Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: El Tipico & East Ender

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The Bollard has reviewed El Tipico,

All the main courses (platos principales) come with either the aforementioned yellow rice and black peas or white rice and pinto beans. I recommend the former. I also suggest you wash everything down with a cold beer (my friends and I drank Modelo), though Tipico also offers an enticing selection of natural fruit juices, including passion fruit and tamarindo (made with tamarind). Bring cash for a tip (the credit card machine isn’t set up to process tips), an empty belly and an open mind. You’ll leave a believer.

and the East Ender.

The other entrées, including a smoked brisket hash ($12) and a salmon gravlax plate ($13), were also good, though nothing topped the high bar set by the killer first course. We all left the East Ender happy and full. And really — can you put a price on that? Yes, of course you can. And it’s way less than dinner.

Review of El Rayo

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed El Rayo.

El Rayo was great and always is. Their prices are reasonable, their food is delicious, and the service is where it should be. The outdoor area is really fun and with umbrellas at the tables you don’t have to worry about getting scorched by the sun. For added outdoor cooling, the drink menu lists a host of refreshing cocktails. The bands that play there add even more happiness to your Mexican merriment and they don’t play at ear-bleed levels so you can actually converse with others at your table. I recommend El Rayo year round, but if you really want to party, head there on a sunny summer day and enjoy all it has to offer.

Uncle Andy’s Before, During and After

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a first person account of his time as a volunteer on the Uncle Andy’s Restaurant Impossible construction crew and impressions of the South Portland diner from  before and after the renovations.

I made a return trip to Uncle Andy’s shortly after the renovation. I really wanted to see how the place was holding up. I wondered if it was possible that they would just magically turn everything around as there were so many changes made which I’m sure included lots of happenings that I never saw including training of the staff and the like.

Reviews: Corner Room, Thurston’s & Blue Rooster

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Drink-up and Get Happy has published a bar review of The Corner Room,

Overall happy hour at The Corner Room was a great deal. Excellent prices on drinks and delicious, plentiful free food make it a great place to go for any occasion, though if you are going to be a larger group make sure to get there early or you may not have space for you. You’ll leave having enjoyed a great evening without shelling out much cash at all.

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed the latest chef series hot dog at the Blue Rooster,

The baked white beans (you can see a glimpse of them on the right-hand side of the hot dog in the masthead image) was almost like a bean mash. With the mustard, radicchio and the red onions delivering much more assertive flavors, I think that the idea behind the beans was to offer something texturally distinctive. For me, it worked. And, much like last week’s Mac & Cheese dog, the combination of “franks & beans” brought back childhood memories of summertime picnics and family gatherings.

and The Golden Dish has reviewed Thurston’s Wicked Good Burgers.

Ultimately fast-food burgers have a distinctive taste no matter what’s in them. Thurston’s offers a decent burger, great ice cream and a comfortable place in which to have a quick, inexpensive meal.

BFC: Blind Lobster Roll Tasting

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

For the latest episode of Booze, Fish & Coffee hosts Bo Bigelow and Brian Ericson conduct a blind lobster roll tasting.

Bon Appétit & Condé Nast Traveler Visit Maine

Friday, June 27th, 2014

ba201407Bon Appétit & Condé Nast Traveler magazines have both published articles in their July issues about Maine.

According to Bon Appétit’s Genevieve Morgan, “Maine…has finally managed to become, well, cool.” She goes on to write,

For decades, visiting Maine meant a predictable diet of lobster and lighthouses. What’s happening today up and down the coast goes way beyond that. Artisans and farmers have taken the local-everything model and run with it, resulting in a place like nowhere else. It’s a mix of new, native and “from away”. It’s about seafood that makes chefs giddy. It’s a Portland restaurant scene that crushes tasting menus and Japanese bar food. It’s roadside markets piled with candy-sweet strawberries and foraged black trumpet mushrooms. It’s island inns that nail the perfect mix of rustic and sophisticated. Add in some of the best brewers on the planet, and the state’s ubiquitous slogan, “The way life should be,” starts to sound pretty legit.

Bon Appétit highlights Eventide, Palace Diner, Oxbow, Rising Tide, Central Provisions, Primo, Tao, Tandem, Bunker, UFF, Hunt & Alpine and more. The article isn’t online yet but should be on newsstands shortly.

Condé Nast Traveler highlights Chebeague Island Inn, Eventide, Fore Street, Standard Baking, Rabelais and others. You can see the full article online.

Review of DiMillo’s

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Haddockquest has reviewed the fish sandwich at DiMillo’s.

There’s no getting around the heavy level of kitsch associated with DiMillo’s, but you don’t show up rolling your eyes. Instead, you walk through the power-operated doors into the ship’s gaudy lobby and finally its dimly-lit bar, put on a small buzz (scotch seems appropriate) and revel in the sheer joy shared by those old ladies picking through their lobster rolls. Then, you bite into a haddock sandwich and smile — even if you’re just a little bit confused as to why.

Review of Slab

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Blueberry Files has published a first look review of Slab.

The salumi comes with slices of Sicilian summer sausage, an herbed soft cheese spread, muffuletta relish (spicy olives, cauliflower, peppers, and carrots), and addictive crispy slices of Luna bread. Other starters include an orange sage hummus, served with Luna bread wedges and Focaccia with olives and oil.

Review of Thurston’s

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed Thurston’s Wicked Good Burgers.

As I was finishing my meal, I was pleased to see that Thurston’s was doing fairly brisk business, with plenty of folks coming in to eat for the first time, and many others inquiring about take-away menus. By the time I departed, the small’ish parking lot was filled to capacity. Provided that the meal and level-of-service I enjoyed is representative of the Thurston’s experience over the long-term, I don’t think they will have any trouble surviving and thriving in this little corner of the universe.

Review of Blue Rooster/555 Hot Dog

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed Blue Rooster.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this hot dog is that even though the mac & cheese is one of the most elegant versions you’ll ever try…enjoying it atop a well-prepared hot dog still elicited memories of those hot dog/mac & cheese skillets so many of us devoured as children. And at $7, this hot dog is a tremendous value. Even if you’re not endeavouring to try all 13 hot dogs in the Chef Series, the Truffle Mac Dog is one that bears a special trip.

This is the fourth in CW‘s ongoing series on the guest chef hot dog series at Blue Rooster.

Review of Central Provisions

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Portland Magazine has reviewed Central Provisions.

I can’t resist the foie gras ($15/22). The intense flavors of the rich, delicate liver are brilliantly balanced with a rose-hip purée, a sprinkling of millet granola, and candied buddha’s hand–a lemony fruit. Ecstasy. Six grilled shrimp a la plancha ($12) with herb olive oil sing back-up to yet another meaty, spicy tapa.

Summer Eats and More

Friday, June 20th, 2014

The new issue of the Portland Phoenix includes some recommendations for summer eats,

Summer in Maine brings a long-awaited flurry of activity. While it’s tempting to recoil into a “locals only” routine to avoid the crowds, dining in Portland is at its finest when it’s warm out. Be strategic about your opportunities for great food within this short season of relative abundance. Here are 10 must-eats for Summer 2014.

and an article about collaborations and foraged foods in Portland restaurants.

The old joke goes, if you want to know what’s going to be popular in Portland in five years, look at what’s happening right now in New York. But what’s closer to the truth is that Portland has been forming — dare we say setting — its own trends all along. Sure, gimmicky things happening here, like putting bacon in a Bloody Mary, were probably done in some Brooklyn bar years ago. But serving farm fresh, local food has always been popular in Maine.

Bar Review of Central Provisions

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Central Provisions.

Central Provisions is one of the best places in Portland to discover new craft cocktails. Bar Manager, Patrick McDonald is known for his encyclopedia-like knowledge of pre-prohibition era spirits and drinks. You’d be hard pressed to stump him. Wine Director, Chris Peterman, is Central Provisions’ own sommelier and can talk enthusiastically about any wine on the menu (and so many more). He’ll make you feel right at home. Central Provisions’ bar scene will not disappoint.

Portland Dining Guide

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Portland Dining Guide I wrote for the June issue of Down East is now available online.

Review of Fishin’ Ships

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Haddockquest has reviewed Fishin’ Ships.

I ended up ordering “The High Thai’d,” described on the menu as “a ginger, Thai basil and chili-battered fish made with Bissell Brothers Substance and served with crunchy sweet potato fries, paired with spicy Thai mayo and lime.” This thing no doubt strays from tradition, but not far enough to lose sight of what it is — a damned good plate of perfectly-fried fish and chips.

Single Sandwich Reviews: Portland Lobster & Blue Rooster

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Haddockquest has reviewed the fish sandwich at Portland Lobster Company,

I can easily see how beers, music and a football-sized platter of fried clams could make for a great afternoon on Portland Lobster Company’s relaxing and picaresque patio, and there’s no way I’d turn down an invite from a friend if I had time at the moment. Once again, however, this blog is 100% GRADE-A ALL ABOUT HADDOCK SANDWICHES and nothing more. Unfortunately, this one didn’t make the cut. 

and Chubby Werewolf has reviewed this week’s guest chef hot dog at Blue Rooster.

Though I’m trying to limit my hot dog consumption to one per week, were I to re-order this hot dog in the future, I might offer to pony-up an extra dollar or two for a double-dose of that Raclette. Either way, the French Connection is a worthy and inventive addition to Blue Rooster’s Summer Chef Series and one worth trying for yourself.

Review of King’s Head

Friday, June 13th, 2014

The Golden Dish has reviewed The King’s Head Pub.

I thought about finishing my drink and to return in a few weeks’ time when this place was up to speed. This being a First Look, however, I stayed and ultimately enjoyed a reasonably good dinner.

Review of East Ender

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Eating Portland Alive has published a brief review East Ender.

I finally ended up ordering the special pizza of the evening, with the hope that it would not be overly hearty and I’d have room to tackle some other dishes. The toppings included pork, kimchi, a mornay (cheese sauce) with sriracha, and cheese curds. Awesome robust flavors in every bite. I wouldn’t have called the crust a traditional pizza dough, but it was still delicious

Review of the Top of the East

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed the Top of the East.

The service at Top of the East is a true standout.  From the moment we walked in we were greeted at the door with large smiles.  Once we chose a table our server, Randa, immediately brought us cucumber water and filled our glasses.  This was delicious and no sooner were we ready to refill our glasses then our server showed up and poured it for us.  She was attentive without smothering and she responded to our questions with a cheerful and informative manner.  We certainly felt like we were getting a star treatment.

Review of the Sloppy Penatzer

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Chubby Werewolf has reviewed this weak’s guest chef hot dog at Blue Rooster.

All in all, the Sloppy Penatzer was a fantastic meal, made all the more memorable by the tasty Thai Iced Tea I paired it with (and which has already become an instant favorite). With two holes now residing on my punch card, I’m wondering if it is too early to petition the good folks at the Blue Rooster Food Co. to make some of these hot dogs permanent additions to their menu. The summer is still young, but the Sloppy Penatzer would be at the top of my list.