Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Otto, Baharat, LB Kitchen, Boone’s, Sonny’s, Minato

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

USA Today has reviewed Otto Pizza,

The pizza that wowed me was the three-cheese tortellini, common as a standalone pasta dish but almost never seen as a pizza topping, where it works really well. The top of the pasta gets just a bit crisped in the oven adding a great textural element, and it is all coated with a thick, old school red sauce like your Italian American nonna would make on Sundays.

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Baharat,

It’s exciting to watch food truckers grow their business into something that’s familiar and yet grows the concept of the original truck. Baharat takes the bright, unique flavors of CN Shawarma and gives them a home in East Bayside, where you too will be “all in” at first sip and bite.

The Golden Dish has reviewed LB Kitchen,

My favorite dish besides the Figa bowl is the egg sandwich. It’s made with lightly toasted white bread from Standard, with a really tasty turmeric fried egg with kimchi and cashews, another crunchy element that imparts great flavor and texture.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Boone’s and a mezcal dinner at Sonny’s, and

Despite my one criticism of their menu, I always enjoy Boone’s. I’ve tried a number of different items there and have never been disappointed. They serve solid food, good drinks, and if you go between 4 and 6, you’ll be able to take advantage of some pretty decent happy hour specials. I’ll be keeping them on my list of restaurants to visit, especially in the warmer months when I can sit outside and eat close to the water.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

Perhaps most pleasing and comforting of all is the okonomiyaki. The pancake was pleasantly light on egg and flour and the cabbage had a bit of crunch. Kewpie mayo offered some tang and spice, and a brown sauce some sweet. Flakes of bonito, which curled and swayed eerily as the steam rose from below, joined seaweed in lending some salt and funk.

T&C Portland Guide

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Town and Country has published a visitors guide to Portland.

With terrific, forward-thinking restaurants, stylish independent boutiques, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and cobblestoned streets, Portland is the perfect New England destination for a long weekend. The area is particularly magical in summer, when the weather’s clear and dry, and when delicious eats in the Old Port abound.

Highlighted in the article are: Central Provisions, Duckfat, Eventide, Fore Street, Hunt and Alpine, J’s Oyster Bar, Oxbow and Rising Tide.

OAD Top 200: Hugo’s, Miyake

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Two Maine restaurants are on the Opinionated About Dining list of the Top 200 US Restaurants. Hugo’s is #20 (up from 37 in 2016) and Miyake is at #176 (down from 81 last year).

Reviews: Big Fin Poké, Baharat, Vieux Port Creole, Artemisia, Empire, Pizzaiolo

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Big Fin Poké,

And overall, it is a successful one, with fresh (though mostly not local) ingredients, clear attention to food safety and cleanliness, and an almost infinite number of choices to personalize a meal to your tastes. The poké bowls with short-grain sushi rice and salad bowls can be very good, especially ones with cubed tofu, tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Both the yuzu citrus and spicy aioli sauces are excellent, and do well to cut the flavors of heavier, fattier ingredients like the sake-marinated beef brisket.

the Press Herald has reviewed Vieux Port Creole,

I expected they’d perhaps arrive on a big platter, running together over a mound of rice, but instead when the dish arrived (not exactly swiftly; I’d just checked my watch and 14 minutes had elapsed) each dish was presented in its own little bowl, with a big lump of white, buttered bread on the side. I went fork-to-fork between all three. The jambalaya was definitely too salty on first bite, but as I kept pulling pieces of chicken and andouille from the thick, brown gravy, I realized it was addictive.

the West End News has reviewed Artemisia Cafe and Pizzaiolo,

The Charlie sandwich, served on grilled peasant bread, featured roast beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion and a Gorgonzola aioli, served warm. Both sandwich and side were delicious, save for some stringiness to the meat.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Baharat and Empire,

The amount of food we received in addition to the quality of both food and drinks made it feel like a bargain. The atmosphere was cool and casual and even though they just opened, they’re drawing quite a crowd. I’m happy to say that Bharat was so awesome that I’m already planning what to order on my next visit.

Reviews: Drifters Wife, Lincolns, Baristas & Bites, Shay’s Grill Pub

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Drifters Wife and Shay’s,

Chef Ben Jackson works the small kitchen next to the bar with deft and precision and the food clearly reflects that. Perfectly prepared, fresh food and plenty of wine is what you’ll find there and with a new menu every day, he’s challenged to come up with clever culinary interpretations to keep things interesting. And he does it very well.

the Press Herald has reviewed Lincolns, and Barista and Bites,

With six beers on tap (Allagash White, Harpoon Cider and Peak Organic Pilsner to name a few), one red wine, one white and no mixed drinks more complicated than liquor and a mixer, ordering a drink at Lincolns couldn’t be any less complicated.

Reviews: Baharat, Izakaya Minato, Escobar

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

The Golden Dish has posted the first review of Baharat,

A great addition to Portland dining, this take on Middle Eastern street food is already a hit with the city’s dining cognoscenti in the up and coming East Bayside neighborhood with all of its breweries, coffee houses, farmer’s market and industrial holdovers.

Portland Magazine has reviewed Izakaya Minato, and

Starting Off, we choose the Kinoko Salad ($8). Tender sautéed mushrooms and roasted vegetables rest on a bed of spinach, artfully drizzled with a creamy ponzu dressing. Next up is Okonomiyaki ($10), a cabbage pancake that comes with either mushroom or bacon, depending on your conscience. Filling and rich, this is exotic comfort food. Equally irresistible is the Sakana Misoyaki ($7), broiled seasonal fish marinated in miso.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Taco Escobarr.

It took some time, but I finished the burrito and settled my tab which came to somewhere around $25 bucks prior to tip. Taco Escobarr is a fun place to go. While their happy hour specials aren’t anything to write home about, it’s the drinks and the atmosphere that make it a worth while place to stay for a spell. And though I had a slight issue with the temperature of my food, it was really solid otherwise.

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.