Reviews: The Shop, Elda, Bolster Snow, BRGR Bar, One Six Green

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Island Creek Oyster Shop,

you will find a host of briny treats, like Eider Coves and sweet bay scallops from Stonington, along with rare and memorably strange Maine Belon oysters from Harpswell. For those averse to raw shellfish, The Shop also provides a half-dozen tinned seafood options, like Galician octopus in a tomato-and-paprika sauce, or squid in olive oil and its own ink. Visit on a Sunday, and you’ll even find caviar served three ways (on a non-reactive spoon, an oyster and a blini) for $18.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Elda,

Elda has a truly inviting, comfortable atmosphere. The food and drink is crafted in a way that makes it more exciting than even most of what I’ve seen a few exits north on I-95 recently. And there’s certainly a touch – maybe more – of genius in the way its presented too. From the little wooden utensils and metal straw, to their incredible bread, they make an impression with every detail. Elda gave us a stunning meal that will bring me back, even if it’s out of the way. And I’ll be sending people to Biddeford now when they need a “good place to go eat”.

The Bollard has reviewed BRGR Bar,

Our meal had some redeeming elements: we thoroughly enjoyed the cool, retro-industrial decor and ’80s tunes. But while I’d consider dropping in for a milkshake sometime, I probably wouldn’t go back for brunch unless I had a serious hangover to cure.

the Press Herald has reviewed One Six Green, and

I haven’t tried all the falafel in Portland, but I have to admit that this was a step above what I’ve had at many other lunch spots in the city. It was more strongly seasoned (lots more cumin), and chunks of chickpeas gave the falafel balls added texture and visual appeal, but were still cooked and soft enough to eat without feeling like you were biting into an undercooked chickpea.

the Portsmouth Herald has reviewed Bolster Snow.

He brings a refreshing playfulness to his dishes, including snacks like a Jenga-like stack of crisp carrot fries made from baked carrot sticks dusted with cornstarch and flash-fried. They come out sweet, tender and hot inside and very crisp outside for dipping into a curry mayo.

Under Construction: Eaux

Chef Evan Richardson has leased the space at 90 Exchange Street, formerly occupied by Crooners & Cocktails, where he plans to open a scaled-up restaurant version of his food cart Eaux (facebook, instagram).

Eaux will serve a menu of “New Orleans and Southern inspired food…in a bistro setting” Wednesday through Monday, 11:30 am to 1 am. Richardson plans to open by late May.

Here’s a look at the draft menu:

Eaux will join an ever growing cadre of restaurants that got their start as food carts and food trucks. The list includes Bite Into Maine, Mami, Small Axe/East Ender, Love Kupcakes/Baristas+Bites, Hella Good Tacos, Mainely Burgers, Urban Sugar and CN Shawarma/Baharat.

Under Construction: Chocolats Passion

Chocolats Passion (website, facebook, instagram) has leased the former Farm Truck Juice space at 189 Brackett Street. Owner Catherine Wiersema hopes to open her French chocolaterie shop sometime in September.

Wiersema founded Chocolats Passion in Massachusetts and moved the business to Portland in 2017.

According to the CP website Wiersema is,

an honors graduate of the Professional Chocolatier program at the renowned Ecole Chocolat, and also went through their rigorous Quality Assurance course, which is specifically designed for chocolate confections. More recently, I studied in Montreal with world-renowned chocolatier Ramon Morato. Study breaks help hone my creative edge and broaden chocolate horizons!

Maine Beer Co. Hires a CEO

Maine Beer Company has hired Steve Mills to be the CEO for the Freeport-based brewery, reports Brewbound.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Maine Beer Company,” Mills wrote to Brewbound. “I’ve known David and Dan since almost the beginning. They had such awesome vision for what they wanted Maine Beer to be: people focused, exceptional quality and supporting 1 percent For The Planet. And look at what they’ve built! It’s all about doing what’s right. I’m looking forward to contributing wherever I can.”

Mills is moving to Maine from Utah where he was the CEO of Uinta Brewing.

New Benkay Now Open

Benkay (website) opened their new location at 16 Middle Street Middle Street on Wednesday. Benkay had long been located at the intersection of India and Commercial, just a couple blocks away.

The restaurant is opened for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

Photo Credit: Don Littlefield

Reviews: Roma Cafe, Island Creek, Bolster Snow

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Roma Cafe,

The Roma has become cozy and casual, almost homey. The same can be said of the food, which nonetheless remains true to the historic Italian-American theme. Some items still need tweaking…But standout dishes make the experience worthwhile. In particular, quick-sautéed calamari over thick spaghetti, tossed in Tallberg’s phenomenal marinara sauce; and spumoni: a triple-layered indulgence made from toasted pistachio, syrup-soaked Amarena cherry, and dark chocolate ice creams. When the new Roma Café is good, it’s very good – just not yet legendary.

the Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bolster Snow, and

After my first full meal at Bolster Snow, I was impressed. They offer bold flavors, shining combinations, and take some simple contemporary items and add just a touch of their own hand in them. Basic deviled eggs with truffle? A total winner. Broccoli salad with a hit of lime? Stunning. A vodka lemon cocktail with hints of honey and ginger? An easy-going-down concoction. Try them for drinks and snacks if you want, but I think you just might end up staying for dinner.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Island Creek Oyster Shop.

So it feels right to eat like Louis in a nation ruled by his avatar. Island Creek’s pitchers of beer and wine connote abundance rather than déclassé abandon. The oysters themselves reward lordly attention. The Eider Cove from Brunswick are dark and mysterious looking, silky but salty. Winnegance from West Bath were pale, sweet, and meaty. Round little Moody Blues from Damariscotta were a creamy beige. Island Creek’s home oyster is thin and tawny with a mild salt and hint of mineral. They give you cocktail sauce and Tabasco, but unless you’re the type that puts ketchup on steak, ignore them. Salt and brine should reign over any other flavors.

Elda Opening Tuesday

A new restaurant named Elda (website, instagram) is scheduled to open this Tuesday in Biddeford. The restaurant is in the space formerly occupied by Custom Deluxe at 140 Main Street. Chef/owner Bowman Brown has also expanded into the adjacent space renovating both and adding a bar.

Brown has moved from Salt Lake City where he was the co-owner and chef of Forage (instagram). He was recognized as part of the 2011 class of Best New Chefs by Food & Wine. Additionally, Brown has been a Beard semifinalists in the Best Chef: Southwest category for six years running from 2011 to 2016.

Here’s a look at the menu from Thursday night’s friends and family dinner:

The name Elda is a reference to the Icelandic word meaning ‘to cook’ as well as the name of Brown’s great-grandmother, Elda Whiting Brown.

Under Construction: Forage Market

Forage Market (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has leased space at 123 Washington Ave where they plan to open a Portland branch of their popular Lewiston bakery and cafe.

Owner Allen Smith is excited to open on Washington Ave because as he explains, “it feels like a place we can be part of a neighborhood and get to know our customers by name. And we love the camaraderie of the amazing group of food entrepreneurs already on the street.”

Forage is perhaps best know for the bagels which Saveur tipped for the best in the country. In addition, Smith and his team lead by Portland store manager Laura Posiak also plans to serve breakfast sandwiches and hand-made pastries in the morning and European-style market sandwiches along with soups and salads for lunch.

Smith has ordered a wood-fired masonry oven from Spain which is expected to arrive in the Spring and hopes to open Forage “as soon as the mortar is dry”.