Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Eventide, Pai Men, Big Fin Poke

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Big Fin Poke,

If you go to Big Fin Poke – and you should – feel free to get creative with your bowl. I went a little light on the add-ons this time, but you’re able to get as crazy as you want. Load on the goodies and enjoy your work in creating a masterpiece. That’s half the fun of going. Of course, the food itself is also awesome. Stay tuned for more awesomeness as a new Big Fin comes to South Portland soon too.

As the Lobster Roll has reviewed Eventide, and

And did I mention those miniature steamed buns are stuffed full of lobster which has been skillfully sauteed in the brown butter? I have no idea what else they add to the mixture and honestly, I don’t care… because it’s so decadent and delicious! The price is $15 for one lobster roll (no accoutrements included) and whoever can go there and just eat one is a bigger person than me.

the Press Herald has published a bar review of Pai Men Miyake.

The food is what truly shines at Pai Men Miyake. If you’re a fan of sour flavors or drinks with heavy lime/lemon flavorings, then this is the cocktail list for you. Otherwise, sticking to their beers (a large, exciting selection of both local and Japanese brews), wine or sake is likely the way to go. A loud, casual and hip atmosphere make this a fun place to grab some food and a drink with friends or a date.

Reviews: Bayside Bowl, Local 188, Little Giant, Yobo, Tipo

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Bayside Bowl and 33 Elmwood,

Its new outdoor rooftop deck is an absolute stunner, with a bar and an Airstream trailer that serves as a taco truck. Unfortunately, the food seems occasionally like an afterthought, lagging behind the standard set by the modern, often elegant spaces that make up the business. Among the better dishes are the tender cactus taco and Bayside’s vegan interpretation of a Reuben sandwich, the Rachael, made with smoky tempeh and tangy sauerkraut. Steer clear of the gloppy, oversauced tot poutine, which our server described as “unforgettable.” She’s not wrong.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Little Giant,

The LG Burger & Jojos (read: burly, delicious steak fries) served as the evening’s entrée, a no-frills take on the diner staple topped with American cheese, pickled grilled red onion, iceberg lettuce and BBQ mayo. Though a bit on the small side, the burger’s sheer and undulating juiciness made up for any perceived size discrepancies demanding bite after blissful bite. I left full and happy.

The Bollard has reviewed Yobo and Tipo,

The classic bibimbap ($15) is a solid choice — a combination of beef or tofu with rice (fried to a delicious crisp on the bottom of the hot stone bowl), veggies, a runny egg yolk and gochujang (red-chili paste) that you mix yourself. If there’s a taco special, order that too. The pork belly and local uni (sea urchin) tacos ($12) were the tastiest dish on the table one Thursday night.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Local 188,

On the other hand, the mushrooms had me at “hello”. One bite of the voluptuous oyster shrooms was enough to know I was in fungal heaven. I noticed the pickled shallots immediately and then a little romesco. My next bite added a couple slices of almond and there was something about the nut flavor that covered the mushrooms in a calmness, muting a little of the vinegar and blending everything together. I found it entrancing.

Vogue: A Perfect Weekend Away

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Vogue has published an article on where to eat, shop and stay in Southern Maine.

Portland was once thought to simply be a small, weather-worn coastal city playing second fiddle to big shots like Boston, but this has thankfully changed. This gem of a city is now a major destination for those looking for incredible food, small-batch breweries with cult followings, and amazing independent shops that will tempt you to blow your weekend budget in a ten-minute period. And if Portland isn’t enough, the rest of southern Maine presents ample attractions like cute coastal towns and hikes offering vistas that make breaking a sweat very worthwhile.

The article mentions Central Provisions, Little Giant Market, Fore Street, Drifters Wife, Urban Farm Fermentory, and Allagash, Foundation, and Austin Street breweries.

Reviews: Maiz, Luis’s, The 5 Spot, Bayside

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

The Press Herald has reviewed The 5 Spot,

I’ve never been to Philadelphia, so I don’t know what a “real” Philly cheesesteak exactly is, but I can tell you that what’s being served up at The 5 Spot is absolutely delicious.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Luis’s Arepera and Maiz Columbian Street Food, and

The Colombian arepa is bigger and softer — one step closer to a tortilla. But there is no mistaking it for something so thin and floppy, especially when you see the thick bumpy beauties served up at Maiz — which occupies the front section upstairs at the Public Market House. The menu is simple, with just five arepas and a cheese bread. It is all they need. While Luis’s arepas are stiff enough to maintain a jaunty tilt, the Maiz version sags a bit to form a sort of pocket.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the Bayside American Cafe.

I was very happy with the food; both sweet and savory items were excellent which makes it easy to be confident that whatever I order in the future, it will be solid. In addition, I thought the drinks were good, and overall, the prices were quite reasonable.

BA: Where to Drink

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Portland expat Adam Callaghan has penned a guide on where to drink in Portland for the Beer Advocate.

Maine’s reputation as Vacationland, and millions of yearly tourists, have allowed a food and beverage scene to flourish here in a way normally reserved for huge metropolises. In Portland alone, the state’s largest city at nearly 67,000 residents, close to 20 breweries ensure the world-class restaurants and bars lining the Old Port’s cobblestone streets have access to the best bottles of fruited sours, cans of pristine European-style lagers, and kegs of coveted New England-style IPAs reeking of trendy hops.

Hardshore Distilling Finalist in Competition

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Hardshore Distilling in Portland has been selected as a finalist in a national spirits awards competition by a panel of experts.

The final ranking will be determined by a readers choice process.

You can see the full list of finalists and cast your vote for Hardshore online at usatoday.com.

Zagat: Restaurants in Maine

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Zagat has published a list of 10 Must-Try Restaurants on the Maine Coast.

From the Portland area the list includes: The Honey Paw, Central Provisions, Hunt & Alpine, Woodford F&B.

Reviews: North 43, El Corazon, Chaval

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Portland Magazine has reviewed El Corazon,

El Corazon’s tag line is “Mexican food from the heart,” and that it is. It’s also a good value for your dine-out dollar. This cheery little cafe predates the age of hipster small plates and artisanal whatnot in the friendliest possible way.

The Golden Dish has published a first look at North 43, and

The gazpacho was a thick and chunky soup, nicely spicy and served with grilled shrimp on the side. A composed salad was rich and complex with its assertive dressing, croutons and local tomatoes. Entrees like Statler chicken, perfect strip of beef, and classic crab cake were fine examples coming from a chef who knows how to mix flavors and basic ingredients into great dishes.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the Chaval.

Our food was good overall though the potatoes needed a little more of a crisping and the chicken plate could have used more pizzazz. The bigger issue we ran into was that by then end of the meal, with about 5 of 7ish tables seated in the back room, my wife and I couldn’t hear each other speak. I think the small, partially enclosed room creates acoustic an issue which makes it exceptionally loud.

Reviews: Noble BBQ, Little Giant, Roma Cafe

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

The Portland Press Herald has reviewed Noble Barbecue,

I’ve waited and waited for the day when Portlanders would finally get to experience truly excellent pulled pork. Now I think I’ve finally found it. This is no slap in the face to other places around town that put out perfectly fine pulled pork. But the pork at Noble Barbecue, the new restaurant on outer Forest Avenue, is on a whole other level. It’s tender and incredibly juicy. It’s aggressively smoky. And there is plenty of bark.

the Portland Press Herald has published a bar review of Little Giant, and

Little Giant is looking to be the West End’s one-stop shop for good food, great drinks and carefully curated sundries. The newly opened restaurant component will be sure to add a little hipness to the Danforth Street lineup.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the Roma Cafe.

I think Roma will stand with the big boys in the Italian food scene here in Portland. They are a little more on the traditional side than some, but their classic food is strong. Their atmosphere is warm, service friendly, and they offer a pretty comprehensive selection of traditional favorites. I’m confident they’ll be a very welcome addition to the food scene in this city.

The Maine Course

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Wall Street Journal editor Polya Lesova has written about here eating trip to Maine for The Australian.

She mentions: The Holy Donut, Eventide, The Lobster Shack, Long Grain, Suzuki and The Lost Kitchen, Vena’s Fizz House, Young’s Lobster Pound, Beal’s Lobster Pier and MDI Ice Cream.

I wake up hungry. Fortunately, I am in a town that is able to satiate a big appetite. My husband Paul and I have flown to Portland, Maine, from New York late the previous night for a five-day road trip up the coast. We want to savour the state’s spring beauty, hike some seaside trails, dip our toes in the still-icy Atlantic. But mostly we plan to eat. 

Reviews: Chaval, Cong Tu Bot, Mini Mogadishu, North 43, OhNo Cafe, Roma Cafe

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix and Portland Press Herald have reviewed Chaval,

Caiola’s may have brought elevated dining to the West End 12 years ago, but Chaval has redefined the concept of what a neighborhood restaurant in Portland is capable of being today. If month one is an indication of things to come, Sansonetti, Lopez and team are here to stay. [Phoenix]

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Cong Tu Bot,

The bun cha was also a hit, a base of vermicelli noodles with pork patties and fresh vegetables on the side. I opted to combined all of the dishes into one. Bun cha is a dish of contrast: fatty pork against fresh herbs, soft noodles cut by crunchy peanuts and fried onions, all deeply satisfying.

the Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Mini Mogadishu,

Since opening late last year, Mini Mogadishu has found its groove preparing a limited menu of homey, halal Somali classics – favorites of chefs and co-owners Nimo Saeed and Halimo Mohamud…When you visit, be sure to order the vegetarian Somali aanjera, which consists of golden brown, crepe-like pancakes used to scoop up mouthfuls of gently spicy, tomato-based Somali chili; a bowl of savory slow-simmered brown lentils; and tangy, sautéed spinach tossed with puréed jalapeño peppers and lime.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed North 43,

In the end, North 43 Bistro didn’t blow me away, but they weren’t bad either. Their service was friendly, but it was a little on the slow side. My drink was good, but my wife’s lacked flavor. Our food was mostly good too, but my cheese – cooked in or not – was too sparse to be included in the name of the item. I’d go back, but probably after they have a little more time to get going. The restaurant is only about a month old and I believe they’ll improve. Except for their location. That’s just about perfect already.

the West End News has reviewed OhNo Cafe, and

My BLT was delicious. It seemed a clever idea to feature shrimp. And the ingredients held-up well on the substantial roll. My friend’s choice: not so much. While he enjoyed his meal, he thought that the mild flavor of the crab cake was lost in, and dominated by, the bread.

The Golden Dish has reviewed the Roma Cafe,

The chicken parm was one of the best—no, make it the best—in Portland. The veal Milanese was also admirable with its fine coating of crisp breading with a touch of lemon. Really everything was lick-your-plate-clean good. And those meatballs were the real thing: rich, tender, large orbs of meat in a hearty tomato sauce with perfectly cooked spaghetti.

Reviews: Rose Foods, Little Giant, North 43, Baharat, Babylon

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

The Golden Dish has reviewed Rose Foods,

And those bagels are a thing of beauty! In the wild wacky world of bagel mania, few bagel bastions have surpassed the classic New York or the Montreal bagel. But after the first bite into Conley’s house-made version, it’s safe to say that he has given us The Portland Bagel—wholly unique and distinctive but authentic as well. At first chew through the crusty exterior what’s revealed is a soft center, chewy, plump and delicious.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Little Giant,

ABVs new venture won me over. We didn’t order lots of food, but what we had was excellent. Their drinks were top notch, cheese ball ab fab, and the burger and pasta both killer. I agree with their coasters that say “If you like good food and nice people, you’ll love Little Giant.” Head there now so I can say “I told you so.”

Portland Magazine has reviewed North 43 Bistro,

Local mussels surprise and delight the moment we dip into their rich broth in the bowl. There’s shaved fresh fennel in the wine-and-shallot beurre blanc, cleverly accented with caramelized nuggets of smoky andouille sausage. With this great combination, Chef Brown has made a common shellfish starter into something to return for.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Baharat,

Baharat’s gorgeous cocktails promise still more compelling juxtapositions of flavor, like the turmeric, cucumber, and the chickpea foam on their rye whiskey Curcuma Sour, or the curry and carrot in the gin-based Garden Party. In fact, one flavor dominated each, tart citrus and sweet carrot respectively. Still, they were nice — as were several of the very reasonably priced wines, like an earthy blend from Lebanon.

The Bollard has reviewed Babylon,

The list of entrées doubles as a geography lesson — you’ll notice how Levantine cuisine has blended with Indian influences to the east. Along with the expected shawarma and shish kabob you’ll find chicken tikka and biriyani. The Iraqi kebab plate is similar to kebab dishes served at Lebanese and Syrian establishments: a pile of fragrant rice mixed with raisins, onions and peas alongside expertly grilled meat, with a side of fresh, lemony salad. Get this instead of the Iraqi plate, which is the same dish, but served with plain saffron rice.

CNT: Portersfield Cider

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Condé Naste Traveler has included Maine’s Portersfield in their list of ciders “that fits into the contemporary dialogue of food and drink while echoing sentiments of yore.”, describing Portersfield as, “vibrant, region-specific ciders is wild Maine fruit that’s been cultivated from heirloom apples”.

Bon Appétit Best 50: The Purple House & Nina June

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Congratulations to chef/owners Krista Kern Desjarlais and Sara Jenkins for their two Maine restaurants, The Purple House and Nina June, being included in the Bon Appétit 2017 list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America.

Bon Appétit will name their choice for top 10 (aka the Hot 10) on August 15th. Check back then to see if either of our home state favorites is selected.

Reviews: Lazzari, Boone’s, El Rayo

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has published a set of reviews of Lazzari written by students in the Telling Room’s Week in Review summer class,

After ordering tomato and basil, pancetta and onion, and margherita pizzas, our group chats a little until our food arrives after about 10 to 15 minutes. It is hot and ready to eat. Everything fits together into a masterpiece of a meal. The black pepper gives the pizza a kick, and the fresh mozzarella melts in my watering mouth. The dessert was vanilla ice cream served in an espresso cup, with shaved mint and dark chocolate on top. I love a good dark chocolate taste, and this one is heavenly. Every taste and every bite at Lazzari bring back memories of being at a streetside cafe in Rome as the beautiful Colosseum towers in from of me. The food is soon gone.

The Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Lazzari,

Lazzari was outstanding. Each part of our meal – drinks, app, and pie shined brightly. All three were perfect summer dining and so good, I would order them in the middle of a snowstorm too. The service was excellent and the overall atmosphere quite enticing. I can’t think of anything at all that was subpar. Go to Lazzari for basic pizza? No, go for an exceptional dining experience.

As the Lobster Rolls has reviewed Boone’s, and

he best part of the lobster roll was the delightfully grilled bun and the side of very tasty, tangy potato salad. No really, that’s the only nice thing I can say about the experience. To think this lobster roll is just about the same price as The Beach Plum. There’s absolutely no comparison.

I often recommend Boone’s for its location and food. I’ll continue to do so… I’ll just steer folks clear of the lobster rolls.

the Press Herald has published a bar review of El Rayo,

While a little bit smaller than the old spot, the new-ish El Rayo on Free Street has lost none of its personality or quality. Stop by for the same margaritas, Micheladas and killer happy hour you remember.