Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Huong’s, BRGR Bar, Sur Lie, The King’s Head, Trattoria Fanny, Foulmouthed Brewing

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Maine Sunday Telegram has published the first review of Huong’s,

But in the end, pho is Huong’s signature dish. It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong with any of the herby, beef broth-based noodle soups, like the rare beef and meatball, or white meat chicken pho ($7.95). The service at Huong’s Vietnamese Restaurant also deserves praise – Huong Le’s daughters run the show in the front of the house, and they are unfailingly kind and knowledgeable, often dashing to the kitchen to make special requests that the kitchen goes out of its way to accommodate.

The Blueberry Files and Steffy Amondi have reviewed Sur Lie,

The potatoes and the bolognese were the winners in my book—the fried haddock suffered from a soft, rather than crispy, battered coating, and its flavors were too mild to stand up to the other dishes on the table. The bolognese was my favorite, with a tangy sauce and lots of orange zest.

The Press Herald has reviewed The King’s Head,

But it was the specials that caught my interest that day — first, the cream of chicken soup ($5 for a cup) and, second, the tacos. I had a chicken taco for $2 and a beef one for $3. Both were generous in size and entirely tasty. And the price sure was right. The soup also hit the spot, and for an even 10 bucks for all three of these things, it felt like more than enough food to satisfy even this bottomless pit.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published the first review of BRGR Bar, and has reviewed Trattoria Fanny and Foulmouthed Brewing.

Foulmouthed Brewing appears to be doing pretty well and it’s with good reason. The beers they create have great flavor and they have a decent selection of cocktails too. But what makes them a go-to brewery is their food which is outstanding and pairs really well with their beverages. I’m going back soon for another brew and more grilled cheese. The sandwich might seem a little pricey at $13, but it’s so unbelievably good that I’ll ask them to take my money for it without hesitation.

2017 Beard Award Nominees

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

The James Beard Foundation awards released the list of 2017 award nominees today.

Of the 12 Maine semifinalist announce in February, 2 have advanced through the process to become final nominees:

  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co.
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional – Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co.

The winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony which will take place on May 1st in Chicago.

Related information:

Drink Here Now: Hunt & Alpine Club

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 has included the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club in their list of the 263 best cocktail bars around the world.

Portland’s first craft-cocktail bar continues to shine with a deep drinks list that spans from approachable to geeky. There’s the Norseman, a Scandinavian twist on the Old Fashioned that gets a kick from brown-butter-washed aquavit, and the simple Green Eyes, a gin sour sharpened to a keen edge with a healthy splash of Green Chartreuse.

Reviews: Isa, Liquid Riot, DiPietro’s

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

The Bollard has reviewed Isa,

My croque madame ($11), an open-faced sandwich of prosciutto, Swiss cheese and a sunny-side-up egg, was positively otherworldly, with a balance of flavor and texture that was damn near perfect. Even the lightly dressed salad greens on the side were outstanding.

the Press Herald has reviewed DiPietro’s,

The chicken Parmesan sandwich at DiPietro’s is one of my favorites, and I’ve tried many. The chicken is tender with a crisp breading. It comes with a lot of sauce and cheese, melted well, but it’s wrapped in foil so you don’t have to mess up your hands too much.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Liquid Riot.

Liquid Riot was really good. The only concern I had was that the burger was 16 bucks and I think for that price, it has to be a little more spectacular. It was a solid offering, but even with the fries and awesome mustard, I didn’t quite have the feeling I got what I paid for. Either way, I’ll be back to try some of their other food. It was excellent overall and I found it a fun place to hang for a while.

Greater Portland’s Best Bagel

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

The Press Herald convened a panel of judges to evaluate and rank Portland-area bagel options.

Southern Maine has more sources for good bagels than ever before. So much so that in October Saveur magazine gave one Maine bagel maker major props, calling the wood-fired sourdough bagel from Forage Market in Lewiston one of the best in the country, “good enough to melt the heart of the most hardened New York bagel snob.”

This explosion of bagel love made us wonder: Which local bakery is producing the best bagel? And what makes a bagel a good bagel, anyway?

Results: Bagels from Scratch Baking came out on top with ones from The Purple House, Maple’s, 158 Pickett Street Cafe, Rosemont and Union Bagel Co. in second through sixth place respectively.

Reviews: Petite Jacqueline, Boda, Woodford F&B, Bramhall, Bonobo

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Petite Jacqueline,

Despite a few seasoning hiccups in dishes like the deviled eggs, escargots and beef bourguignon, Petite Jacqueline offers several strong versions of bistro classics. Best among these are dishes like gorgeously seared steak frites and an extraordinary arctic char served with a brown butter-and-toasted almond sauce.

the West End News has published a review of Boda,

In conclusion, Boda possesses in creativity and delicious cuisine what it takes to be successful, and I suspect they’ll be around for an extended stay.

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Bramhall,

Bramhall has an excellent selection of beers, wines, and spirits so you are sure to find something to please your palate if you aren’t enthused by the happy hour specials. I was tempted off the list by the Four-Five-Six cocktail. It is a mix of Johnnie Walker Black, spiced vanilla honey, Raygun orange bitters and hops bitters. It was easily one of the top cocktails that I have ever had!

The Golden Dish has reviewed Woodford F&B,

Besides the restaurant’s high energy (translate: a noisy room but not in a bad way), the food by chef Courtney Loreg is exceedingly good–very competently prepared classic dishes.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bonobo.

One of the aspects of Bonobo’s pizza that makes it special is the wood fire. From the slight pleasant odor in the restaurant, to the mild flavor it adds to the pizza, to the way it cooks evenly and to the right degree, I like what it creates.

Zagat Eating Guide to Portland

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Zagat has published an eating guide to Portland.

At this point, it’s no secret that Portland, Maine, is one of the hottest food cities in the country, never mind New England. It’s also well represented (once again) on the latest list of James Beard Award semi-finalists. But for this latest list of travel-worthy spots, we focused on a mix of revered stalwarts, lauded newcomers and lesser-known gems. There are many more we could have included — apologies to still-awesome staples like Duckfat and Miyake — but these are the old and new favorites that are perking our palate right now.

Highlighted in the article are: Central Provisions, Drifters Wife, Elsemere BBQ, Evo Kitchen + Bar, Fore Street, Grace, Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, The Holy Donut, The Honey Paw, Vinland.

Review Round-up: Emilitsa, Izakaya Minato, Tipo, Bao Bao, Sichuan Kitchen

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The Golden Dish has reviewed Tipo,

My favorite dish was the full-flavored roast chicken, spice rubbed, served with pickled peppers and over creamy polenta. Though not a small plate restaurant per se, all these dishes were sharable and added up to a very nice meal at a reasonable price.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Emilitsa, Izakaya Minato and Bao Bao,

From the comfortable atmosphere, the welcoming staff, and the stunning, incredible, intensely flavorful food, it’s hard to overstate just how good Emilitsa truly is. The entire staff should be really proud of what they are doing. They are most definitely providing a high end brand of happiness to all who are lucky enough to visit.

and Portland Magazine has reviewed Sichuan Kitchen.

Bypassing the limp, greasy fare of pseudo-Chinese takeout joints, Sichuan Kitchen delivers authentic regional cuisine thanks to Shen’s exciting and accessible cooking. Quite exceptionally, flavor is not lost in translation at Sichuan Kitchen.

Reviews: Izakaya Minato, Other Side Deli, Sichuan Kitchen

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

My takeaway is that Izakaya Minato a great hangout spot that’s different enough to feel casually hip, while the food is a good mix of the familiar and novel.

the Press Herald has reviewed the Other Side Deli,

That same attention to detail was evident in the gyro itself. The lamb was tender and slightly sweet. The cucumbers were prodigious and added heft and substance. The yogurt provided a nice cool complement.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Sichuan Kitchen.

I’d definitely give Sichuan Kitchen another shot. The first one was pretty successful. I might pass on the poached fish unless they cut back on the peppercorns, but otherwise their food is well thought out and somewhat unique to the area. The atmosphere is relatively bland, but the food isn’t. In the end, it was more than good enough for me to plan a return visit.

Reviews: Schulte & Herr, Izakaya Minato, Bearded Lady, Salty Sally’s, Elsemere

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Schulte & Herr,

Schulte & Herr, a cozy German restaurant in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood, knows a thing or two about defying expectations. Since opening in 2011, it remains steadfastly without a liquor license. Co-owners Steffi Davin and her husband, chef Brian Davin, instead seem (for the moment, at least) content to pin their success on homey atmosphere and the remarkable quality of their food. Everything pivots around traditional German favorites, from unexpectedly crisp and light pork schnitzel to hearty sauerbraten…

the Press Herald has reviewed Izakaya Minato and The Bearded Lady,

Not Izakaya Minato. And it’s no surprise. You couldn’t come up with a concept that would appeal more to Portlanders right now. Izakaya is a Japanese portmanteau that translates to “stay sake shop,” meaning a place you can buy sake and also drink it. It’s evolved into the Japanese version of a gastropub and, yes, it’s mostly about the food – shareable smallish plates, including salads, soup, sashimi and some hot stuff.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Salty Sally’s and Elsemere.

The food was good – not fine dining, but high quality, well executed, and mildly inventive. The casual, relaxed atmosphere seemed amply suited for drinks, a meal, or both.

Reviews: Portland Meatball Co, Izakaya Minato, Big Fin Poke

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland Meatball Company,

The salads, like nearly everything I ate at Portland Meatball Company, seemed to have been rushed out of the kitchen, unexamined and, more importantly, untasted. Yet rather than focus on badly needed quality control for the restaurant’s few remaining customers, the kitchen staff wandered distractedly in and out of the desolate dining room throughout both of my visits, until inevitably declaring the restaurant closed more than an hour early.

The golden Dish has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

When we arrived two local restaurateurs I know were leaving and both recommended the pork belly. Spot on. What came out was a hearty bowl of braised pork belly ( buta no kakuni) stewed in mirin and soy—a pan-regional stew of this texturally unctuous meat: sweet, fatty, tender.

and both The Blueberry Files and Peter Peter Portland Eater have reviewed Big Fin Poké.

I often complain about going to Westbrook, not for any particular reason other than Portland-centrism and that I always manage to get lost whenever I attempt to navigate to or through our neighboring city to the west. But add Big Fin Poké to the small, but growing, list of things I’ll happily (ok, begrudgingly) travel to Westbrook for.

Reviews: Big Fin Poké, Evo, Terlingua, Downtown Lounge, Tipo, Portland Mash Tun, Caiola’s

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

The Press Herald has reviewed Big Fin Poké and Downtown Lounge,

If this restaurant were in Portland, it would be swamped. The food is well worth the short drive to Westbrook though, and I hope people will support it. We need more fast casual choices like this that go beyond the typical fast food burger joint. I’m already fantasizing about my next poke bowl – chicken, shrimp, honey miso sauce, crab salad, crispy onion and…

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Evo,

All in all, EVO was a hit. Even if you still see EVO as a special occasion place, stop in for one of their speciality cocktails and sample a dish. I bet it’ll win you over, just like it did me.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tipo,

The food was really good, but also slightly different than what is being offered in the Portland area which makes them an easy choice for an occasional visit. They’re carving out a space in the Italian food market, but since it’s outside the standard lasagna and linguine fare, it doesn’t immediately feel so confined to what you would normally expect from that type of restaurant.

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Terlingua,

Terlingua restaurant brings a little bit of Texas to Portland. They smoke their barbecued meats daily, but plan on getting there early because those sell out every night. The Barbecue Board will let you know what is available and hot off the smoker that day. But do not overlook the rest of their menu items; they stand on their own merit.

The 207 Foodie has reviewed the Portland Mash Tun,

Mash Tun is truly a hidden gem of Portland, with an incredibly friendly owner, knowledgeable bartenders, and genuine servers.

and the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Caiola’s.

But it feels like a summer day at the old Caiola’s when you taste the bright seaside flavors of an appetizer of big marinated shrimp on thin whole grain toasts. Celery and watercress kept the flavors light, while the toast lends a hint of earthiness.

First Review of Big Fin Poké

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Press Herald has posted the first review of Big Fin Poké in Westbrook.

If this restaurant were in Portland, it would be swamped. The food is well worth the short drive to Westbrook though, and I hope people will support it. We need more fast casual choices like this that go beyond the typical fast food burger joint. I’m already fantasizing about my next poke bowl – chicken, shrimp, honey miso sauce, crab salad, crispy onion and …

I would echo the recommendation of the Press Herald on this one. Go to Westbrook and check this place out.

Big Fin Poké (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) opened in Westbrook on Christmas Eve day. They’re located at 855 Main Street open for lunch and dinner.

Reviews: Eventide, Sichuan Kitchen, Yosaku

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram have reviewed Eventide Oyster Company,

Likewise, when it comes to cooked seafood, Eventide manages to find a way to preserve essential flavors. The stuffed mahogany clams ($7) offer a good example, with chopped, deepwater Gulf of Maine quahog meat that shines through against a backdrop of bacon, butter, parsley and paprika, and a breadcrumb-crunchy texture that reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s true in the Maine lobster stew ($14), where even through a gauzy screen of aromatic ginger, green chilies and lemongrass, fresh lobster always remains the focus of the hearty, chive oil-dotted bowl, rich with coconut milk and substantial chunks of maitake mushroom.

The Golden Dish and Eatcentric Me have reviewed Sichuan Kitchen,

On my third visit with a friend, we ordered those fabulous pork dumplings again and the pork buns, the latter being a tad dry.  We tried the eggplant salad (I like Empire’s better) and pork in sweet bean paste.  That was a good meal with brighter moments than previous visits. [TGD]

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Yosaku.

Yosaku is a good place to go whether you want sushi or are looking more for tempura or noodles. Their food is artfully prepared by chefs who clearly know what they are doing. The presentation is first class and the product always tasty.

3 from Maine Win at the Good Food Awards

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Congratulations to the three 2017 Good Food Awards winners from Maine announced last night at the GFA Awards Gala in San Francisco:

The winners in all 14 categories were chosen from 2,059 entrants from across the country.