Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review of Scales

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Scales.

The fish stew is equally effective in mellowing strong flavors just enough — so that fennel animates rather than dominates the bright roasty tomato broth. The broth, a lovely orange-red, doesn’t pool with oil as so many do. Its richness complements the big pieces of firm swordfish and squid, along with many mussels. And a dish of seared scallops confirmed that Scales can make ambitious and complex dishes from shellfish too. Big chunks of sausage added some salt and fennel and chew, while the scallops themselves were buttery and tender. Pieces of charred endive added a bitter note to the creamy sauce.

First Review of Thai Esaan

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has given Thai Esaan 4 stars.

Diminutive but exceptional Thai Esaan only seats eight people, but it packs an outsized wallop, introducing northeastern Thai (Esaan-style) cooking to Portland. No matter what else you order, be sure to sample at least a few of the regional specialties, especially the robust and comforting kanaa moo grob (crispy pork with Chinese broccoli), and the fragrant, oniony laab gai (ground chicken salad). King of all the Esaan offerings on the menu is the naked-looking khao mun gai (broth-steamed chicken with rice and chili sauce), a dish so perfect in its contrasts and secret scents and flavors that it will haunt your dreams – at least until you can order another serving…

50 Things to Eat in Portland

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Spoon University writer Madeleine Cohen has compiled a list of 50 Things to Eat in Portland.

Often called the food destination in America, a food mecca, “foodie” heaven, and many other food nicknames, Portland is known for having some of the best restaurants in the world. Here’s a definitive list of all of Portland’s classic and famous eats, plus a few extras that everyone should have on their radar.

Sofi Awards: Rogers Collection, Gelato Fiasco

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Two Maine businesses have been recognized by the Specialty Food Association:

Reviews: Solo Italiano, Portland Mash Tun, Sonny’s

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

The Golden Dish and Peter Peter Portland Eater have reviewed Solo Italiano,

We should welcome Solo Italiano to our fold of Portland dining because it’s time has come. The cooking is quite sophisticated with a true lightness of being that completely embraces the eternity of fine dining. [TGD]

the Press Herald has reviewed Portland Mash Tun,

Mash Tun is a relaxed, 40-seat bar on Wharf Street in Portland with 18 rotating drafts including anchor breweries like Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Maine Beer Co., Rising Tide, Allagash and Oxbow almost always on tap. There’s a $6 grass fed burger, other bar food, and $5 mimosas every day.

and Drink Up and Get Happy has reviewed Sonny’s.

Sonny’s is a great place and their happy hour just gives us one more reason among many to go visit it. Don’t worry if happy hour segues right into dinner. They’ve got you covered. Go check them out. You’ll soon find yourself there much more often.

Best Farm to Table

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Travel + Leisure has included Fore Street in their list of the nation’s best farm to table restaurants.

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.