Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Tempo Dulu Pop-Up Dinner (Updated)

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Urban Eye has posted a report from Thursday’s Tempo Dulu pop-up.

But it was the diver scallop with beet jalapeño pineapple gastrique augmented with dollops of fermented soybean and seaweed from Malaysia that elicited the most swoons. The plump and sweet scallop reminded me of a perfectly executed souffle. Ethereal. Effortless. Impossible to pull off at home. And with Klang headed to town, why would you want to?

Though Portland would seem to have reached restaurant overload in 2015, there is always room for a well-executed, elevated dining experience. The time is right for Tempo Dulu. Tick tock!

Updated: Both The Golden Dish and the Portland Phoenix have also posted a reports on Tempo Dulu and the dinner.

IACP Nominations

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Press Herald reporter Meredith Goad has been nominated for a 2015 IACP food writing award in the Personal Essay/Memoir category for an article entitled Forged with an Iron Will about her great-great grandmother’s cast iron skillets.

Review of The King’s Head

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

The Bollard has published a brunch review of The King’s Head.

Although relatively new, The King’s Head has found solid footing among the brewpubs and gastro-bistros of the Old Port. We won’t rush back for brunch — at this price point, there are better options in town — but I look forward to returning to sample appetizers and more beers from their impressive tap list. I’ll probably visit later in the day, when I can enjoy a few pints free of guilt.

Review of Blue Spoon

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Blue Spoon.

Blue Spoon is a relaxed, neighborhood restaurant with a Mediterranean slant. Start with a mezze plate piled with cheeses, terrines and a selection of chef David Iovino’s pickled vegetables. If you crave comfort, ask about the braising pot – a seasonal ragu of slow-cooked meats served with house-made pasta. Or try the chicken under a brick: It’s crispy, juicy and accompanied by irresistible gruyere fritters. Just make sure to leave room for dessert. Blue Spoon may bill itself as a Maine bistro, but the coconut caramel flan is pure, unadulterated Cuban delight.

Reviews: Sur Lie & Otherside Deli

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a review of the Otherside Deli,

I ignored my longing for breakfast when I saw the sandwich board and chose instead the pork schnitzel, a boneless, breaded pork cutlet paired with a tangy egg-and-caper relish, topped with mustard and served on a bulky roll. The pork was tender, the bread incredibly fresh, and the egg satisfied my craving for early-morning fare.

and a bar review of Sur Lie.

Babcock’s definition of a cocktail menu is a mix of pre-prohibition knowledge infused with a quirky modern-day palate. He whips up two or three drinks at once, and can talk you through your food choices as he goes – “start with one or two plates, and then order more from there,” he’ll say. He’ll offer tastes of whiskeys you’ve never heard of and tell you all about the distilling process for each. In other words, Babcock is the real deal. His Grey Ghost cocktail was recently featured on the happy hour menu (4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for $8 (usually $10). Dickel white whiskey is combined with house made apple and pear syrup, angostura bitters and pink peppercorn. This drink will hook you from the first sweet sip – savor it.

Review of Hugo’s

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Our Man on the Ground has reviewed Hugo’s.

Golden raspberries with a chocolate bark are the main ingredients of the next desert which includes a dollop of raspberry sorbet, tiny floral leaves and a smattering of crumble.  Both are displayed on the plate beautifully and tasted as good as they looked.

The imagination that goes into each individual portion of food is truly impressive. I would go to Hugo’s Restaurant again and again.

Review of Otto Pizza

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Otto.

The vibe is casual and the crust memorable at Otto Pizza on Cottage Road in South Portland. Embrace your inner glutton and order the 16-inch Pulled Pork & Mango: It’s sweet and spicy and ample enough to satisfy two or more. Craving classic comfort food? Try the Meatloaf and Mashed Potato, a filling take on a family favorite – minus the ketchup. Otto does offer cannoli for dessert, but it’s the pies that shine here. Consider skipping the sweets and saving room for an extra 12-inch pizza instead.

Review of Congress Squared

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

The Golden Dish has reviewed Congress Squared.

Service is excellent and prices at dinner huddle around the $25 range for entrees. With restaurant week starting next month, this is prime time to reacquaint yourself with Congress Squared’s new chef and its impressive menu of contemporary American fare. All of which makes C2  eminently qualified as a pivotal member of Portland’s Arts District dining.

Where Chefs Eat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

wce2015Phaidon Press collected restaurant recommendations from “more than 600 of the world’s leading chef” for the new edition of Where Chefs Eat. Portland restaurants included are Boda, Fore Street, Gorgeous Gelato, Hot Suppa, Otto Pizza, Pai Men Miyake and Piccolo. Primo in Rockland also made the cut.

James Beard Award Semi-Finalists

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

The list of semi-final nominees for the 2015 James Beard Foundation awards were released today. The 10 Maine-based semi-finalists are:

  • Best New Restaurant – Central Provisions
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Company; Masa Miyake, Miyake; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain and Brian Hill, Francine Bistro
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional – Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Outstanding Baker – Alison Pray, Standard Baking
  • Outstanding Bar Program – Portland Hunt + Alpine Club
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Fore Street
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOGThe names released today are on the so-called ‘long list’. The final list of nominees (the ‘short list’) will be out in March 24th and the awards ceremony will take place May 4th. In a change of pace, the awards ceremony will take place in Chicago this year instead of NYC—a way for the Foundation to emphasize the national nature of the awards and of its mission.

Review of Miyake

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Miyake, granting the Fore Street restaurant 4½ stars.

It may be pricey, but Miyake is the place to indulge in a range of superb Japanese dishes. Try the melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly or the crunchy black seaweed called hijiki that’s served atop cubes of tofu and slices of avocado. If you love sashimi, you’ll find the quality and freshness here unparalleled; order a small platter with eight pieces for dinner or go for broke and ask chef Masa Miyake to prepare a special tasting menu. And don’t overlook the simplest offerings from the kitchen: The house salad and the spicy seaweed salad are among the tastiest in town.

Reviews: The Cheese Iron & Howie’s

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Howie’s,

Howie’s Pub has been around for 12 years and hosts mostly regulars because of its somewhat hidden location. However, it’s a friendly, lively bar, especially on Tuesday nights, and the beer and food selection is decent. Newcomers welcome.

and a review of The Cheese Iron.

The Va Benne Italiano ($7.99) is comprised of Mortadello, provolone, an assortment of salamis, house-made relish and house-made pesto served on a Standard Baking Company baguette. After I ordered it, the woman who was waiting on me asked a glorious question: Would I liked it heated? Would I ever! A few minutes on the press brought my sandwich into sandwich hall of fame territory.

Best 50 Sandwiches: Duckfat & The Cheese Iron

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Men’s Journal has included the Duck Confit Panini at Duckfat and the Bella Mortadella at The Cheese Iron in their list of the 50 Best Sandwiches in America.

To choose the top sandwiches in America, we recruited a dozen chefs and food writer, and took all the parts into account: The bread, filling, toppings, and how it all comes together in that first bite. The only caveats: Burgers aren’t sandwiches (they’re burgers), and likewise wraps, burritos, and hot dogs are out.  Otherwise, if it was between two pieces of bread, it was fair game. Here, a few hundred slices later, are the sandwiches that are worth making room for. 

CNT Eating Guide to Portland

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Conde Nast Traveller has posted a Restaurant Guide to Portland which includes: Caiola’s, Empire, Eventide, Holy Donut, Miyake, OhNo Cafe, Petite Jacqueline, Piccolo, Slab, Zapotecca.

Bar Review of Liquid Riot

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Liquid Riot Bottling Company.

In’finiti was a local favorite to some, and to others, a place where the food was too expensive and the atmosphere somewhat ill fitting for a brew house. However, with the leveling of the dining room and the new name, these changes help to appeal to a more casual, community-centered pub crowd.

Review of Bramhall

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

The Bollard has reviewed Bramhall.

Disappointments aside, we couldn’t honestly say we weren’t sated and happy by the end of the meal. Maybe it was the candlelight, or the whiskey’s warm glow, but we promised ourselves we’d return.

Food Network: Portland Eating Tour

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The Food Network has published an eating guide to Portland. Included are: Bite into Maine, Blue Rooster, Duckfat, Emilitsa, Eventide, Five Fifty-Five, Lolita, Pai Men Miyake, Small Axe, The Well.

Review of Walter’s

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Walter’s.

Walter’s may be tucked into the first floor of a nondescript office building, but chef Jeff Buerhaus’ cuisine – incorporating recipes and techniques from Asia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean – is highly creative and intensely flavorful. Don’t miss the Crispy Wild Oysters – among the finest in town – or the saffron-laced bouillabaisse that often appears as an appetizer special. Or try any of the Asian-inspired dishes that the chef likes to cook, from a steak bulgogi bowl reminiscent of Korean bibimbap to salmon with a Thai curry coconut sauce; like many of the dishes here, they are beautifully seasoned and deeply satisfying.

Reviews: Maps Cafe, Bao Bao

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Maps Cafe,

But there’s a distinct charm to Maps that will compete with other Portland bars, no matter what. In addition to their on-the-money grilled cheeses, Walker wakes up early most days to bake one of her grandmother’s cake recipes. She’d often bake with her grandma as a girl, and cake at the bar was another European element Walker wanted to play up. The carrot cake has become a customer favorite.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bao Bao.

After all was said and eaten, were quite pleased. Our food came to 46 bucks with tax and tip. It seemed quite reasonable for 24 dumplings, a slaw, and a glass of wine. I found the Kung Pau the most tasty, but all of our food was very good. I definitely recommend Bao Bao if you love dumplings.

Review of Ebb & Flow

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Ebb & Flow.

If looks could kill, Ebb & Flow would be slaying customers in the Old Port. The dining room is attractive, the presentation colorful and the tableware sparkling and elegant. But three months after opening, the Mediterranean-inspired cooking here remains uneven. Play to the kitchen’s strengths and order a selection of mezze (small dishes) served with the outstanding house-made pita. Or go for dessert and share a plate of sugary galaktoboureko, the chef’s lighter version of a traditional custard-and-phyllo confection that tastes like food for the (Greek) gods.