Pocket Brunch Review: Party Gras

Food Coma has published a review of the February Pocket Brunch.

While most guests arrive at the house of RosenChamp on time, ready to devour platters of crunchy praline bacon, bruleéd grapefruit, and sticky bananas foster bostocks, I am busy being late, fighting my way out of Massachusetts after a rather substantial snowstorm that involved an actual “driving ban.”


Under Construction: Vinland @ 593

Chef David Levi has leased 593 Congress Street for his new “100% local food, zero waste, fine dining restaurant” Vinland (website, Facebook).

593 is located just across the street from the Portland Art Museum and around the corner from the new Westin Hotel. The space has been completely renovated; it had been the long time home of The Kitchen.

Levi has worked at Noma in Denmark, at Faviken in Sweeden. He gave some insight into his approach to cooking when interviewed by the Boston Globe for their article on The New New England Cuisine,

“I want to use what grows in this bioregion,” says Levi. “If I can’t use lemon, I need to replace that acidic element. Obviously I could use vinegar, but the flavor is so strong, so maybe rhubarb, or green fruit, or whey.” To that end, in his Portland kitchen Levi prepares an example: soup made by pureeing farmers’ market turnips with his own homemade yogurt and garnishing the bowls with lightly fermented carrots and fresh herbs and flowers from his small garden plot.

Levi hopes to open Vinland this summer.

Under Construction: Outlier’s Eatery

Outlier’s Eatery (Facebook, Twitter), the restaurant under construction on York Street, has filed for a liquor license application. The restaurant hopes to open sometime in March. According to owner Peter Verrill’s cover letter,

The menu will consist of locally harvested, organic food. The beer will be almost 100%  from Maine brewers. Whenever possible, we will use Maine distilled liquors. Our coffee will be organic and fair trade. In short, Outlier’s Eatery will be a fine dining bistro offering the West End healthy and sustainable farm to table products.

A draft copy of the menu is available online (page 23). Chef Jonathan Dexter will be running the kitchen, he’s formerly worked at Street & Co. and at Hugo’s.

Tivi Design, which designed and built the bar at Grace has been hired to handle the interior design. Take a look at Outlier’s Facebook page for an extensive set of photos of the restaurantEater Maine has some additional details on the interior design.


Hush Hush #3

hushhush3Map & Menu has posted a field report from last night’s Hush Hush event, the monthly cocktail and tasting party organized the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club. This month’s cocktails featured the Fernet Branca line of products and were accompanied by some very delicious eats from chef Chris Gould.

Tonight, Meredith and I enjoyed a private peek into part of Portland’s food and cocktail future with a sampling of two future area establishments, and I’m happy to report that the town seems to be in good hands.

My personal favorites from the night were the Saffron Sour (Fernet Branca, Royal Rose Saffron, egg white, and lime juice) and the Yellow Fin Vetresca (slow cooked yellow fin with preserved orange, Anaheim pepper and celery leaves).

Both Portland Hunt and Alpine and Chris Gould’s new restaurant are slated to open later this year.

Photo Credit: Map & Menu

Under Construction: Enio’s

The Forecaster has published an interview Bob and Laura Butler about their new restaurant, Enio’s. According to the article, the Butlers hope to open Enio’s sometime next week.

Located in the former Buttered Biscuit, Enio’s is named after Laura Butler’s father. The restaurant, with a Tuscan flair, will be a return to the greater Portland dining scene for the Butlers.

“I’m sure it will be like riding a bike for us,” Laura Butler said. “We were familiar with the building and neighborhood, and I think Portland is saturated.”

The couple operated Rachel’s, first in the Old Port and then on Woodford Street for 15 years.

Bartender Interview: Alison Hartford

Dispatch has published an interview with Alison Hartford who tends bar at The Grill Room.

What’s your favorite drink to make? “It’s made with Hendricks gin, St. Germain, muddled lime and rosemary, and blood orange puree, topped with soda water. I like making mojitos, too. I tend to not get a lot of specialty cocktail orders, so I’m all about providing good service.”

Figa’s Second Goodbye

The Golden Dish has published details from his recent meal at Figa and owner Lee Farrington’s announcement that she’s closing up the restaurant for another few months until April or May to “regroup”.

Before we left I went up to Lee to say how much we enjoyed dinner and glad that she was back. 

But then she dropped her bombshell.  Figa would be closed again, this time for about two months.  She still needed to rethink her concept, tidy up her home life and figure it all out.

I didn’t understand.  If it ain’t broke why fix it?