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Asmara has reopened and (long)-- Portland, ME

Allison Apr 4, 2005 01:01 PM

Asmara, the Eritrean restaurant on Oak St., has finally reopened after the fire. There are a few menu changes I think (its been 6 months, my memory is poor!) that may make it a little more pricey then before, but still a good value (particularly since this food sticks with you, protein/carb ratio is good)

We shared a chicken dish and a lamb dish (each translated as Spicy Stews) and they were good. The cook came out and asked about the spice level -- I think I will ask for it spicier next time. But still satisfying.

I've missed them, the food and flavor is unique to any other offerings in town.
Thanh Thanh II has made some menu changes and they now have spicy noodle soups! We tried the beef one and it was delicious!! Just tasting the broth I almost thought it might be too spicy, but once you incorporate the noodles and meat, etc its just right! I could see getting hooked on this spicier version for awhile.
BTW, did anyone ever give Nile a try? I've particularly enjoyed the stewed chicken dish there (not sure why its "stewed" since its not at all in a sauce) as well as the goat stew, kofta kebab and salads. However, I tried to go there for lunch last week and it wasn't open. I hope everything is alright -- and I wonder if they can do BYOB?

  1. k
    Keefer Lucas Apr 5, 2005 01:21 PM

    Thanks for the heads up Allison. I became a big fan of the place when it first opened as Eso African, and have encouraged many to give it a try (I lure them with the promise of a comfort food that is reminiscent of a really good beef stew over freshly made flatbread, adventurous eating for those who aren't THAT adventurous).

    In all honesty I think the place badly needed a price hike - many of their prices were so low that I almost felt guilty. I fear that places that radically underprice (the Central American place on Washington Ave on Munjoy Hill comes to mind)short themselves the kind of patrons that will insure long term success.

    Can you still bring your own wine to Asmara?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Keefer Lucas
      Allison Apr 5, 2005 02:17 PM

      According to the menu, Asmara now sells beer, although I have no idea what kind. That ought to help with dinner service! Not sure about the wine but will ask next time. It was and remains an excellent value!

      Were you referring to Tu Casa, the El Salvadoran place on Washington Ave? Funny you mention it, I was there a couple of weeks ago and they had secured a permit to expand the dining room to like 35 seats, install a bathroom on the same floor and maybe a little work to the kitchen? I'm excited for them and I wonder if the increased capacity will be accompanied by some menu additions. Sounds like things are going well for them. Like you, I am very interested in their long-term success. They were to close for a week, anyone know if the work is complete??

      1. re: Allison
        Keefer Lucas Apr 5, 2005 02:31 PM

        Yes indeed Alison, I was referring to Tu Casa. Its one of Portland's hidden gems and a place I "frequent" three of four times a year.

        What are those spicy little bean burrito-like creations in the cornmeal tortilla that are WAY tastier than burritos? I want one now.

        This is one of those discussions that can only happen way down in Chowhound strings, safe away from responses like "Yes, I remember, we drove past Tu Casa on our way to Street & Company".

        1. re: Keefer Lucas
          from away Apr 6, 2005 07:58 PM

          Tu Casa has reopened, with the additional seating; I think it's one of the best finds in Portland.

          1. re: from away
            Dan S Apr 6, 2005 10:47 PM

            Is there anything to eat there (Tu Casa) for vegetarian/fish eaters?

            1. re: Dan S
              ruth Apr 7, 2005 07:34 AM

              Also what are their hours. I am never really sure when they are open.

            2. re: from away
              Allison Apr 7, 2005 09:14 AM

              Please chime in here if I'm wrong...

              Tu Casa would not have a lot of veg/fish options. On Sundays (and perhaps other days) they do a whole fried fish thats tasty -- ask for it if its not on the board. There are cheese papusas and they do different juice shakes. Maybe there are veggie burrito options, I'm not sure. That's all that comes to mind although my memory sucks!

              This is pretty basic El Salvadoran food although very tasty. My favorites are the taquitos and the beef soup (awesome!). I need to branch out, I know, but I'm addicted to these items.

              They are open Sunday through Friday, closed on Saturday. That always throws me because they are always coming to mind for lunch on Saturdays. I'm not sure of the hours but I want to say like 10am - 8pm, maybe?

              One last note, they seem to encourage you to use any spanish that you might have. I've seen spanish discussion groups dine there as well. So if you want to practice, this is a good spot.

              1. re: Allison
                sueportland Mar 31, 2012 10:31 AM

                I am also wondering about BYOB at Asmara. Used to be able to, but not sure now that they have beer and wine on the menu. Does anyone know?

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