Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Evo, Union, Lois’ Natural, Congress Squared

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Union,

The white bean soup ($10) was fine. Based on the menu’s description, I’d envisioned a hearty dish, but it was a thin purée, drizzled with black garlic oil and peppered with very hard, presumably pickled, lentils. The duck pâté ($14), topped with buttons of sticky marmalade and crisp frills of frisée, was a different story: opulent and rich. Two pieces of warm, ultra-crisp, deep-fried brioche compound the decadence.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Evo,

A softer flatbread accompanied the labneh, a simple yogurt cheese. It is smooth as can be, with an appealing brightness and tang. It was spotted with crunchy herbs and some sharp capers. Shakshuka, a hot dish made with crushed and stewed tomatoes and egg, is not exactly smooth. But it’s dippable in its cast iron bowl, and when the yolk from the egg runs into the herby tomato, things get plenty creamy. It manages to be rich but not heavy, with plenty of bite from garlic and some stewed jalapeno.

Peter Peter Portland Eater and The Golden Dish have reviewed Congress Squared,

Each dish—and there were many—were killer efforts that the kitchen team produced with suavity and assuredness.  The smoked duck breast, for example, over a cunningly devised puree of rosemary with dots of roasted grapes and garlic confit created an arsenal of flavor that put the whole chorus of fine cooking on a high note. The sweet-smoky duck breast soaking up the vivaciousness of the rosemary puree underneath was further complimented by the umami of  sweetly pungent pairing of grapes and garlic confit. [The Golden Dish]

and the Press Herald has reviewed Lois’ Natural.

But my tofu sandwich was so good – fresh and gently spicy – perhaps I’ll stick with it. A bargain at $6.90, it was generously stuffed with lettuce, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and baked, peanut-butter-spiced tofu. It handily avoided the two cardinal sins of commercial sandwich production – the (French sourdough) bread did not get soggy, and the stuffing was not piled up in the center of the sandwich leaving the edges bare and bready.

Reviews: Slab, Top of the East

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Run for Breakfast has reviewed Slab,

I love Slab as a lunch/dinner place, and it seems like restaurants like that often do breakfast/brunch as an afterthought, but definitely not so with Slab. It’s unusual for me, but I think I actually prefer their brunch menu. (But definitely don’t skip it if you’re not here on a Sunday. Go! And, if nothing else, get the classic namesake Sicilian Slab.)

They serve brunch until 8:00 tonight. Would it be weird to go twice in one day?

and The Golden Dish has reviewed brunch at Top of the East.

The brunch flatbread, which I chose, was a fairly large piece of housemade flatbread topped with apple-wood smoked bacon, Gruyere, baby arugula and a pair of organic fried eggs. The bread was buttery and crisp like a thin-crust pizza and the simple layers of ingredients were delicious.

Review of Custom Deluxe

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

imageThe Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Custom Deluxe in Biddeford.

Malz’s tribute to his New England roots – a bean supper ($14) – may be his best entrée. At first glance, it looks ordinary, with a few alarmingly crimson chunks of Maine Reds piled into a bowl with a spoonful of baked beans. But looks are deceiving. The beans are earthy, sugary, complex. And no wonder. Malz cooks them with turnips and carrots and – get this – bottles of Moxie and root beer, then finishes them with miso, the traditional Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans. As for the Maine Reds, they’re boiled in dashi, a Japanese broth flavored with fish flakes and seaweed. Underneath the beans, dogs and a few fatty chunks of ham, is a mound of sticky rice showered with sesame seeds. Though a crazy cross-cultural mashup, the dish is as comforting as a warm blanket. I loved it.

This is restaurant critic Jame Scwartz’s last review before stepping down from the job. The paper has begun the search for a candidate to fill the position. If you’re interested in the job contact the paper’s food editor, Peggy Grodinsky.

Review of Pizzaiolo

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Golden Dish has reviewed Pizzaiolo.

The pesto was not overly garlicky and topped with plenty of melted mozzarella cheese.  The porko had lots going on.  The sausage was well spiced and the meatballs and pepperoni were compatible additions. The rich tomato sauce and mozzarella added great texture and taste.  As pizza goes both were admirable.

Restaurant Design

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Grace was recently highlighted by Tabelog on their list of America’s 10 Most Beautiful Restaurants.

Grace in Portland, ME. inhabits the old Chestnut Street Church and painstaking measures were taken to bring the building to its original glory. Most of the building is original, but any new work was meticulously done to match or tie in with the existing architecture.

On a related note, the James Beard Foundation awards committee is soliciting suggestions for the 2016 restaurant design awards. Visit the JBF website to submit your recommendations for best restaurant design of 2015. The deadline is this Friday.

Review of the Green Elephant

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Green Elephant.

Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro serves Asian-inspired cuisine “for vegetarians and carnivores alike.” Go early (the restaurant has 17 closely spaced tables plus two booths, but they fill up quickly) and start with the Brussels sprouts. One of the most popular appetizers on the menu, they’re fried until crispy then glazed with a mixture of tamari and brown sugar. Skip the Roti Canai Indian-style flatbread – it’s oily and bland – and move right to one of the house curries: The peanut curry is loaded with chickpeas and potatoes, and the milder Panang has Thai eggplant and zucchini along with a long list of other vegetables. Fried rice dishes are reliably good, as are noodle entrees.

Sunday Telegram restaurant critic James Schwartz is stepping done from the job. The paper has indicated that they will publish his last review next week and the column will be suspended while they search for his replacement.

Down East: Maine Breakfast & Vena’s

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

imageThe new issue of Down East includes a guide to the best breakfast dishes served by restaurants from all over the state (e.g. the Deluxe breakfast sandwich at Palace Diner, and the fried chicken and waffles at East Ender) as well as an article about Vena’s Fizz House.

The articles aren’t yet online but you can pickup a copy of the magazine at your local newsstand.

Review of Woodford F&B

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

The Golden Dish has posted a first look review of Woodford Food & Beverage.

The menu offers a good diversity of dishes.  In the two visits I’ve been able to get to know the kitchen’s abilities.  And prior to this posted write-up I paid a third visit to sample the WFB’s  Thursday plat du jour, quahog chowder.  And it was a marvelous brew, very bacony, creamy, a meal unto itself. I snacked on the onion dip and Kennebec chips to start, a glorious beginning.  A glass of Silvaner Halbtrocken paired quite well indeed.

First Takes on Woodford F&B

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The Blueberry Files and Urban Eye have posted their initial impressions of Woodford Food & Beverage,

Those who live in the surrounding neighborhood are sure to be thrilled with this comfortable restaurant that boasts good food, cocktails, and a family-friendly atmosphere. And those of us who are stuck in our peninsula bubbles will want to shake up the routine by heading out Forest Ave. to check out Woodford F&B.  [Blueberry Files]

Here’s a link to the full Woodford F&B menu.

Review of Ramen Suzukiya

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Ramen Suzukiya.

Suzukiya is a tiny, family-owned Japanese noodle shop with enormously satisfying ramen bowls filled with house-made noodles, slices of pork or tofu, and fresh vegetables. The menu may be limited (you can order one of four noodle bowls and two accompanying mini-rice bowls) but the flavors are impressive and those noodles profoundly comforting…

7 Reviews: Tomaso’s, Bayou Kitchen, Bao Bao, Samuel’s, Terlingua, Slab, Oxbow

Friday, January 8th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Terlingua and Slab.

Slab successfully transforms traditional brunch ingredients into imaginative new dishes with bold flavors. There are at least a half dozen other menu items I want to try. The next time I’m torn between craving the familiar and the unexpected, I know exactly where I’m going.

The Press Herald has published a review of  Tomaso’s and a bar review of Oxbow.

Tomaso’s Canteen is a short walk from just about anywhere in downtown Portland and I encourage people to color outside their pre-established lunch lines and give it a whirl. Don’t be in a huge hurry so you can sit back and relax.

The Golden Dish has reviewed both Bayou Kitchen and Bao Bao.

The homies were perfectly delicious red-skinned potatoes given a nice crisping on the flat top.  Two poached eggs were just right, with firm whites and runny yolks.  I chose Bayou’s cornbread as my toast selection.  It was so light that the bread nearly crumbled in my hand.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Samuel’s.

We finished eating and paid our bill which I believe was somewhere around $40 buck before tip. It wasn’t pricey, but the food didn’t distinguish itself in selection or quality. Nonetheless, it wasn’t bad and was pretty much what one would expect from a neighborhood location outside of Portland.

Review of Roustabout

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Portland magazine has reviewed Roustabout.

Fritto Misto ($13), billed as an appetizer, is a heaping plate full of goodness. Octopus, calamari, mussels, and veggies are fried to golden brown in a light batter and accompanied by smoked-pepper aioli with just the right kick.

The current issue of Portland also includes their annual look at ahead at some of the coming year’s restaurant openings and food events.

Reviews: Tomaso’s Canteen & Pat’s Cafe

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Tomaso’s Canteen,

Sangillo’s closing was a loss for the community, and Tomaso’s definitely doesn’t replace it. But in some ways that’s great. You’ll still find the affordable drinks and “beer and shot” menu, but now the space is verging on gastropub territory, with its amazing food, specialty drinks and relaxed vibe. The location is hole-in-the-wall enough to feel like a secret, but it’s right off Middle Street.

and Pat’s Meat Market & Groceria Cafe.

I also tried the chicken vegetable soup ($4.95), with shredded chunks of chicken and a rich, bright yellow stock that I found later was made at the market. It had mushrooms, carrots and pieces of turnip. It was very hot, making it a good traveling soup. So next time I want a soup to go, I’ll get some at Pat’s and I’ll be confident it will stay warm. Some of the other soups on the rotating list include beef and bean chili, cream of asparagus, curry chicken and rice, and clam and haddock chowder.

Review of Bayou Kitchen

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Run for Breakfast has reviewed Bayou Kitchen.

The regular menu has many delicious options for both breakfast and lunch (Bayou serves breakfast and lunch only) and every one I have had has been fantastic.  From prior visits I recommend trying the Veggie Homie Plate (home fries smothered with veggies and cheese), the Breakfast Sandwich (traditional style, but for a real treat, order is with the Andouille sausage), or El Rancho Verde omelet (a medley of Cajun and southwest flavor).  If you are in the mood, Bayou Kitchen’s French Toast and pancakes are large and perfectly cooked. 

Brunch Review of Roustabout

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The Golden Dish has posted a brunch review of Roustabout.

What you will get is a carefully thought out menu.  Don’t look, then, for other typical dishes like sausage gravy over biscuits or cracklings of bacon rashers with eggs over easy. This is, after all, brunch, the combination of morning and noontime leisurely dining where a little bit of this and that suffice.