Reviews: Blue Spoon, Eaux, Bonobo

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Blue Spoon,

Occasionally though, everything comes together as it should, and it’s possible to see Lavey’s skills in full flight. Take the grilled Broad Arrow Farm pork loin served with bacony white beans, roasted Brussels sprouts and a creamy dill-and-mustard sauce ($28). It’s a precisely balanced plate, with lightness from sherry vinegar and a breadth of textures and flavors that draw you back until suddenly, it’s all gone.

The Bollard has reviewed Eaux, and

It’s not strictly traditional; the chicken is boneless, which I know is blasphemy to purists. But from the spicy, crunchy coating — fried just to the brink of burnt — to the moist and succulent meat inside, this is damn near perfect. The waffle is just as good. Crisp on the outside, impossibly light and fluffy on the inside, the only thing these beauties need is a smear of the sweet, earthy cane syrup that’s gently drizzled around the edge of the plate.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Bonobo.

Let’s talk about that pizza. Fired in a wood oven at lower temperatures than the standard 700-800°F range, the dough gets a bit more time to set before exiting the heat, resulting in a thin, slightly chewy and pleasantly sweet crust with just a touch of smoke and sourness to it. Perhaps most akin to the end product served at Lazzari, the pizza at Bonobo — more restrained in toppings and thus lighter in feel — is unique to itself and without any true analogs in the area

Also, the Press Herald has published an article about Baxter Brewing new pub in Lewiston.

2019 Good Food Award Finalists

Congratulations to the Maine food producers named finalists in the 2019 Good Food Awards:

  • Beer – Liquid Riot for their Blushing Star Barrel-Aged Lager
  • CharcuterieA Small Good for their Cider Brined Coppa
  • Cider – Portersfield Cider for their Ridlon 16/2
  • Coffee – Bard Coffee for their Organic Costa Rica La Mirella
  • Spirits – Liquid Riot for both their Old Port Straight Bourbon Whiskey & Fernet Michaud

The winners will be announced January 11 at a gala in San Francisco.

Reviews: Bob’s Clam Hut, Pizzarino, 3 Poké Restaurants

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Bob’s Clam Hut,

When you’ve finished that, move on to any of belly clam dishes. Sure, you could stick to a remarkably tender clam strip roll ($15.95) and not be disappointed, but the goal here is complete satisfaction – you’re in a fried seafood shack, after all. So head right for the Clams 2 Ways ($24.95), a generous basket that lets you pit Lillian’s puffed, crispy version of fried whole-bellies against Bob’s, which is a shade or two more caramel in color, with a fuller salinity. The two preparations differ by just a couple of ingredients and an extra minute in oil, but the difference in taste is striking.

the Press Herald has reviewed Pizzarino, and

Located in Zapoteca’s old space, Pizzarino is owned by three Milanese friends, one of whom also started Paciarino, a pasta-centric restaurant down the street. Opened in August, this place focuses on pizza, rice-based dishes and gnocchi. The bar area is lovely, with comfortable wooden barstools with backs and purse hooks underneath the bar. There’s even a tiny outdoor seating area. One of the owners greeted me and my two friends when we arrived and clearly wanted to make sure we enjoyed ourselves.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Big Fin Poké, Poké Pop and Crunchy Poké.

And what you get is pretty good, especially if you don’t choose yourself. While Crunch and Pop emphasize the house’s pre-designed combinations, Big Fin’s chalkboard is dominated by a “build your own” section, nudging you to select from dozens of “mix-ins” and toppings and proteins. Inevitably you choose too many, and the toppings pile up in the wide paper bowl. What are you gonna do, not get more stuff? If we had that kind of restraint we would not be in this mess.

Reviews: East Ender, Roots Cafe, Dunstan Tap & Table

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Dunstan Tap & Table,

Offerings at this stylish, modern restaurant echo familiar tropes – burgers, tacos, a few dozen beers and ciders by the can, bottle and on tap – but DT&T, as the Brenermans have nicknamed it, is different from its Scarborough peers. In no small part, that’s because Tenney prepares components for his eclectic menu largely from scratch, from fiery habanero sauce to pastrami. Worth a try are his take on pub classics like hand-cut fries, vibrantly herbal chicken tacos and Asian-esque Brussels sprouts

thePress Herald has reviewed Roots Cafe, and

I ate an excellent vegetable quiche – the filling was delicate, the homemade crust tender – and a pretty, seasonally apt salad with roasted butternut squash, apples, almonds, quinoa, dried cranberries and crumbled feta, all arranged atop a bed of baby spinach. My quiche, salad and complimentary cheese puffs, served on stylish white china, came to just $10.25, which felt like a deal. And the portions were so generous, I lacked the stomach space for the chocolate ganache and banana crepe I’d been coveting as I watched the staff make sweet and savory crepes to order.

Portland Magazine magazine has reviewed East Ender.

We order the pâté-like Chicken Leg Rillette ($7), served on lightly toasted Pain de Mie (a French pullman bread loaf featuring very little crust). The rich meat, graced with savory seasonings and a light-handed touch of house mustard with a very good pickle (neither sweet nor sour), enhances our bread. Not a crumb remains on our plates.

Reviews: Poké Pop, Izakaya Minato

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland location of Poké Pop.

Named for chef/owner Anusat “Pop” Limsitong, the restaurant is a confusion of fusion, with cross-cultural elements intended to enliven bowls of cubed protein, vegetables and rice. By and large, these tweaks are unnecessary and involve sickly sweet sauces that make Poké Pop’s signature dish a huge letdown. If you must order poké, stick to the tofu bowl and customize your order with a squirt of the soy-based shoyu umami sauce, the least sweet of the restaurant’s offerings. But if it’s sweetness you’re after, Poké Pop has you covered. Its bing soo shaved ice, which is really a Filipino halo halo parfait made with fruit ice cream, shaved milk ice and about a thousand other ingredients, is terrific, even though it takes 15 minutes to prepare each one.

Down East magazine has reviewed Izakaya Minato.

Every dish brings a fresh set of tastes and textures: smoky bacon-wrapped rice cakes, melt-off-the-bone Korean-style barbecue short ribs, spicy kimchi fried rice. The broiled black cod, marinated in sake lees, is nearly the consistency of butter. Fried tofu squares, with jalapeño, soy sauce, and bonito, addictively marry spicy and salty — I suspect I could snack on these all day.

Marie Claire

Marie Claire has published a travel guide to Portland.

A trip to Portland, Maine, is much more than flannels and Subarus—although you’ll come across plenty of those, too. Maine’s largest city, surrounded by water, is as picturesque as they come, with quaint cobblestone passageways and Victorian dream homes. Breathe in the fresh New England air while exploring the Old Port, sift through treasures at the vintage shops, and eat your way through the city’s award-winning restaurant scene. More oysters? Don’t mind if I do.

Review of Elsmere

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland location of Elsmere.

While the menu is letter-for-letter the same at both restaurants, and although several dishes and two of the sauces remain too sweet, the food is a bit better on the north side of the bridge. An extra few square feet of cooking space on Elsmere’s new, as-yet-unnamed, custom-built smoker gives its BBQ meats a little more depth and a lot more smoke. Stick to juicy and fall-apart-tender pulled pork, barbecued chicken thighs and burnt-end chili ladled over a mound of always-crispy tortilla chips as part of the chili nachos appetizer. When you’ve dug yourself out from under all the meat, order a house-made brownie with ice cream and a snow drift of whipped cream. You won’t regret it.

Evening Standard

The Evening Standard (UK) has published a travel article about eating in Portland.

This year, the city went from relatively under-the-radar to top the foodie hit-list when it was named Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appétit, an accolade that’s made more impressive by the fact that the award isn’t given out every year — the only three previous winners are Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC. Need more evidence? Five of the 2018 James Beard Award semi-finalists (the Oscars of the food world) are based in Portland — not bad for a city of only 65,000 people.

Reviews: Eaux, Simply Vegan by Silly’s, Forage Market

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Eaux,

Among the po’ boys and jambalaya ($15) are his terrific gloss on maque choux, reinvented here as a spicy, saucy ear of corn covered in thin slices of pickled serrano chile and crumbled Zapp’s potato chips. Don’t miss his buttery Bananas Foster, runny with a brown sugar glaze, and the Southern-yet-not-particularly-Louisianan chicken and waffles that he seasons with a dynamic, fiery spice blend Richardson has been tinkering with since before he was a teen.

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Forage Market, and

The bagel itself is crunchy, thin, and airy, with big holes in the baked dough, in the Montreal style of bagels. But really the minute I saw the black olive cream cheese, I was won over. Forage Market’s bagels moved to the top of my personal leaderboard of bagels.

Did I just say they’re the best bagels in Portland? You’ll have to stop in and see for yourself.

Portland Phoenix has reviewed Simply Vegan by Silly’s.

Recognizing that I myself do not follow a vegan diet, I made a conscious effort across two visits to Simply Vegan to drop any preconceived notion of what “vegan cuisine” is and instead focus on the overall interplay of textures, flavors and seasonings on a basic culinary level. A cup of sweet potato chili with carrot, black bean and millet featured just enough heat, with pleasant warming spices lingering in the background of each bite. Equally satisfying was a breakfast plate cleverly called “I Said Mush,” which topped a warm biscuit with spinach, tomato, veggie tofu and mushroom gravy for what was undoubtedly the best dish tasted at Simply Vegan.