Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Evo, Drifter’s, Bao Bao, Figgy’s, Sip of Europe

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

The 207 Foodie has reviewed Evo,

Evo is a great restaurant that adds a layer of complexity to what some say is an oversaturated market. This style of eating is friendly to sharing, as well as large groups, who are easily accommodated on the mezzanine level. If you love Mediterranean flavors, Evo is a must!

the Press Herald has reviewed the Drifter’s Wife,

Orenda and Peter Hale have created an unforgettable wine bar and shop featuring all organic, hand-harvested wines made by small producers. The 24-seat bar is simple and elegant, with lots of natural light, and intimate two- and four-top tables reminiscent of a corner Parisian café. Food is available, from a warm bowl of warm olives, a Tuscan kale salad, or a plate of spaghetti, to a Friday whole roasted family-style chicken dinner ($85 total feeds four).

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Bao Bao,

We were excited to hear that they have a happy hour that features their amazing deep fried pork buns. You have to be quick though, happy hour at Bao Bao runs for 1 hour only, 4:30 – 5:30 on weekdays (in winter this means Weds-Fri). Pair those buns with a draft beer for $2 off or a $4 glass of house wine. Do yourself a favor and order up two buns. At around $2 each they are a bargain for your taste buds.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Figgy’s,

…I’m fining Figgy’s for unreasonable deliciousness. Go there right away so you can experience what I did. The fun starts with the happy little chill you’ll get when you order, but the party truly begins when the hand reaches through the chicken window and offers you the bag of goods.

and Happy Tummy has provided a comment on the crepes at Sip of Europe.

I ordered a mocha, a savory ham/cheese/mustard crêpe and a sweet banana and Nutella crêpe in subsequent order, in order to savor it all. The crêpes were made on a traditional, round cooking surface and were soft, warm, stuffed full of fresh ingredients and comforting

Reviews: Woodford F&B, Becky’s, The Armory

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Portland Magazine has reviewed Woodford Food & Beverage,

This crossroads destination is truly a bright new gem.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Becky’s,

I go there often for a basic breakfast or lunch where at midday I enjoy a grilled American cheese sandwich on white with a cup of chowder.  Even Becky’s dinner menu has appeal: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a roll, fried fish combos or roast turkey with sausage stuffing for  $11.95

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed the Armory.

Still, the Armory is a great place to get some drinks.  And if you’re there to battle the work week and then get hungry, The Armory is a good place to grab a meal for short money too.

Reviews: Scales, Terlingua, Patisserie, City Deli

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed the happy hour at Portland Patisserie,

It’s a great vibe at the Patisserie and we love a place that is perfect to grab breakfast and lasts right through till dinner. The only thing that would add to the Parisian feel are some bistro tables outside to sit and sip our beverages.

the Press Herald has reviewed City Deli,

The line is sometimes long at City Deli, but it always goes quickly as it’s a well-staffed and well-oiled team. The food court at One City Center isn’t particularly hip or “of the moment,” but it’s comfortable and the food at City Deli makes it a destination for not only those of us who work in the building but a whole mess of Portland High School students and local workers of all kinds.

The Blueberry Files has reviewed brunch at Terlingua, and

The french toast transcended a lot of other versions that are just egg-coated bread. This was custardy on the inside and as you can see, it came covered in fruit, which helped to add interest and keep the dish light.

both Peter Peter Portland Eater and The Golden Dish have reviewed Scales.

The lobster bisque isn’t the typical Sherry-laced butter-rich cup of soup that is the standard in Maine.  Instead the lobster stock is intense, spiked with an acidic touch of tomato and tastes of the sea with a big chunk of lobster meat floating within.  Served with the kitchen’s house-made crackers—everything is made from scratch here—it’s a marvelous cup of soup.


Reviews: Paciarino, Ameera, Terlingua

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a guest review of Paciarino by Portland Pirates goalie Mike McKenna,

Paciarino won’t dazzle you with new or flamboyant dishes, but that’s okay. The menu is filled with satisfying classics. It’s hard to go wrong with pasta, especially if you order a dish that relies on the exceptional Bolognese sauce as one of its building blocks. If Italian wine is your thing, the list is concise but well rounded. Be sure to leave room for dessert.

Drink Up and Get Happy has posted a review of happy hour at Terlingua,

Show up early and you’ll be able to enjoy their happy hour as well! Happy hour runs from 5-7pm and features $5 margaritas. There is often a beer special that changes daily. It’s a small place but they can accommodate medium size parties with no problems. It’s a cozy place with great service.

and the Press Herald has reviewed Ameera Bread.

The kufta had a very nice bit of heat to it, not overwhelming, just sort of warm and welcoming. The lamb was tender and had a smoky, charred flavor from the grill.

The Ameera review also mentions that the owner plans to open a 2nd location in the Public Market House.

2016 James Beard Award Nominees: Rob Tod, Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Brian Hill

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

James Beard Foundation has released the list of nominees for this year’s awards competition. Of the 8 Maine-based semi-finalists announced in February, 3 are final nominees:

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

Maine native Tina Antolini is also a nominee for her work on the Gravy podcast which she produces for the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on May 2nd at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Related information:

Update: Read these two articles from the Press Herald and Bangor Daily News on the chef’s reactions on being nominated.

Reviews: David’s, Baker’s Bench, Abilene, Bruno’s

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Have Budget Will Travel has reviewed Abilene,

I almost want to say this may be my favorite dish ever (it is a little scary to make such a bold statement). Again, it was the sauce that was the start of the dish. I am going to be dreaming of this until I can get another bite.

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Bruno’s,

Overall what started out as great happy hour potential didn’t quite live up to the hope.

Press Herald has reviewed Baker’s Bench,

Not only was it a huge sandwich, it was well-priced and delicious. It was made with roasted turkey (thickly sliced, not deli turkey) and ham on top of a thick slice of American cheese. The bottom slice of toasted Prairie bread – a seedy, whole grain bread – was slathered in mayo. The top half of the sandwich held the lettuce, tomato and bacon. It’s like two sandwiches in one – a BLT on top of a turkey and ham.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed David’s,

The meatloaf arrived at an appropriate interval and I was shocked, but certainly pleased, at it’s heft. The pork and beef mixture was distributed in a significant hunk. It was wrapped in the bacon and had garlic mashed in the basement with mushroom gravy and crisp onions on top.

First Look at Scales

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The Golden Dish has posted a first look review of Scales.

It’s everything we hoped for. This will be one of the most important, archetypal restaurants in New England. Definitely a glittering galaxy of 5 stars.

Reviews: Tomaso’s, Lolita, Terlingua, Zapoteca, Roustabout

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Tomaso’s,

My husband, our friend and I ordered a bar-food smorgasbord. The cheese fries ($5) were salty and soft, buried under a pile of chopped bacon ($2 extra) and topped with a house-made cheese sauce. That same cheese sauce (a secret recipe, heavy on the Velveeta) is used to great effect in the decadent Southern BBQ–style mac and cheese ($5). We had a half order of chicken wings ($6) prepared “dirt” style: fried, dunked in some doctored-up Frank’s RedHot, and then fried again. This gave the wings a crispy, spicy skin that begs the question, Why would you order your wings any other way?

Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed the happy hour at Zapoteca,

Zapoteca is known for its tequila and mezcal selection. They have over 30 tequilas available so their margaritas are definitely a step above your average bar. The special applies to ALL of their margaritas, not just a house mix with well liquor (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so it’s a great opportunity to sample what they serve. With the prices normally running between $9 and $13 it’s not the cheapest happy hour in town, the drinks are amply sized and delicious.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Lolita,

Sometimes the perfect dinner comes along unexpectedly. That was the case at Lolita. After trying to get into the latest sweep of new restaurants, finding each full to capacity, I headed out of the culinary congestion up to Munjoy Hill.

The Bollard has reviewed brunch at Terlingua,

Still, the best meal of the morning was our friend’s Pulled Pork Benedict ($13). The shredded pork was moist and smoky, and the green­-chile biscuit was fluffy and flavorful. If you’ve never had Tabasco hollandaise, hurry over there now and ask for a shot-glass full.

and the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Roustabout.

Roustabout was at its best with the arctic char picatta – a nice idea and well executed. The fish was moist and mild, served skin side up, showing off a lovely sear. It was animated by the sharpness of capers and a creamy, buttery, lemony sauce with a hint of spice. The broccoli raab was aggressively bitter, soaked in butter and spotted with parmesan.

Reviews: Rhum, East Ender, Crooked Mile

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Rhum,

The croque was made with two pieces of focaccia between which was the kimchi. On top were the American and egg. I sliced a piece and drove it at warp speed into my face. It was magnificent. Cheese and egg make anything better, but the soft bread and perfectly spicy veg gave me all the awesome I could handle. The egg was a little runny but not so much so that it was dripping everywhere, which was ideal. As I continued eating it, I just couldn’t get enough of the kimchi which permeated the dish with mild, but ever-present heat.

the Press Herald has reviewed the Crooked Mile Cafe,

I’m already hopelessly devoted to The Crooked Mile on Milk Street in Portland and so when I heard they had opened a second location on Brighton Avenue, going there was essentially like renewing my vows. Though I wondered, would the service be as friendly and speedy? Would the food be as good?

and The Golden Dish has reviewed brunch at the East Ender.

…East Ender uses grass fed sirloin steak procured from Rosemont’s butchery; they pound it thin and coat it in a batter that is deep fried to emerge as crisp as the Colonel’s finest. It’s cloaked in a dark sausage gravy that’s smooth and light. Adorned with two poached eggs and a delicious buttery biscuit that practically melts at first bite, it’s a fine dish with elegance and heartiness.

First Look: Drifter’s Wife

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

The Blueberry Files has posted a first look at Drifter’s Wife.

2016 Beard Award Semifinalists

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

The semi-final list of nominees for the 2016 James Beard Foundation awards were released today. There are 8 semifinalist nominees from Maine:

  • Best New Restaurant – The Honey Paw
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide; Erin French, The Lost Kitchen; Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar; and Brian Hill, Francine Bistro
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional – Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Fore Street
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

The final list of nominees will be released on March 15th, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 2nd in Chicago.

Related information:

Rhum First Look

Friday, February 12th, 2016

The Golden Dish has posted a first look report on Rhum.

Rhum is seriously fun. The food is creatively conceived, with highly sophisticated flavors that are lavishly delicious.  As a lounge, it’s the tops of tikidom!

Reviews: Evo, Union, Lois’ Natural, Congress Squared

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

The Bollard has reviewed Union,

The white bean soup ($10) was fine. Based on the menu’s description, I’d envisioned a hearty dish, but it was a thin purée, drizzled with black garlic oil and peppered with very hard, presumably pickled, lentils. The duck pâté ($14), topped with buttons of sticky marmalade and crisp frills of frisée, was a different story: opulent and rich. Two pieces of warm, ultra-crisp, deep-fried brioche compound the decadence.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Evo,

A softer flatbread accompanied the labneh, a simple yogurt cheese. It is smooth as can be, with an appealing brightness and tang. It was spotted with crunchy herbs and some sharp capers. Shakshuka, a hot dish made with crushed and stewed tomatoes and egg, is not exactly smooth. But it’s dippable in its cast iron bowl, and when the yolk from the egg runs into the herby tomato, things get plenty creamy. It manages to be rich but not heavy, with plenty of bite from garlic and some stewed jalapeno.

Peter Peter Portland Eater and The Golden Dish have reviewed Congress Squared,

Each dish—and there were many—were killer efforts that the kitchen team produced with suavity and assuredness.  The smoked duck breast, for example, over a cunningly devised puree of rosemary with dots of roasted grapes and garlic confit created an arsenal of flavor that put the whole chorus of fine cooking on a high note. The sweet-smoky duck breast soaking up the vivaciousness of the rosemary puree underneath was further complimented by the umami of  sweetly pungent pairing of grapes and garlic confit. [The Golden Dish]

and the Press Herald has reviewed Lois’ Natural.

But my tofu sandwich was so good – fresh and gently spicy – perhaps I’ll stick with it. A bargain at $6.90, it was generously stuffed with lettuce, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and baked, peanut-butter-spiced tofu. It handily avoided the two cardinal sins of commercial sandwich production – the (French sourdough) bread did not get soggy, and the stuffing was not piled up in the center of the sandwich leaving the edges bare and bready.

Reviews: Slab, Top of the East

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Run for Breakfast has reviewed Slab,

I love Slab as a lunch/dinner place, and it seems like restaurants like that often do breakfast/brunch as an afterthought, but definitely not so with Slab. It’s unusual for me, but I think I actually prefer their brunch menu. (But definitely don’t skip it if you’re not here on a Sunday. Go! And, if nothing else, get the classic namesake Sicilian Slab.)

They serve brunch until 8:00 tonight. Would it be weird to go twice in one day?

and The Golden Dish has reviewed brunch at Top of the East.

The brunch flatbread, which I chose, was a fairly large piece of housemade flatbread topped with apple-wood smoked bacon, Gruyere, baby arugula and a pair of organic fried eggs. The bread was buttery and crisp like a thin-crust pizza and the simple layers of ingredients were delicious.

Review of Custom Deluxe

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

imageThe Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Custom Deluxe in Biddeford.

Malz’s tribute to his New England roots – a bean supper ($14) – may be his best entrée. At first glance, it looks ordinary, with a few alarmingly crimson chunks of Maine Reds piled into a bowl with a spoonful of baked beans. But looks are deceiving. The beans are earthy, sugary, complex. And no wonder. Malz cooks them with turnips and carrots and – get this – bottles of Moxie and root beer, then finishes them with miso, the traditional Japanese seasoning made of fermented soybeans. As for the Maine Reds, they’re boiled in dashi, a Japanese broth flavored with fish flakes and seaweed. Underneath the beans, dogs and a few fatty chunks of ham, is a mound of sticky rice showered with sesame seeds. Though a crazy cross-cultural mashup, the dish is as comforting as a warm blanket. I loved it.

This is restaurant critic Jame Scwartz’s last review before stepping down from the job. The paper has begun the search for a candidate to fill the position. If you’re interested in the job contact the paper’s food editor, Peggy Grodinsky.