Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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.

First Review of Sichuan Kitchen

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Eatcentric Me has reviewed Sichuan Kitchen.

I will be returning over and over again for the dan dan noodles, but I am also thrilled about getting some of the other dishes again as well as trying others! Thank you, Sichuan Kitchen. You’ve filled a hole in the food culture scene of Portland, and you did it without sacrificing the flavors, integrity, and taste that makes Sichuan food so tantalizing. 

Sichuan Kitchen is located at 612 Congress Street opposite the State Theatre building. Here’s a link to their menu.

First Look at The Purple House

Monday, January 16th, 2017

The Golden Dish has published a first look at The Purple House.

From early morning until 11:00 AM you’ll literally join a crowd who are already jamming this charming café for the Montreal style bagels that owner/chef Krista Kerns Desjarlais has hand-rolled and baked in the brick wood oven, which imparts a very particular patina to America’s favorite breakfast bread. 

Best Greek Restaurant: Emilitsa

Monday, January 16th, 2017

TimeOut has included Emilitsa in their list of the Best Greek Restaurants in the USA.

Chef Demos recently handed the back-of-house reigns over to son Niko, a Jean-Georges alum making his mark with reinvented Greek cooking. The menu has gotten a refresh—there are now lamb ribs glazed in coriander and citrus and grilled Nova Scotia swordfish topped with sweet peppers—but Emilitsa’s original spirit and inspiration remain untouched. Grandma would be proud.

Reviews: Toroso, Pho Co, Sonny’s, Treehouse

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Toroso,

To a great extent, her approach works well, especially in standout dishes like umami-rich lamb albondigas, and tender, plancha-seared asparagus spears with grated cured egg yolk to add a luxurious, savory character. Seasoning issues (both too much and too little, depending on the dish) pop up from time to time and drag down otherwise promising dishes, like ras el hanout-spiced cauliflower.

the Press Herald has published reviews of Pho Co.,

It was startling. The typical pho broth is thin and lightly flavored; really it’s just the medium for the lovely rice noodles and chicken and herbs and peppers to soak in. This broth was rich and sweet with ginger. This broth could stand on its own. I haven’t stopped thinking about this broth for the last 24 hours.

and of Sonny’s,

Latin American flavors dominate the menu in this Art Nouveau-inspired Old Port restaurant. The cocktail list is the star of the show, but there’s a good selection of wine and beer, too. Good for happy hour, brunch, dinner and late-night snacks.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed The Treehouse.

The Treehouse delivered magnificent food once again and I got to truly enjoy every morsel. The waitress was superb and the atmosphere is one of the better scenes in Portland. Check them out this winter as their warm, cozy room will keep you comfy despite the cold Maine weather.

First Look at Tipo

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The Blueberry Files has posted a first look at Tipo,

Tipo, the neighborhood restaurant from Central Provisions owners Chris and Paige Gould, opened last night, serving wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, and small plates. We went for an early dinner anticipating a crush of people, but found a pleasant, steady flow of customers in the open, well-lit space…Tipo is sure to be a hit with the neighbors. Even those used to dining on-peninsula should venture out to this relaxed neighborhood spot.

Reviews: Owl & Elm, Salty Sally’s

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Owl & Elm,

The family-friendly pub serves a smart selection of mostly local beers, both on tap and by the bottle, as well as cocktails, like the Lulu ($9), a dealer’s choice drink that changes daily but always includes tequila. Food at Owl & Elm falls squarely under the rubric of classic pub fare, with some weak dishes, like an unbalanced seafood stew, as well as some very strong ones, like spicy buffalo cauliflower, and hearty, slow-braised steak served over crisp French fries. Owl & Elm might not be the place to come for a quiet meal, but it is a great spot for a burger and a beer with local patrons of all ages.

and The Bollard has reviewed Salty Sally’s Bar and Grille.

On the plus side, we really felt welcome at Salty Sally’s. The owner and our server were both happy to answer our questions and everyone seemed to be in a great mood. I’d definitely come back another time for a couple drinks or a late-night burger fix, but I’ll look elsewhere for breakfast. It’s a new year, friends. Let’s resolve not to settle for anything less than excellence in 2017. We owe David Bowie at least that much.

Best Pizza in Maine

Friday, January 6th, 2017

First We Feast has included Slab in their list of the 50 best pizzerias in the country.

Wetter, more doughy, and about a half bigger than your typical Sicilian slice, each inch-thick slab is an airy cloud of super-moist and fluffy trapped-bubble focaccia topped with oozing, just-melted cheese continents that are separated by tiny rivers of sauce.

Reviews: Caiola’s, Espo’s

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Portland Magazine has reviewed Caiola’s,

Next up is the yellowfin tuna ($26), a plateful of perfection. The slightly seared medallions melt in our mouths, along with an enticing concoction of cauliflower, baby artichoke, watermelon radishes, and brown butter with smoked paprika oil. “This is the best fish I think I’ve ever had,” declares my companion. The friendly Wren even chats about how we might prepare this ourselves at home.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Espo’s.

In addition to Espo’s reasonable prices and monster portions, the food is really good. It’s not extraordinarily inventive, but it doesn’t need to be. They serve up traditional Italian with high quality ingredients.