Reviews: Evo, Isa, Ocho

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Isa.

The benefits of Isa’s simplicity were most clearly on display in the fantastic burrata crostini. It was made transcendent by the ample slices of perfectly ripe yellow tomatoes, which lay between a rustic bread smeared with pesto and the creamy cheese. A grilled peach appetizer benefited from the fruit’s not-quite-ripeness. A sweeter peach might have overwhelmed the bitter of arugula and the tang of goat cheese. In another likeable salad, the tartness and acid of grapefruit, along with thin slices of apple and a splash of cider, mellowed the aroma and bite shaved fennel.

The Press Herald has published a bar review of Evo,

Evo Kitchen & Bar should be on the top of anyone’s list for the next place to go for wine, cocktails, and small plates. Michael Gatlin has created a beautiful drink list that complements Chef Matt Ginn’s beautiful, seasonal Mediterranean fare. The all-glass space and design is breathtaking, and nowhere else on Fore Street will you feel like you’re at a swanky bar somewhere in Manhattan.

and has reviewed Ocho.

I ordered The Classic. This meant my burrito was a symphony of Spanish rice, cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, crema, plus the two added bonuses of chicken and guacamole. It was ready in about three blinks of an eye, and I was out the door walking back to the newsroom. Once the noshing began, it was a formidable task to eat this hefty burrito…Anyway, my OCHO burrito wasted no time in announcing its deliciousness as my taste buds were awakened by a nine-piece band of flavors. Everything seemed incredibly fresh and, yes, I finished the whole thing.

Vivian’s Drive-In

The Press Herald reports that Vivian’s Drive-In on Forest Ave is changing hands.

After 21 years of running one of Portland’s most beloved, and cheapest, burger joints, Donna Morgan is selling Vivian’s Drive-In. But despite rumors that the Forest Avenue business might be closing, Morgan said it isn’t going anywhere.

Vivian’s was founded in 1952 by Vivian L. Vintinner. Vintinner sold it in 1964 to Joyce Perry who then sold it to Donna Morgan in 1995.

Empty Pockets

Both the Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News report claims by staff from the short-lived Pockets eatery in the Old Port that they were unpaid by their former employer.

Employees of a sandwich shop that opened and closed in the Portland’s Old Port this summer say they were never paid for their work.

Pockets, which sold sandwiches 24 hours a day, opened on the corner of Fore and Market streets around the beginning of July and closed last week.

Inside, Outside, Above, Below

Eatcentric Me has posted a report on Inside, Outside, Above, Below.

I attended Lauren Fensterstock and Aaron Stephan with Chef Masa Miyake’s (chef and owner of Miyake, Pai Men Miyake, and Miyake Farm) staged dinner event INSIDE, OUTSIDE, ABOVE, BELOW recently, and it was a coalescence of all things I most readily identify with and love: great food paired with drinks, meeting interesting people and sharing the experience with them, and a creative, choreographed art installation centered around dining.

Brunch Review of Piccolo

The Golden Dish has reviewed Sunday brunch at Piccolo.

The play of seasonings was exciting: Calabrian chili, pepper, plenty of sea salt and a trace of fennel accented the chicken and potato hash; and the semolina bread, toasted until soft-but-crunchy held the sweet raisins.  I was tempted to ask for a fruit preserve to spread on the toast but as soon as I broke open the egg, the yolk bathed everything else in its path and I coaxed  the bread to sop up all those components in the dish.

Under Construction: Drifter’s Wife (Updated)

Maine & Loire is taking the next step in the evolution of their business. Owners Orenda and Peter Hale plan to build out a wine bar and small kitchen in the front portion of their retail shop on Washington Ave. The back part of their space will continue to be a retail wine shop.

The natural wine bar will have seating for about 20 including a small 8-seat bar. They aiming to craft a space that be both a “convivial hangout with the energy we feel when we drink at our favorite places” and a place where people can have direct experience with the natural wines they specialize in.

They hope to launch this new phase of Maine & Loire this winter.

Update: M & L has decided to name the wine bar the Drifter’s Wife.