Reviews: Anoche, Ada’s, Three of Strong

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Anoche,

If a visit to Basque Country, with its tradition of locally pressed ciders and small-plates-centric snacking appeals to you, Anoche should be on your Portland dining itinerary. Owner/GM Erika Colby’s dimly lit, slightly retro-feeling pintxos restaurant evokes a casual, Iberian bar/restaurant while showcasing more than a dozen New England draft ciders. Ranging from funky and tannic to shimmering with tart fruit, the ciders are (appropriately) the star of the show at Anoche, supported by a line-up of complex, herbal gin-and-tonic cocktails, all of which are made with homemade tonic water.

the Press Herald has reviewed Ada’s, and

I had eaten about half of it when the Funghi Salsiccia was ready. Besides the crimini mushrooms and large, browned pieces of savory pork sausage, it had mozzarella, provolone cheese, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. There was no red sauce and the crust was thinner and a little crisper than the Margherita. Both were delicious.

the Press Herald has reviewed Three of Strong.

Great place to bring your rum-loving friends. But beware, they don’t sell any spirits other than rum, although they do have mocktails and soda.

Thrillist Eating Guide to Portland

Thrillist has published an eating guide to Portland entitled Everywhere You Need to Eat in Portland, Maine Right Now.

Old-timers might tell you that it’s a shame that Grace or Silly’s are no longer around (and it is), traditionalists might come to the city looking for blueberry pie and fresh catches straight from the sea (of which there are plenty). But to rely too heavily on tradition would run the risk of overlooking the creative and wide-ranging work that’s been done in the city over the past decade or so, not to mention what’s happening right now. So read on and discover the best restaurants in Portland, Maine right now.

Highlighted in the article are: Candy’s, Central Provisions, Cong Tu Bot, Duckfat, Eventide, Fore Street, Hugo’s, Izakaya Minato, Local 188, Mr. Tuna, Rose Foods, Ruski’s, The Holy Donut.

Night Moves, Best Bread Bakeries in America

The Food Network has named Biddeford-based Night Moves Bread (website) to their list of the Best Bread Bakeries in America.

Though baker Kerry Hanney’s bread baking style is rooted in European tradition, the flours she uses are all from Maine-grown grains, particularly rye (Maine has the same growing zone as many European countries associated with rye.). Before opening Night Moves Bread in Bitteford, a coastal town about 25 minutes south of Portland, she made a name for herself with those rye-based loaves. Try the Baltic rye, a slowly fermented sourdough loaf made with 100% rye freshly milled in-house and sprouted rye berries as well as local ingredients such as blackstrap molasses, coffee grounds from Speckled Ax and beer from Banded Brewing Co. For another regional taste, opt for the Anadama, a New England-style cornmeal bread made with nixtamalized corn — Hanney uses buttery, sweet Abenaki flint corn — and black strap molasses. The bread is also served at top restaurants around Portland.

Reviews: Miyake, Dos Naciones

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Miyake, and

Portland’s Miyake has earned a reputation as one of the state’s best Japanese restaurants, thanks in no small part to the skill and creativity of its chef/owner, Masa Miyake.

the Press Herald has reviewed Dos Naciones.

This is another addition to the Portland restaurant scene that seems to be well worth supporting. The owner has said that it has long been her dream to own her own restaurant, and the love and care she puts into the food shows.

2020 Beard Awards Semifinalists

The list of semifinalists for the 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards was released today. There are 11 semifinal nominees from Maine:

  • Best Chef: Northeast – Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot; Devin Finigan, Aragosta at Goose Cove; Erin French, The Lost Kitchen; Ben Jackson, Drifters Wife; Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House; Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell, Palace Diner; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain.
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Fore Street
  • Outstanding Chef – Melissa Kelly, Primo
  • Outstanding Baker – Briana Holt, Tandem Coffee
  • Outstanding Bar Program – Novare Res Bier Cafe

The final list of nominees will be released on March 25th, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 4th in Chicago.

Related information:

Review of CBG

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed CBG.

Chef Theodore Moffitt’s menu delivers whiplash-inducing doses of eclecticism but is largely well-executed and seems suited to bar manager Mike Barbuto’s classics-focused beverage program. CBG’s fried snacks are among its best dishes. If you visit at night, don’t skip the crisp-fried croquettes filled with braised pork and potato. At brunch, it’s the savory ham-and-cheese fritters that you’ll want, with their superheated interior ready to send rivulets of melted sharp cheddar running down your chin as you eat.

4½ Star Review for The Back Bay Grill

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed The Back Bay Grill.

The surprisingly affordable wine list and Matthews’ stellar cooking are, as ever, the restaurant’s two biggest draws. Sweet, pan-seared scallops in aromatic, leek-strewn crème fraiche broth; and a crunchy, baseball-sized crab cake fashioned from freshly picked Maine crab are two of the menu’s many standouts, although with Matthews in the kitchen, it is hard to go wrong.

Reviews: CBG, Noodle Love

The Press Herald has reviewed Noodle Love, and

This place is a nice addition to an already-crowded food scene. The food is great, the service fast and the prices are very reasonable.

has also reviewed CBG.

Our drinks arrived in delicate vintage glassware – not what we had been expecting in that atmosphere, but perfect for the drinks we had chosen. The Part & Parcel reminded us of a grapefruity brunch drink. The Maximillion Affair was less Mezcal-forward than we had expected and was even verging on sweet.

Thrillist Falls in Love with Portland

Thrillist has published a travel guide to Portland titled “Why Right Now Is the Perfect Time to Fall in Love With Portland, Maine”.

That Portland’s still here — lighthouses, lobster rolls, and plenty of opportunities to use the word “quaint” — but things are changing. These days, bearded brewmasters seem to outnumber actual fishermen. The food scene has morphed into world-class, destination dining that doesn’t start and stop with lobster. Artists and creatives are flocking to the city’s shores. And word is spreading so fast, it won’t be long before the vibe starts to feel on par with the next, well, Portland. Or Asheville. Or Denver.

Reviews: Vessel & Vine, Maria’s

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Vessel and Vine in Brunswick, and

So revel in the patchwork quilt nature of The Vine and order a mix-and-match Golden Ratio cocktail or glass of natural wine to sip as you make your way through Iacono’s seven-item menu, all of which she prepares in a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet. Be on the lookout for her sumac-freckled sweet potato hummus dip and stuffed cabbage dolma, sweetened with sun-dried tomato and seasoned with floral ras el hanout. When you arrive, don’t be surprised if you stumble upon the restaurant’s culinary-themed book club, a foraging class or even the monthly mending group, stitching away. Just pull up a chair and go with the flow.

The Golden Dish has reviewed the new Maria’s.

Perhaps it was too soon to assess Maria’s. But haven’t they had a half-century to perfect their kitchen? I don’t think we’ll ever go back unless we hear that the restaurant has undergone an epiphany.