Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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.

Andrew Ross’ Top 2016 Tastes

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Maine Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Andrew Ross has shared his top dining experiences of the year in today’s Press Herald,

What follows are my top picks in several categories that reflect what I saw, smelled and tasted over the past calendar year in Maine. Some come from fine dining, and some from little takeaway spots across the state. But all of them represent food memories that have stuck with me – some of which I hope will linger far beyond the closing hours of 2016.

Drifters Wife is his choice for Best Restaurant.

Reviews: Big J’s, Sea Glass, Farm Stand, LFK, Great Lost Bear

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

The Maine  Sunday Telegram has reviewed Big J’s Chicken Shack,

The Portland Hot is a sticky, sweet and mildly spicy hybrid that combines flavors and textures from both Southern and Korean fried chicken traditions, whereas the Nashville Hot is a pretty faithful rendition of the old classic. It’s also the best of the three, with a lava-hot attack and a slow, numbing tingle that warms you as you eat. It is especially tasty with the Hong Kong-style bubble waffle and Maine maple syrup. Every bit as good is the Brussels and kohlrabi slaw, with sweet raisins, apple and a curry-flavored dressing – not the sort of side dish you might expect from a simple chicken shack

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Sea Glass,

Andrew Chadwick became the new executive chef in July, and we were thoroughly impressed when we dined there a week ago. He is about as personable as you could get. After a few moments, I sensed his deep knowledge and love of cooking. He offered us a tasting menu with smaller portions “to give an idea of what we do here.” Well, what he is doing here is magic.

the Press Herald has reviewed The Farm Stand,

The sandwich also had some things I’m not usually big on, like daikon radish and pickled carrot. But both worked really well and overall the sandwich was one of the best I’ve had. The slices of ham were thin and smoky. The thick slice of carrot was a little crunchy, as were the radishes. The jalapeño mayo gave it just enough heat.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed LFK and The Great Lost Bear.

Either way, The Great Lost Bear did it again. Their food was inexpensive and tasty, the atmosphere ultra comfortable, and the service was solid as always. I’m not sure if there are people who haven’t been to GLB, but if you haven’t and are looking for a fairly priced meal in a chill atmosphere and maybe some good beers, they are a great option and they’re large enough that you probably won’t have to wait for a table. But even if you do, it’s worth it.

Reviews: Pai Men Miyake, Boda, The Front Room

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Pai Men Miyake,

It is counterintuitive, but Pai Men’s bowls of noodles are not its strongest dishes. Some, like the Paitan, with its super-concentrated chicken broth, are solid, but others, like the seriously undercooked, brothless Tokyo Abura, or the flat, dilute-tasting kimchi ramen, are lackluster. The small plates, on the other hand, like Brussels sprouts with a fish sauce vinaigrette and loads of cilantro, scallion and mint, are extraordinary. So too, the creamy, crunchy local Maine crabmeat sushi, and the decadent scallop hamayaki.

The Golden Dish has reviewed The Front Room,

This roast chicken was probably one of the best I’ve had at any restaurant in Portland.  It could have been homemade by an accomplished home cook.  It was beautifully burnished and juicy, served over a lusty bed of mashed potatoes and topped with quickly sautéed local spinach.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Boda.

Boda did it once again. They are a spectacular establishment that never ceases to wow me. Their incredible consistency, simply amazing food, and reliable service continue to earn my highest praise. It’s not lost on me that I’ve never had an item I didn’t like there even though I’ve had so many. If you haven’t been, you most certainly must go.

Reviews: Hot Suppa, UFF, Maria’s, Olive Cafe, Veranda Noodle House

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed dinner at Hot Suppa,

There are Cajun items on the menu here, like a wonderful, dark gumbo crammed with seafood and andouille, and even an elegant Pernod-scented Sazerac that purists might call heretical. But you’ll also find Low Country dishes, like the extraordinary Hot Cat, a cornmeal-crusted fillet of fried catfish, served along with shrimp on a runny pool of creamy, buttery grits.

The Bollard has reviewed Maria’s Ristorante,

We’ve eaten too much bread by the time our main courses show up, but dutifully dig in anyway. The baked Rigatoni alla Napoli ($14.95), described on the menu as one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, unchanged since the Kennedy Administration, is classic comfort food: ribbed pasta in tomato sauce, topped with a thin layer of melted cheeses. The spaghettini and meatballs ($15.95) is a similar story, a heaping portion of thin pasta strands slathered in an unobtrusive red sauce with several giant, soft meatballs on top. A dusting of grated parmesan is all this dish needs to achieve its full potential: the Platonic ideal of mid-century Italian-American fare.

the Press Herald has published a bar review of Urban Farm Fermentory‘s tasting room,

When you want to pretend your booze habit is healthy, head here for highly addictive and additive-free pints of hard cider. The tasting room is bohemian and wholesome — perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon tasting session with friends.

and a review of the Olive Cafe, and

My final thoughts on the Olive Cafe are about the atmosphere. It’s right in the heart of the Old Port but is a chill and unassuming spot with gloriously low lighting and kitchen chairs that are close to a version from my childhood. By the time I left, it was filling up, and I was glad to see that. Although it could be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, the food is terrific and affordable.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Veranda Noodle House,

I suggest going to Veranda Noodle House for all your soupy supper needs. This is the perfect time of year for it and their food is excellent. I strongly recommend the items we had, but I’m quite sure they’ve got lots of tasty items for all types of eaters.

Two Portland Eating Guides

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Edible Manhattan left the island to produce this article on What to Eat in Downtown Portland,

The food I had in Portland was bold and imaginative without trying too hard. My friend and gracious host, Anna Stoessinger—a writer, lifelong food lover and native Manhattanite—showed me her favorite bites in the city, With her help, I compiled a list of Portland must-eats with our favorite restaurants and bakeries.

and the Boston Burger Company has produced this guide to where to eat and drink during a 24-hour visit to Portland.

In this week’s post, we are highlighting an East Coast gem, Portland, Maine. Over the past few years, Portland has become a big name in the foodie community and a popular summer spot for a weekend getaway. The restaurant and bar choices are endless so here’s a little help…

Reviews: Shay’s, El Rayo

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

The Press Herald has reviewed both Shay’s,

A no-fuss, few-frills, all-American grill pub located right in Monument Square. An excellent place for people watching during the summer or cozy, chill happy hour drinks in winter. Good for casual dates or grabbing dinner before a show.

and the new El Rayo.

The food remains excellent with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a menu that offers tradition and adventure. I’m a traditionalist. My first visit I ordered the chicken, rice and bean bowl ($8.95). The chicken was lightly grilled with a smoky chipotle sauce and served among a generous portion of rice and beans topped with cilantro, avocado slices and cheese. I was a little surprised that it came in a cardboard bowl and with plastic utensils, but then I realized that this really is a take-out place, and much if not most of the food is prepared to go.

Reviews: Dirigo Public House, Portland Meatball, Union, Bonobo, Sinful Kitchen, Petite Jacqueline

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Dirigo Public House in Yarmouth,

The cider-glazed chicken wings and sweet-savory house salad with spiced almonds are both terrific starters that play well with beer. Don’t miss the eponymous burger, served with a sauce made from smoked onions and tomatoes, and be sure to order it with the onion rings, rather than the overbrowned, underseasoned French fries.

the Press Herald has reviewed the Portland Meatball Company,

Welcome to the Old Port, Portland Meatball Company. To quote “Casablanca,” “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Oh, and one more thing, the hours are incredible. Late-night noshers, this could be your new place.

and published a bar review of Union,

Hotel bars have their own magic, and Union is no exception. While the lobby bar, Inkwell, is decent (better for coffee than cocktails) the restaurant bar seating is much nicer. Reservations are suggested if you want a full dinner, but walk-ins are welcome at the up-market bar.

Portland Magazine has reviewed Petite Jacqueline,

Unable to resist authentic French fare on offer, we order the escargots as an appetizer to share. The snails do not come in their shells (a small disappointment soon forgotten) but instead bathe in a buttery garlic and basil concoction filled with tasty button mushrooms. Baked here (and replenished often by our attentive server), the bread is a traditional French baguette, perfect for dipping in the herbed butter sauce.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Bonobo,

We have no shortage of pizza in Portland. From the plethora of pies from Otto ovens all over Greater Portland to the appeal of the big blocks of luscious pies at Slab and lots of others in between, choices abound. One, though, is in a class by itself—and I don’t mean it stands above the rest but rather is one of those places where it’s all about the specialty pie.

and Run for Breakfast has reviewed The Sinful Kitchen.

 I ended up getting their last order of chocolate caramel stuffed French toast.  It was delicious and rich, and I only managed to eat about 1/4 of it.  My only complaint was that the chocolate overpowered the caramel.  The staff was super friendly, and we headed home with another few days worth of breakfasts.