Under Construction: Izakaya Minato

May 23rd, 2016

Elaine Alden and Thomas Takashi Cooke have leased 54 Washington Ave, the space next to Terlingua, where they plan to open Izakaya Minato (instagram). Minato is the Japanese word for “port”.

The couple moved to Portland late last year from San Francisco where Cooke had been the head chef at Tsunami, a sushi restaurant. They recently completed a 3-month stay in Japan where he staged at an Izakaya restaurant in Tokyo called Tsumamina.

Alden and Cooke are aiming to create “a fun, casual place to go gather with friends for drinks and food” for dinner, and may also serve lunch.

Izakaya Minato will be joining to a number of new restaurants and other food businesses on Washington Ave including that have opened in the last couple of year: Oxbow Brewing, Terlingua, Hardshore Distilling (under construction), Drifter’s Wife, Maine & Loire, Flying Fox Juice Bar (under construction), and Roustabout.

This Week’s Events: Working It, Mast Landing, Bunker Beer Dinner

May 23rd, 2016

imageWednesday — there will  be a wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Mast Landing.

Friday — Black Tie is holding a Bunker Brewing beer dinner, and Oxbow is holding L’Hommage, a “celebration of European farmhouse ales”.

Saturdaythe Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market.

Sunday — Oxbow is host Working It, a live storytelling event that will feature Greg Mitchell from Palace Diner, Maisie DeGoosh from Bard Coffee and other presenters from the restaurant industry, and products from a number of local vendors will be on sale at the weekly Crofters & Artisan Market.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.


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

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.

Cellardoor Tasting Room Open (Updated)

May 22nd, 2016

CellardoorwineryThe new Cellardoor Winery (website, instagram) tasting room on Thompson’s Point opened on Saturday. The 5,000 sq. ft. space includes a long tasting bar, a retail shop, and a separate dining room.

The tasting room is scheduled to be open today 11 am – 6 pm.

Update: For more information see this article from The Blueberry Files.

Trey Hughes

May 20th, 2016

TreyHughesHunt & Alpine bar manager Trey Hughes has been selected to participate in a competitive apprenticeship program at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail conference. Hughes was successful in competing against 600 bartenders from over 13 countries to fill one of the 40 open positions.

Forty accomplished bartenders from around the world were selected to learn alongside some of the world’s most respected bartenders and cocktail experts as they work the seminars and large-scale events at Tales of the Cocktail® 2016. These first-time apprentices will be joined by an experienced group of managers, assistant managers and leaders who will use their apprentice experience in leading this year’s program.

Photo Credit: Meredith Perdue

Yankee Best of New England

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

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.

Under Construction: Salty Sally’s Bar and Grille

May 18th, 2016

Chef David Mallari, owner of The Sinful Kitchen and The Pig Kahuna, has announced plans to take over 953 Congress Street where he will open Salty Sally’s Bar and Grille (facebook) in June.

What will the menu be like?
This will be a bar and grille type place. Very casual with some new dishes and old stand-bys. Most importantly there will be a FULL bar with 4 taps! There is a sample menu on our Facebook page.

What will the hours be like?
To start we will most likely be open 7 days a week. 4-Close weekdays and 12-Close weekends. We will be adding lunch hours as we get settled.

Mallari has posted a draft menu on facebook.

For additional reporting on Salty Sally’s read this article from the Press Herald.

Bon Appetit on The Holy Donut

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.

Scales and Chef Mike Smith

May 17th, 2016

The Bagor Daily News has published an article about Scales and the waterfront seafood restaurant’s chef Mike Smith.

The 32-year-old Old Orchard Beach native is no stranger to seafood, restaurant life or hard work. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, worked in Boston and Napa Valley, yet his path to the helm of this kitchen began earlier, and closer to home.

Under Construction: Brea Lu Relocating

May 17th, 2016

The Press Herald reports that Brea Lu will be relocating from Forest Ave.

If the location he wants works out, the new Brea Lu will no longer be in Portland but will be “very close,” DeLuca said, hinting that it would be just outside the city limits. The possible new site used to be a restaurant, but it needs a lot of cosmetic work, DeLuca said. It has the potential for outdoor seating and parking “which was a big problem for us (on Forest Avenue) and a big complaint from our customers.”

This Week’s Events: El Corazon, Solo Italiano, Neyers Wine Dinner

May 16th, 2016

elcorazonbaobaoMondayEl Corazon is serving a pop-up dinner at Bao Bao.

Tuesday — the monthly local foods networking breakfast is taking place at Local Sprouts.

Wednesday — the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday — the new Italian restaurant at 100 Commercial street called Solo Italiano is scheduled to open. You can make reservations on OpenTable to be one of the first to try chef Pablo Laboa’s menu of “simple, flavorful & authentic Northern Italian cuisine”.

Friday — Rosemont is hosting a wine dinner with Bruce and Barbara Neyers.

SaturdayNovare Res is celebrating their 8th Anniversary, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market.

Sunday — products from a number of food vendors and local vendors will be on sale at the weekly Crofters & Artisan Market.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.


Global-Inspired Beer Restaurants

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

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.

Lobster Hack: Designing a Better Lobster Trap

May 14th, 2016

This week’s Drink Tank gathering at the Open Bench Project explored designing a better lobster trap.

“Everyone associates lobster with Maine, but very few people know how the whole process works,” said Drink Tank co-founder Kate Garmey. “Everybody knows the lobster trap, or has at least seen a buoy, so it’s something we’re all familiar with, but the mechanics of it are a little more mysterious. … So it is an opportunity to learn something. Once you learn all the pain points and all the issues that lobstermen have, it’s really interesting to think about, ‘How could we make that better?’”