m

maina's Profile

Title Last Reply

[Portland] Five Fifty Five

We just went during restaurant week, first time in yrs. Was underwhelmed on our first visit long ago, but after last night's visit we will definitely be back. I started with one of their signature cocktails - a winter cosmo - which was steeply priced at $13, but a very generous serving and delicious!

I had the rutabega soup with ginger meringue to start, hubby had the mussels. Both were outstanding. The soup had a distinct but not overwhelming taste of rutabega, and the ginger meringue was the perfect accompaniment. The mussels were in a wonderful light sauce that begged to be soaked up with the toasted bread provided.

We both had the peppercorn scallops, and altho the peppercorn was a little too thickly applied for our taste, the scallop was perfectly cooked. We just scraped a bit of the peppercorn crust off, and it was perfect. The whipped fennel potatoes were a nice complement.

For dessert one of us had their artisanal cheeses, and the other the dark chocolate cremeux with pecan ice cream. The hard spanish cheese was delicious, served with toast rounds, honey and fruit compote; not impressed with the softer cheese (can't remember name) which too mild to stand up to the compote. The chocolate dessert was luscious.

Service was also very good, attentive without being cloying. Greatly enjoyed our visit. We will put this on our short list (along with Bresca's and Bar Lola's).

Mar 02, 2013
maina in Northern New England

Mid Afternoon Lunch In Portland ME

Looking for restaurant open in late afternoon (3:30 - 4:30) for lunch today (Monday). Most of our regular places either aren't open for lunch or close around 2:30 then reopen around 5:30, incl Walters, Petite Jaquelines, Street & Company, Yosakus, Brescas, Caiolas, Bar Lola . . . coming up empty! Any ideas appreciated, I know it's very short notice.

Jan 21, 2013
maina in Northern New England

Flipside Pizza, Brunswick ME -- Finally, good pizza in Brunswick!

Agree, but in August, when we visited, there are many veggies that are "abundant and in season" - at a minimum would have expected zucchini, some local greens, eggplant and squash. None of which were offered. But would not hesitate to return, even in the dead of winter, because the pizza was just so good!!

Aug 30, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Sunday Brunch in Brunswick? Or Freeport?

We ended up at Flipside, which was a little hole in the wall pizza place in downtown Brunswick with incredibly delicious pizza. Highly recommend! We did end up going back to Freeport area and ate at Harraseeket for lunch. We were there too late for their lunch buffet (ends at 2, we arrived about 2:30) which they were just taking down but looked amazing. We have had it before and enjoyed the very different offerings and wide variety. This time we ate outside the Broad Arrow Tavern (at the Inn) on the little patio area and ordered from the regular menu. Really appreciate that the Tavern is open throughout the afternoon, and doesn't close between lunch and dinner. It was very good. I had a terrific grilled chicken sandwich with sauteed onions, daughter had mac and cheese with brocoli (excellent) and spouse had a very nice salad -- all surprisingly reasonably priced. Really liked the side of homemade cole slaw, no mayo, and very fresh. This has become our go to place when in Freeport.

Aug 30, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Flipside Pizza, Brunswick ME -- Finally, good pizza in Brunswick!

We had 2 slices there today -- excellent! They had 4 or 5 choices for pizza by the slice, heated nicely before serving. We both had the corn, red onion, lemon pepper and ricotta cheese. This pizza was outstanding, I didn't even miss the tomatos or tomato sauce (which usually defines the pizza for me). Toppings worked really well together and crust was delicious. Ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, and organic (as are the beverages).

The MU mentions pizza with arugula-fennel-radicchio, buttercup squash, local greens, beet, and sweet potato. These must have been offered on specials, none of these ingredients are on the regular list of toppings and, unfortunately, none were available when we were there (on Aug 12, so most of these ingredients would still have been locally available).

Veggies on the menu are limited - mushrooms, peppers, onions, roasted garlic, artichokes and roasted tomatoes. Would love the regular list to include a greater variety of veggies. The only special pizza offered with veggies was the one we had by the slice. Maybe they offer a greater variety of veggies in their specials on other days, but veggie offerings were limited to basics when we were there (which is why we bought the slices).

This place is very small, with just a few tables and some counter type seating looking out onto MainSt. Not a good place for large group (unless you do take out), but comfortable for party of 2 - 4. HIghly recommend for very fresh, very good pizza. Best pizza I have had in a long time!

Aug 12, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Sunday Brunch in Brunswick? Or Freeport?

We're looking for a place for brunch for this Sunday (need to be at matinee by 2pm in Brunswick). Most posts are for restaurants that only serve dinner. We know Flipside would be open, but we are looking for a brunch menu. Would prefer a restaurant right in Brunswick, but we could stop in Freeport. Suggestions appreciated! Thanks.

Aug 10, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Street & Company. Order suggestions?

Yes, sole francaise is absolutely delicious. It's very simply prepared, but melts in your mouth. I tend to order more complicated dishes that I would not prepare at home, but this one is sooo good I keep ordering it. Also mussels are excellent for app. Street is our go to restaurant for seafood, we've never been disappointed and continue to recommend it to friends (but with caveat that menu is limited to seafood only).

Apr 21, 2012
maina in Northern New England

What's Open for Lunch on Monday in Portland?

Finally did try Nosh and loved it! We've eaten there 3 times, and plan to go back again soon. Love the bacon dusted fries, as well as the excellent oyster po'boy and also falafel sandwich. Also prices are very reasonable.

Apr 21, 2012
maina in Northern New England

What's Open for Lunch on Monday in Portland?

Thanks for suggestions. We ended up going to Walter's and had an excellent and leisurely lunch. Still want to try Nosh, but wanted somewhere quiet this time. Will definitely try Nosh at some point!

Feb 07, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Dinner for About 30 In Portland?

Looking for ideas for place for dinner on a Saturday night for about 30 people. I know about the function room downstairs at Grace. Wondering what other restaurants might accomodate a reservation for that many people. It is a social function, and not a formal meeting, so we do not need a separate room. We would need to be seated at adjacent tables ( 6 and 8 tops). Would be looking for menu with both seafood and some meat entrees. The restaurants that are my favs and that I usually recommend - Fore St, Hugos, Brescas -would not take that large a reservation, esp on a Saturday night. Wondering if 555 would? Any other suggestions for this size group? Thanks.

Jan 29, 2012
maina in Northern New England

What's Open for Lunch on Monday in Portland?

Meeting a friend in Portland for lunch on a Monday. Want a place where we can talk and relax, with good food - so not Duckfat (altho I love it, not a place to linger and chat). Last time we met at Green Elephant, which was terrific, but would like to try somewhere different. Also, have gone to Grill Room for lunch and wasn't impressed. Maybe Corner Room? Other suggestions?

Jan 29, 2012
maina in Northern New England

Casual Non Tapas Restaurants in Seville

Yes, that would be great. Anyone know name of restaurant with Moroccan food? Just looking for non tapas, non chain restaurant. Thanks!

Jan 18, 2012
maina in Spain/Portugal

Casual Non Tapas Restaurants in Seville

Our son is in Seville for 6 months. Altho he loves (and has been on a steady diet of) tapas, he is looking to diversify a bit. Not looking for hamburger and fries from an American chain restaurant, but maybe an Italian or other casual restaurant with good food at a reasonable price.. Any ideas?

Jan 17, 2012
maina in Spain/Portugal

On The Marsh - Much Improved!

Sorry, I should have mentioned it is in Kennebunk, on Route 9/Western Ave, near Kennebunkport.

Nov 30, 2011
maina in Northern New England

On The Marsh - Much Improved!

We had dined at On The Marsh a year or two ago, and found the food acceptable but not exceptional We dined there again last week, and were blown away by the quality of the food and service. We were a party of 5, and each of us loved our meals.
I had the salad to start, which was fresh and light, others had the carrot ginger soup which I didn't sample but they raved about it. But the star was the entree of seared tuna with black sesame seeds -- ahhh, cooked to perfection, amazingly fresh, and melted in my mouth. Excellent! Another in our party had the pork tenderloin, and said he could cut in with a fork it was so tender. Yet another entree was the homemade butternut squash ravioli which was delicious, with a very nicely spiced marinara sauce.
Two desserts were similiarly exceptional -- the bananas foster and an incredibly decadent chocolate dessert with some of the richest, darkest chocolate I've ever had. The third dessert was not as successful. It was a trio of creme brulee. The texture and crust were fine, but the flavors were somewhat bland and it was difficult to identify which brulee was what flavor.
Service was attentive, friendly and professional, without being fawning or overbearing. The setting was beautiful, and this time the food matched the standard set by the lovely enviroment.
We would recommend On The Marsh without hesitation now. So glad we returned! We will certainly be back again.

Nov 28, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Anyone Tried Tia's in Kennbunk?

Wondering if anyone has tried Tia's in Kennebunk. I believe it just opened this fall. Haven't heard much about it. Understand they have both sushi and sake -- 2 of my favorites! If you have been there, please post. Thanks.

Nov 18, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Portland Saturday Dinner Help - Hugo's Alternative?

I too think word "fussy" applies to Hugos. That's not always a bad thing, but I can see how you might like a livelier vibe, depending on your mood and your dining companion(s). In addition to Fore St, I'd add Petite Jacquelines. We had a terrific meal there, in a very upbeat enviroment with excellent service. We were surprised that they stayed busy well after 9pm, when many restaurants tend to slow down. So if you dine late, or if you want to linger over drinks and dessert you don't feel like you are keeping the restaurant from closing. Would make sure to make reservations wherever you decide to go.

Nov 18, 2011
maina in Northern New England

help us find a lobster pig out place near Kennebunkport!

ok, just went to website. Captain Hooks is in Wells and looks like it's mainly take out but does have some picnic tables outside. From a quick look at website it appears that they don't have a dining room - is that correct?

Aug 14, 2011
maina in Northern New England

help us find a lobster pig out place near Kennebunkport!

I'm a local, dine out regularly, and never heard of Captain Hook's. Where is it? It'snot in Kennebunks.

Aug 14, 2011
maina in Northern New England

lunch in Kennebunkport

or try try upstairs from ramp, Pier 77, more upscale but still very good and not overly pricey. Also terrific view &great setting.

Aug 08, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Merry Table Pleasant Surprise

Tried Merry Table in Old Port and loved it. Crepes dominate the menu but they also offer salads and a few entrees like salmon plus some specials. The crepes truely shine. I had the shrimp with swiss cheese and pesto -heavenly! D H had salmon crepe and daughter had smoked salmon . All were delicious and served with side salad of fresh field greens perfectly dressed. For dessert we shares a luscious warm banana and nutella crepe-yum! Service was a little slow but we were not in a rush so enjoyed the slow pace - very French! The room is long and narrow with a casual setting and a handful of tables outside on Wharf St. We will definitely return! Also open for lunch and offer paninis in addition to crepes.

-----
Merry Table
43 Wharf St, Portland, ME 04101

Aug 06, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Help us pick our anniversary dinner spot in Kennebunkport, ME

I agree. Grissinis food is nothing special, and is wildly inconsistent. On the Marsh is beautiful setting and wonderful food too.
Other restaurant with terrific views is Pier 77, overlooks the very scenic Cape Porpoise Harbor. Haven't been there for a while, but do remember having a very nice dinner last time we dined there.

-----
On the Marsh
46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

Jun 11, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Lunch at Grill Room Disappoints [Portland]

We tried the Grill Room yesterday for lunch. Having dined many times at both the Corner Room and the Front Room, all having same owner, we expected the food to be of similar quality. The Grill Room offered 2 luncheon specials, and we each ordered a different one. To be fair, we did not order from their regular menu, so I can't comment on that.
I had the salad with grilled prawns and asparagus over swiss chard. The prawns were large and well cooked, but the dressing was not really a salad dressing at all, but a heavy tasting, salty brown sauce (possibly made with soy or hoison sauce). This sauce completely overpowered the shrimp and vegetables. I scraped it off as best as I could. Something like a light viniagrette with lemon and garlic would have been a much better complement to the prawns and asparagus, and made a much more seasonal and visually appealing presentation (this was late April). The asparagus were not the thin, tender asparagus of spring, rather they were huge and thick. I have never seen such thick asparagus even in the grocery store in January. None of the flavors blended well, and the swiss chard at the bottom was just tasteless mush, covered with the brown sauce.
The grilled tuna sandwich was much better. The fish was fresh, and even though it was ordered "cooked through" it was tender and not dry at all, and the focacia bread was delicious and nicely toasted. The tuna was served with coleslaw and garlic aiola on top of it. The cole slaw was excellent, but it too overpowered the tuna a bit.
We really expected to like this restaurant and were disappointed that the quality of the shrimp and the tuna were not better balanced with the flavors of rest of the dish. The preparation of both the shrimp and fish served to overwhelm their flavor and freshness rather than to highlight them. Too bad, since the main ingredients were fresh and well cooked, but barely discernible under the heavy sauce and zingy cole slaw.

-----
Grill Room
84 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

Front Room Restaurant & Bar
73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

The Corner Room
110 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

Apr 27, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Salt Exchange in Portland ME needs work

We tried Salt Exchange last weekend. I agree, the "small plates" are not large enough to share, and some aren't even sufficient to be an appetizer for one person. We started with seafood/sausage gumbo that was very tasty, in a dark roux (sp?), with a perfect amount of spices with just enough of a kick. The gumbo was definitely the star of the night. The crab crostini was a major disappointment. This was tiny, a single small round of bread with a crab mixture with the crab minced so tiny as to be tasteless -- and it cost $12! For that price I expected there to be generous chunks of crabmeat.
We also had a ceasar salad with anchiovies, and the dressing and anchiovies were good. The mussels, of which there were only 6,were delicious, served on open shell with bit of bacon set under the mussel and an excellent sauce. Would have been terrific if there was more sauce and additional bread to sop it up. For dessert we had the gingerbread with homemade pepper ice cream, the gingerbread was rather dry but that could have been overcome if served with a larger dollop of ice cream.
On the plus side, the service at the bar was excellent, the house specialty drink with muddled cucumber and the selection and sizes of beer offered were very good.
Not sure if we'll return. We did love the gumbo and the mussels, but the other items we ordered were just ok, or, in the case of the crostini, disappointing. We had thought this would be a good place for drinks and small plates, but there small plates are tiny and not made for sharing even if there are only two of you.

-----
The Salt Exchange
245 Commercial Street, Portland, ME 04101

Apr 04, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Terrific, Unexpected Meal at Local 188

We had tried Local 188 both for lunch (no longer open for lunch now) and for dinner. We had enjoyed it, but Portland has offered so many new restaurants that we had not returned to Local 188 for years.
We went back last night, because they were participating in Maine Restaurant Week (which goes until Mar 12 and offers some terrific deals) because all three of their entree choices were interesting (one fish, one vegetarian, and the house paella).
The amuse was a delicious potato bite, served with a potato crisp and a wonderful dollop of sauce (sorry can't remember ingred for sauce) - very, very good. Appetizers were a real surprise (in a good way). I had the salad with local goat cheese and a wonderful vinegaigrette that let the freshness of the ingredients and cheese shine. DH had the "tortilla of the day", which was misnamed since it was more of a frittata (which server did explain before order was placed) made with goat cheese, arugula, and sweet potato -- wonderful, and it came with a demi salad! It would have been a terrific lunch entree all by itself.
For entrees I ordered the house paella, with chourico, chicken, maine shrimp, mahogany clams, mussels and saffron rice. Very good and full of shellfish, sausage and chicken. But DH had the star of the evening -- the oven roasted hake with carmelized onion on top, and set on a bed of lentils. The fish was thick, but perfectly done and very tender; the lentils were also perfectly cooked. I had thought the lentils might overwhelm the delicate fish but it did not. The contrast of flavors worked beautifully. When I saw the thickness of the fish I thought it might be dried out as a result of cooking it all the way through. But it was moist and flavorful. Kudos to the chef.
The desserts were the least memorable part of the meal - passable but nothing special. By the time we had dessert we were full anyway, so it did not dampen the overall dining experience.
Have to say Local 188 accomplished it's goal - as a result of Restaurant Week it has attracted us back, and who will most definitely return. Oh, and if you go try the basil lemonade -- delicious!

-----
Local 188
685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

Mar 06, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Getting Married In Portland, Looking For Caterers

Used Black Tie many years ago and they were wonderful - easy to work with, inventive ideas for menu, terrific food. Glad to hear their food is still of such high quality.

Feb 14, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Arrows New Year's Eve - a big "meh"

On the Marsh used to have a great deal on Weds nights, and offered sushi on Thursday nights. But in checking their website I can't find either mentioned. Maybe they're only avail in summer/fall? We went on a Weds in the fall, we had a very good three course meal for very reasonable price (offered only on Weds). Was looking forward to trying sushi on Thurs, but think they've discontinued for winter months.

-----
On the Marsh
46 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

Jan 25, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Has Anyone Tried Figa in Portland?

Thanks to you both. Maybe we'll wait until the warmer weather to try it - hate feeling that cold blast of air every time door opens when I'm trying to eat! I saw the review in the Audience, but wanted to hear from CH posters on their experience too.

Jan 25, 2011
maina in Northern New England

Has Anyone Tried Figa in Portland?

We're thinking of going to Figa this weekend. Did a search of the Board, but couldn't find a review or many comments about the restaurant. If anyone has been, I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

Jan 24, 2011
maina in Northern New England

New Years Eve in Portland?

Would be interested to hear where you went. We went to Ribollita's, and had mixed results. Of the three of us, one meal was very good, one was good, and one was terrible. The roasted cod was definitely the best, nicely cooked, tender and fresh with just the right amount of herbs to add some interest. The North End linguine with mussels was also good, but the dish arrived almost cold, and we could not send it back because we had to make a show. The last dish was by far the worst. It was a special - sole in a broth with cheese tortollini. The sole was totally bland, dry (even tho floating in broth) and overcooked. The tortollini was likewise bland and the pasta was very heavy and thick. This meal was barely eaten.
The antipasto appetizer was fine, the ceasar salad was good, but the dressing was a little heavy and cloying and could have benefitted from more lemon.
Since the cod was excellent and the prices are so reasonable, we may go again. But I will know what to order!

-----
Ribollita
41 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Jan 02, 2011
maina in Northern New England