Reviews: Five Fifty-Five, Tiqa Cafe

Five Fifty-Five received 3½ stars from the review published today in the Maine Sunday Telegram,

At its best, Five Fifty-Five produces sublime dishes like seared New England scallops with a grilled corn sauce and a warm vegetable accompaniment that distills everything magical about summer onto a single plate. Its steaks, like a chimichurri-sauced Pineland Farm striploin, are simple, yet superb. (Poor grill ventilation, on the other hand, is a problem, allowing an unpleasant, irritating haze to spread across the dining room when several diners order steaks simultaneously.) Other dishes, like bland spinach fettuccini, a too-ambitious grilled watermelon and baby kale salad, and a botched local blackberry salad demonstrate how conceptual and execution issues keep the menu from being as stellar as its reputation suggests. Service can also be spotty – sometimes revealing impressive competence, and sometimes neglect or a total lack of situational awareness. None of these problems in and of itself is a catastrophe, but each is a small setback, and in aggregate, they keep Five Fifty-Five from shining quite as brightly as it should.

and the Press Herald has reviewed Tiqa Cafe.

I started out simple with the grilled cheese, since this is a column that loves a good deal, and you can tell a lot about a place by the care and attention it puts into its simplest fare. I chose cheddar over provolone, and the cheese oozed out of the freshly made focaccia bread. There were a couple of sliced, seasoned tomatoes in the sandwich as well. Not much to say; it was neither the best nor the worst grilled cheese I have had, but it was perfectly fine for a casual take-out lunch.

Christopher Kimball Ticket Discount Code

Christopher Kimball will be speaking next week on September 8th at the State Theater as part of his Culinary Mystery Tour.  Organizers of the tour are offering 50% off on the ticket price, use the discount code: MSK50.

Kimball was the founder of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the longtime host of the TV show America’s Test Kitchen. He’s moved on from those projects and last year started Milk Street Kitchen, a cooking school and magazine.

Brea Lu Cafe Now Open

Brea Lu Cafe (facebook) reopened yesterday at their location, 9 Cumberland Street in Westbrook.

Brea Lu was founded in 1989 and for 27 operated at 428 Forest Ave. Damage from a fire on Valentine’s Day this year forced them to close and owner Christian DeLuca made the decision earlier this summer to move to Westbrook.

Brea Lu is open 6 – 2 (M-F) and 7 – 2 (weekends).

Under Construction: Tipo

Chris and Paige Gould, co-owners of Central Provisions, have applied for a liquor license for their new restaurant Tipo.

Tipo is going to be a full service restaurant offering traditional Italian fare to the local community…We are hoping to provide the Back Cove community with a neighborhood spot to stop for a wood fired pizza, homemade pasta dish, and a small selection of beer, wine and Italian inspired cocktails.

Tipo will be located at 182 Ocean Ave in the former Borealis Bakery. Plans call for it to seat 48 including a 9-seat bar (see floor plan below). Chef Mike Smith and Robyn Lungo have joined the Tipo team as the chef and front of house manager for the restaurant.

Here’s a look at the draft menu provided with the application (click to enlarge):


The Goulds hope to open in December or January, serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday with plans to eventually open for weekend brunch.


Under Construction: The Purple House

Eater has included Krista Kern Desjarlais’ upcoming bakery/cafe The Purple House in their list of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the fall.

At the aptly named Purple House, cooking will be fueled only by the small bakery’s wood-fired oven; mornings will begin with Montreal-style bagels and a serious coffee program, really the only one in town. Other “rustic breakfast pastries” will follow suit, and as the oven’s temperature cools down, more delicate baked goods will be prepared mid-morning. Come lunch time, the menu will switch to Roman-style pizza, hearth breads like boule and baguettes, and vegetables.