Fore Street, Street and Co. and soon Scales (2), were halfway through a five-course meal and ready to socialize.

I asked the epicure elder statesmen for a recommendation, because that’s what you do in situations like this. “Order the hake or lamb,” they said between chop sticking and white wine drinking.

Review of Ten Ten Pié

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Bowdoin Orient has reviewed Ten Ten Pié.

After devouring the croissant, which combined sweet almond filling with savory matcha depth, I took a moment to look around. The sparse seating, wide selection of goods and reasonable prices add to the unique appeal of Ten Ten Pié. The owners prioritize quality food over trendiness. In an era when hip décor, twee gimmicks and overwrought menu typography seem to be the norm, Ten Ten provides a refreshing departure.

This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix also includes a review of Ten Ten Pié. I’ll have a post about it once the article makes it onto the Phoenix website.

Bar Review of Walter’s

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Walter’s.

More than anything else, Walter’s bar scene is perhaps one of the best values in town, which, despite its non-youngster appeal, is pretty darn cool.

Best Desserts in Portland

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Travel + Leisure have included Duckfat, Gelato Fiasco, Maine Pie Line and Piccolo in their list of the best dessert destinations in Portland.

Do you have some favorites you’d add to the list?

Review of Caiola’s

Friday, October 17th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Caiola’s.

A luscious chocolate cream filled a buttery pastry tartlet, slathered with the peanut butter sauce and pretzel streusel.  The ice cream was rich and creamy, but I was expecting to find chunks of pretzel in it but didn’t.  I learned they were ground to a fine powder and blended into the frozen custard base. That, I realized, was the undefinable flavor that I couldn’t pin point and the final, special touch to one of the best dinners I’ve had in months.

Review of Grace

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a bar review of Grace.

I nibbled, crunched, and devoured every last crumb on my plate. Then I finished my drink. I wanted more, but by some miracle, I settled down and stopped ordering since I had somewhere else to be. My wife finished her sangria. We rejoiced. Even though we didn’t order much, everything we had was superb.

Reviews: Bramhall, The Front Room, Foley’s

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The Blueberry Files has published a first look at the Bramhall,

There’s a great food menu too – which is very different than my recollection of the old Bramhall! We tried several items – the loaded crips were a standout. Thinly-sliced potato chips were topped with bacon, green onions, and cheese curds ($8). They disappeared fast. We also ordered several dishes for the table to share meat plate, a cheese plate, and the Caribbean jerk wings. The bite I had of a friend’s burger was outstanding – it was medium-rare, perfectly tender, with bits of bacon inside the burger. 

Drink Up and Get Happy has published a bar review of The Front Room,

Despite the rumors we had heard that you need to get there early to snag a spot for happy hour, we found it very empty when we arrived just after 4pm and had no trouble ordering ourselves a couple of glasses of white wine and relaxing at the bar. As other patrons came in many were greeted by name, enhancing the feel that you were gathering in a friend’s kitchen rather than in a restaurant. Overall it’s a great spot for a delicious drink at a great price and is out of the hustle and bustle of the Old Port. We can’t wait to go back!

and The 207 Foodie has reviewed Foley’s.

1. Eclairs- Is there anything better than an eclair, especially a fresh one? A pastry that’s covered in chocolate and filled with custard. I think the only thing better is the act of actually eating it, and getting that perfect bite of pastry, chocolate and creme all at once. Now, at Foley’s you’re in for a real treat, because their eclairs are huge, and definitely too big to eat at once. So either save it as a delicious treat for later, or just share it with someone special.

First Review of Sur Lie

Friday, October 10th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Sur Lie.

Don’t miss the cream of corn, either.  It’s simply described on the menu as sweet corn, buttermilk biscuits and mushrooms.   It’s really a corn soup of the richest broth enriched with cream poured over sautéed corn kernels, mushrooms  and biscuit cubes.  Add the extra element of head-on shrimp or pork belly and it’s a splendid dish.

Reviews: Back Bay Grill & Oscar’s

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Maine magazine has published a review/profile of The Back Bay Grill.

All of this is what Matthews, Stratton, and the whole crew at Back Bay Grill have been trying to achieve since the beginning: a level of consistency and value that keeps their clientele coming back again and again.

As Stratton tells me, “The overall feel and heartbeat of this restaurant will not change. Every day we set the tables exactly the same. That’s what our guests like, and the way I see it, we are very lucky to have them.”

and the Press Herald has published a bar review of Oscar’s New American.

Oscar’s is a great option for people looking for upscale food and drink without the huge price tag. If Krunkkala keeps running specials like the $5 wine and appetizers, there’s really no excuse to feel like there aren’t affordable options for quality food.

First Review of Bonfire

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Bonfire.

Bottom line: If you’re interested in going to check out Bonfire, I’d recommend eating elsewhere, and going on the early side if you wish to avoid the crowds and resulting noise. (Unless you’re in Bonfire’s target demographic, and then have it. I’ll be home by then anyways.)

Boston Globe: Culinary Boom in Portland

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

The Boston Globe has published a report on the restaurant boom in Portland.

I had heard about a few great places to nosh in Portland, but for the love of Jenny Craig, the number of good restaurants in a city this size is absolutely criminal. Several more bars and eateries are expected to open in the coming months.

“There are so many things that are happening here in Portland,” said Shannon Bard, executive chef and proprietor of Zapoteca. “There’s a huge influx of chefs coming here from out of state; they’re leaving bigger cities to see what’s going on and opening here.”

Venues mentioned in the article: Blue Rooster, Central Provisions, Duckfat, Eventide, Hunt and Alpine Club, Lolita, Piccolo, Sea Glass, Slab, Standard Baking, Sweetgrass, The Holy Donut, Vena’s Fizz House, Zapoteca.

First Review of Maps Cafe

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Maps Cafe.

So you might expect the worst from a new Old Port grilled-cheese and wine/beer spot run by two music industry folks—one of Lady Gaga’s handlers and a Mumford and Sons merchandise guy, no less. But instead, their Maps Café, tucked away in a downstairs space on Market St., is the rarest of things in today’s Portland food scene: a genuine pleasant surprise. There was no Kickstarter, no big PR push, no pop-up tie-ins, no menu or remodel plans leaked to Portland Food Map. Owners Vikki and Kyle went low-key…

First Review of Golden Lotus

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Golden Lotus.

With bold strokes, The Golden Lotus opens on the heel’s of Empire Chinese, offering a menu of Cantonese specialties that are carbon copies of Empire’s menu but not nearly as fine–yet.

Reviews: Slab & Blue Spoon

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Slab,

But the bread seems even better when paired with ingredients that work harder to stand up to it—as in the caponata with its thick layer of near-bitter eggplant in a dark, winey sauce; or in the meatloaf-meatball sandwich, where a crunchier bread encases huge portions of tender beef and pork, mingling with sauce and cheese. One of last week’s specials featured rich pulled pork and soft white cheese between slices of focaccia so delicate and flakey it approached filo. Its accompanying sauce was almost meaty with tomato and pepper.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the Blue Spoon.

Everyone finished their food and happily tapped out. There were no looks of disgust on anyone’s face. In fact, everyone enjoyed their meal greatly. Despite the fact that I ordered a meal where I wouldn’t normally like half the components, it was damn good and the main part of it – the chicken – was superb.

Blueberry Files: Geary’s, Eventide, The Well

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

A new post from The Blueberry Files combines a report from the grand opening of the Geary’s tasting room, a review of Eventide and a review of The Well.

My connection to the food scene was obvious in thinking about what makes Portland my home. My love affair with Portland was ignited by the incredible food and drink scene I discovered upon moving here. And nowhere is that sense of place through food expressed better than at Eventide. Local this, local that; in tune with the seasons, the land, and the ocean…and of course, tasting great at every step.

5 Stars for Fore Street

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Fore Street.

[Fore Street] remains Maine’s signature five-star restaurant. The ever-changing menu reflects top-notch foraging and sourcing from farms around the state and beyond, with favorites from the wood-grilled oven and turnspit including mussels, quail, black bass and pork belly, as well as fine salads, house-made pastas, unique desserts and well-paired wine list.

An Editor’s Note indicates that this was interim reviewer Melissa Coleman’s last review and that the sunday review will “go on a short hiatus and return with a new critic soon”.

Bar Reviews: Timber & Buck’s

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Timber,

Timber has a great happy hour and can’t wait to go back and try more of the menu. We  look forward to taking advantage of the specials to explore their wine list further as well! As fall approaches, they do have a beautifully decorated interior to sip those wines in as well.

and Future Fun Stuff has reviewed Buck’s Naked BBQ.

The consensus on Buck’s is that it has a damn good Happy Hour. It lasts a long time, the drinks deals are good (so good you might want to get several drinks and get nekkid…. woohoo!), and you can get a mountain of fried food for cheap.

Rob Evans: Maine’s Best Bites

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Chef Rob Evans has assembled a list of his favorite local eateries for Serious Eats.

On his list are Boda, Eventide, Gorgeous Gelato, Green Elephant, Hunt and Alpine, Otto, Oxbow, Pai Men, Piccolo, Portland Lobster Company, Rosemont, Thanh Thanh,  The Lobster Shack, Tandem and Tu Casa.

Review of Yosaku

Friday, September 26th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed Yosaku.

Ultimately, I can recommend Yosaku because of the genre it’s as good as we get in Portland.  The service is attentive, the wait staff is knowledgeable and the traditional choices well prepared.  The décor is pleasant and if my honest thoughts about this kind of cooking in general will make followers shake their heads, take it from whence it comes.   In the end, one should stick to what one knows!