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Naco Taco

Press releases are a lovely thing. They can say whatever the person writing them wants them to say.

In a case like this, you never know what the real reason or backstory could be - but it's entirely possible as well that he now bills himself as a 'consultant' to save a little face, after what many consider a disaster of a taco place. Consulting on a place with issues is far less humiliating to one's name than being a well-known chef, opening up a second place very quickly, then not being able to hack it with the new concept. Maybe investors and staff pushed him out after a poor performance and make it seem like it was his choice to go - wouldn't be the first time that happens we all see it as an eater article as someone 'moving on to better things'.

Or maybe we really was a consultant from the start? Doesn't seem that way, I know I was led to believe it was his project - but who knows?

I know you know this stuff as well as any of us MC, I just doubt we'll know the actual backstory. Glad I wasn't crazy when I saw he was magically now a consultant, when he made a pretty big deal of it being his place before, or so I had thought.

Jun 20, 2015
carlc in Greater Boston Area

Front of house issues at Craigie on Main along with meal review (long)

I hate to sound like a negative nancy, but it just seems like you had a very good tasting menu (which I might add, 115 really isn't bad at all for a 10-course tasting menu, especially from a place like Craigie IMO), but not hearing about one small thing turned the whole thing into a mess? Also, in my experience, I was under the impression you weren't really supposed to fill up on the tasting menu? Of course the portions are supposed to be small.

And you thought you would get free sides? Most decent places, at least that i've been to, charge for sides. A few bucks for the bone marrow at craigie never bothered me at all before for sure, it's all worth it..

I am sorry there was a communication error - it stinks, but does happen, but it just seems like it was a small part of your whole experience, and from the sound of things, the food was all wonderful, and isn't that the point? Also nitpicking that the hostess is too dresses up? I'm sorry.... just seems like you are a little too picky. Just don't really see some of those "problems" as all that bothersome.

Aug 21, 2010
carlc in Greater Boston Area

Dress code at Arrows...

I completely agree with this. See, I try very hard not to be harsh on people that love Arrows - as people say, to each his own - but Mark and Clark are stuck in their ways, and times change. To me, Arrows is one of the most pretentious places in the whole state - I mean, a selection of waters? How do you beat that. It's height was years ago, and the place, again, not trying to sound rude, is more suited to someone on the older side of the age spectrum because they are unable to change, kind of like the Haraseeket Inn - in it's day was nice enough, but stuck in an older time period. With so many restaurants all across the country, toning things down, becoming more casual, accessible, less stuffy and more fun, places like Arrows just don't make the grade.

Concerning the food, I haven't eaten at Arrows in a year or two, but even then, it was a bit lackluster for the price, and very un-inspired. Prepared well, yes, very much so, but unmemorable and seriously doubt I would go back unless someone paid for my meal. Hugos is creative, executed well, and these days a lot less full of themselves, at least to the degree of Arrows. There is a certain humor and fun with the food at Hugos, something foreign to what comes from Mark and Clark. I want to be able to have fun while I eat, not feel like it has to be a special occasion.

And on a more intimate note, i've worked with people who have passed through both the Arrows kitchen and Hugos kitchen, and those from Evans' kitchen were a bit better, so maybe my opinion is influenced by that as well.

Jul 27, 2010
carlc in Northern New England

Where is the love for Macuucis in portland??

It's one of the few things I do miss about not being in portland. I always loved heading over there.

I do hate to say as well though, that pretty much everyone around there knows about that place.

Jul 26, 2010
carlc in Northern New England

where do boston's chefs eat

I also have to say Russel House, that's pretty much my place to hang after shift as of late, and especially sunday/monday nights, you get a decent amount of industry people.

Jul 13, 2010
carlc in Greater Boston Area

5 Nights in Portland, Maine

Lot of good suggestions, so I think you will be on the right track. For lunch I agree with Duck Fat for sure - fun little place, high quality and real tasty. Now for one of the newer guys in town, I do have to vouch for Nosh over on congress, not far from the eastland. It's heavy on the meats, but if you are on board with that, it's really a fun place. Charcuterie, great sandwiches, and dinner is a great option there too - pretty upscale stuff for a little bar.

Another fun suggestion is the Green elephant, which is right near the eastland as well. It's a vegan bistro, but it's a fun place for lunch and dinner, and always thought the food there was great, and i'm not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but it's good enough there to make you not care there isn't meat. Really tasty stuff.

I also go along with the Fore Street mention - good food, little too much on the rustic vibe for my preference though, but worth every penny. Always have a fantastic meal there. I have to disagree with 555 isn't bad, but they think too highly of themselves, and for what you are paying, consistency and quality could be a little bit better. For what you shell out there, and for food more along the lines of that place (and better executed), Hugos would be a far better bet, although both of those are heading more towards what you don't want.

Local 188 is another fantastic choice. Laid back, fun time, good food. Haven't been there in a while, but always had a blast.

Hope you find some help with all of these.

Fore Street
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

Local 188
685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Duck Fat
43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Jun 28, 2010
carlc in Northern New England

worst dining experience I've ever had

Went there a few years ago, over hyped IMO - don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, but honestly I forgot about it the next day. It just wasn't anything above 'ok'.

I know they have a new chef and possibly some different management - that might have something to do with the mediocre food and service these days. Still can't believe they chased you down like that after making you wait, that's just plain over-stepping themselves.

Jun 23, 2010
carlc in Northern New England

Poutine in Portland?

I second the Duckfat poutine, pretty good stuff. Not a fan of Frog and turtles poutine - it wasn't bad, just... boring and a bit on the bland side.

Feb 28, 2010
carlc in Northern New England

Hugo's Rob Evans wins Beard Award

Haven't been there in a while. Had a great meal a long while back, although recently I've been hearing more people being dissapointed? Can't say for myself since I haven't been back yet

Jul 27, 2009
carlc in All New England Archive