Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews: Scales, Sisters Gourmet Deli, The Front Room, David’s 388

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Scales,

Open since early March, Scales is the long-awaited 140-seat restaurant created by Portland chef Sam Hayward and veteran restaurateur Dana Street. Located on the Wharf right next to the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal, Scales is a relaxed but elegant fish house with a raw bar, hot and cold dishes, sea-inspired cocktails, a great beer selection and a hardy wine list created by Michael Burke.

and a review of Sisters Gourmet Deli.

We tried two sandwiches, the Ambrosia and the Two Little Pigs, both heated up in a panini press. The Ambrosia was filled with chicken, cucumber, roasted red peppers, feta, sun-dried tomato, hummus and spinach. I thought this one could probably lose the sun-dried tomato, which felt like it was one ingredient too far, but otherwise the flavors were good. The chicken was tender, and I especially liked the hummus, which lent some creaminess to what was otherwise a sandwich with a lot of crunch.

The Golden Dish has reviewed The Front Room,

Overall it was a fine, wholesome dinner, fairly priced at about $50 all in and I’d definitely return for its well-made home-style cooking–especially the meatloaf wrapped in bacon that’s still on the menu as well as other stick-to-the-ribs fare.  Next time I might also indulge in dessert and dig in to the kitchen ‘s  super brownie topped with ice cream and hot fudge.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed David’s 388.

Outside of the meal pacing, I really enjoyed David’s 388. I felt the menu itself was well thought out and the food was very solid from start to finish. My heavy starter paved the way for a more subtle, but exceptionally tasty entree that had some great flavor pairings wrapped up into a single dish. My wife’s food was also nice, and though she opted for lighter fare, it was a fanciful duo of snack and soup that saturated the palate with happiness. The meal ran up a tab of about $65 prior to tip. It obviously would have been a little more if she had ordered an entree, but still would have been very reasonable.

Yankee Best of New England

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Yankee magazine has released the results of their Best of New England editor’s choice awards.

Included in the list are Hot Suppa (breakfast), Back Bay Grill (fine dining), Portland Patisserie (patisserie), MDI Ice Cream (ice cream), The Well (farm to table), Petite Jacqueline (evening in Paris), and Caiola’s (neighborhood restaurant).

Bon Appétit: Guide to Portland

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

imageBon Appétit has published a city guide to Portland in the June issue which highlights many of the newer eating establishments in town.

Did someone say summer Fridays? It’s three-day-weekend season, but a short trip is no time to tackle a giant like SF or NYC, where you won’t get your bearings before heading home. Instead you want a smaller city where you can hit every great restaurant without getting near a rental car or subway…In 2016, that spot is Portland, Maine, which has all the crunchy fried clams and tugboats of a classic New England getaway, along with the dining chops of a larger place.

Featured in the article are: Central Provisions, Drifter’s Wife, Duckfat, Dutch’s, East Ender, Eventide, Maine & Loire, Oxbow Brewing, Rhum, Scales, Tandem Coffee + Bakery, Tempo Dulu, Terlingua, The Honey Paw.

Bon Appetit on The Holy Donut

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Bon Appétit has given a ringing endorsement of The Holy Donut.

The potato doughnut alone is worth the trip to Portland, just make sure you hit the shop early, as doughnuts can sell out well before lunchtime. What once started as a small kitchen operation for Kellis—selling a dozen potato doughnuts a day to the local coffee shop—has turned into a veritable pastry business, selling a million doughnuts a year between its two locations in the city.

Global-Inspired Beer Restaurants

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Draft magazine has included The Honey Paw in their list of 10 New Global-Inspired Beer Restaurants.

To select beers that jive with this varied, built-for-sharing menu, the team went decidedly nonlocal with the tap selection, bringing in drafts from Belgium’s De La Senne and St. Bernardus alongside bottled beer made anywhere from Japan to Colorado. The exotic beers, vibrant flavors and even the seating are designed to feel unlike anything in Portland…

Reviews: Treehouse, Isa, Saltbox, Back Bay Grill

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Treehouse,

It is no surprise whatsoever to hear that a cook (Gilman is self-taught and refuses to call himself a chef) with such a strong visual sensibility would take the time to plate his food in a style that mimics the natural, almost wild, design of the dining room. That untamed aesthetic extends to other aspects of the restaurant as well: “I create a space that the crew gets to come play in. We all get to do what we love to do and they make up their job as they go along,” he said. Somehow, improbably, it all works – the staff seem happy and the dining room is nearly full every night. So what if normal rules don’t apply at The Treehouse? That’s exactly what makes you want to come back.

the Press Herald has reviewed the Saltbox Cafe,

I started with the crab cake croissant sandwich ($7.95), featuring a hand-made crab cake, a fried egg, shaved red onion, lemon ginger bearnaise sauce and Gruyère cheese on a warm croissant. Sounded a little odd to me, but one bite changed my mind. The crab came through, and was not overpowered by the egg or the cheese. The sandwich was warm, creamy and went down very easily.

The Golden Dish has reviewed Isa,

While other restaurants in town cook up the new and novel, Isa sticks to the basics with a distinctive coddling of cooking techniques and presentation that make their food special.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed The Back Bay Grill.

I think it would be accurate to say that Back Bay Grill’s food was WOW-worthy and the service this time around was what I expected it to be – just brilliant. Now I see the reason why they are a well respected leader in the ever-growing, ever-outstanding food world that Portland offers – because they do pretty much everything right. The atmosphere is also relaxed and appropriate for both a chill, romantic dinner or a slightly more festive “girl’s night out”, as the party sitting next to us seemed to be having.

2016 Phoenix Best of Portland Awards

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has released the results from their 2016 readership awards poll. The Phoenix received nearly 8,000 votes across several dozen categories.

You can see the full list of results online. There are categories 30+ food categories from Best Asian Restaurant(Pai Men Miyake) to Best New Restaurant(The Honey Paw) to Best Restaurateur (Jason Loring).

Portland Food Map won both the Best Blog and Best Food Blog categories. Many thanks to all of you who voted for the site!

2 Reviews of Woodford F&B

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Woodford Food & Beverage,

Woodford Food & Beverage bills itself as a neighborhood bar and dining room, but it is a sophisticated American bistro serving brasserie classics that reflect influences from across the globe. Take advantage of the affordable and well-selected house wines offered by the glass and carafe – the Zweigelt in particular. Start by sharing an order of the bacon-topped deviled eggs, and then split one of the substantial salads, such as the beet salad with preserved cherries. Leave room to dive into brasserie standards like the super-juicy roasted chicken, the braised pork shank or tri-tip steak…

as has the Bar Guide column in the Press Herald.

With craft cocktails and a menu of modernized American favorites, Woodford Food & Beverage is a fresh new face in an old Portland neighborhood. At the stylish yet comfortable bar, you’ll find residents of surrounding Oakdale who’ve strolled over for a glass of wine, peninsula dwellers looking for a change of scene and suburbanites drawn by the buzz – and the free parking. It’s smart, fun and feels familiar the moment you walk in the door.

Reviews of Crooners and Chez Okapi

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The May issue of The Bollard includes a breakfast review of Crooners and Cocktails,

I ordered the Chef’s Special Panini of the Day ($14), a warm sandwich of speck (a smoked, cured Italian ham), gruyere cheese, tomato, arugula and raw onion, the bread pressed to deliver a satisfying crunch. The flavors were excellent, though I would have liked something sweet (like a fig jam or fruit purée) as a counterpoint to the salty meat and bitter greens.

a dinner review of Chez Okapi,

Kabata’s Congolese cuisine is minimalist fare, seasoned with restraint. The bone-in, bite-sized pieces of chicken and goat were rubbed with cayenne and other spices, then grilled. Being Americans raised on BBQ, we missed having some sort of dipping sauce, but the meats didn’t really need it. Their innate flavors shone through.

and an article on the growing trend of using fruit as a beer brewing ingredient.

The obsession with hops that accompanied the IPA craze has made it possible for guys to order a pineapple-flavored beer at a crowded bar without a hint of embarrassment. And brewers of the best varieties now eschew fake flavorings in favor of fresh fruits or purées that give their beers a bright character. The improvement in taste has been dramatic.

Reviews: Emilitsa, Woodford F&B, Hot Suppa

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Emilitsa,

Emilitsa serves high-end renditions of Greek classics in a tiny, quiet space right in the heart of downtown Portland. Chef Niko Regas took command of the kitchen from his father, Demos Regas, in the past year and has proven through his cooking that the decision was a good one…The grilled fish is a great entrée choice, and the traditional Greek herb-rubbed lamb chops and their oniony, potato-parsnip mash accompaniment are not to be missed. Wines are all Greek and are generally good. Our pick is the light and floral Sigalas white, also available by the glass.

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Hot Suppa,

The first time I tasted Hot Suppa!’s fried green tomatoes I fell in love. They are double battered before being fried, and the batter is well-seasoned. Once cooked, the crusty outside combines perfectly with the soft tangy tomato inside. Their addictive remoulade of mayonnaise, capers, cilantro and a dash of hot sauce (with some other spice I can’t quite figure out) has me craving these often.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Woodford F&B.

From the drink to the dessert, they produced a stellar spread. I felt the service was particularly good too. Our waiter alone was top notch, but the addition of host and hostess assisting at times provided a great team to take care of us. I would highly recommend Woodford F & B.

Reviews: Veranda Noodle House, Saltbox Cafe, Union, Crooners & Cocktails, Pizzaiolo, Lolita

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Veranda Noodle House,

At their new restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland, Hai Pham and Sonka Nguyen offer more than a hundred dishes that represent the most popular appetizers and mains from their two original East Deering restaurants. Skip the Thai dishes, with the exception of the drunken noodles. Opt instead for something from the Vietnamese side of the menu: in particular, a bowl of the satisfying beef pho, or even better, one of the fantastic grilled meat vermicelli noodle buns. The soft shrimp spring rolls are also worth a try, and are a light, fresh choice for a day when you’re feeling peckish and the weather outside is warm.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Saltbox Cafe,

In short, Glatz’s crab-cake croissant was delicious, and it’s mostly thanks to a great combination of high-quality ingredients. The crab cake itself is homemade, and is full of flavor; probably because Glatz adds in spices and minced veggies with the crab meat instead of just bread-crumbs. The grilled croissant was crispy and flaky, yet warm and soft. The medium-done egg in the middle added some density to the sandwich. The melted Gruyere cheese added a level of complexity, one absent in breakfast sandwiches that just feature American cheese. And the shaved red onion paired well with the lemon ginger bearnaise it was smothered in. Overall, it was a satisfying sandwich, with levels of flavor and a uniquely Maine twist.

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Union,

Along with thinly shaved fennel were feta cheese, smoked almonds and compressed honeydew melon. I had never tried compressed fruit, but I am a big fan of the concept now. It intensified the flavor of the melon and was exquisite. The peppery arugula, the salty feta and almonds and the light anise flavor of the fennel were all balanced with the sweetness of that melon.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Crooners and Cocktail,

Moving on to my sides, I went in for the mashed and found the soft, creamy potatoes to be delicious – not overly burdened by truffle cheddar, but simply and appropriately doused with it to transform what otherwise would have been a very basic preparation. The Brussels – same as in the eggs – were practically divine with their gravy of which I found the sweet onion played up the natural flavor of the green near-spheres while the bourbon added a bit of “how’s your father?” to the sassy side dish. A bite of my better half’s risotto revealed a masterful spring spread with awesome fresh basil and a blend of creamy greenery.

the Press Herald has reviewed Pizzaiolo,

Well with this cheese slice, the cheese and sauce perfectly meshed.

The mushroom and hamburger slice had large slabs of meat, cooked just right. I especially liked the Buffalo chicken slice, which had a lighter red sauce with a nice amount of heat to it.

and Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Lolita,

We loved our tapas so much that we decided to order up some more drinks and dive into the regular menu offerings for dinner. Absolutely a great decision. From a creamy citrus accented Burrata to a standout frisee salad everything was excellent. Put Lolita on your regular rotation. You will not be sorry.

Review of Roustabout

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Roustabout.

…Roustabout is an Italian-American restaurant that offers new twists on traditional dishes. Kit Paschal’s beverage program is not to be missed, including a great selection of cocktails and beers and a moderately priced wine featuring almost all European bottles, with a few natural and biodynamic wines in the mix. Chef Anders Tallberg’s menu features several top-notch starters, including intensely flavored arancini and a decadent garlic soup. Order at least one of the pastas – we suggest the bolognese or the lasagna (which is vegetarian), as well as a bowl of the cioppino with its mussels and large chunks of fish…

This is the first MST review by restaurant critic Andrew Ross.

First Review of Hero

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

The Press Herald has reviewed Hero.

Intention and execution are two different things, though. I’ve spoken with more than one person who wasn’t bowled over by the sandwiches, and I have to admit that the one that I had was good, but not great…I’ll be giving it another try soon. Vegetarians, if you haven’t tried it yet, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the creative options.

Review of Union

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Down East has reviewed Union.

Both of our mains were showstoppers. My beef tenderloin was served with lion’s mane mushrooms and fingerling potatoes under a truffle cream, all fashioned into a sort of log across the plate, with the two fork-tender beef slices capping each end, an earthy-savory revelation, like a walk in a dark woods. By contrast, the roasted hunk of cod was as bright and light as a winter morning. Served with mussels and a twirl of pasta, the whole affair perched on a succulent slab of roasted fennel.

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