what to eat at 555 in Portland?
I'm in grad school and have two young children, so I only get to spend a good chunk of money on eating out once a year - my birthday. It's coming up, and I'm looking for some help. Last year we went to Fore St. My husband's pork was sublime, my fish was okay, and the bread was ridiculously wonderful (but then Standard is my favorite bakery). This year, I decided I'll try 555. My question is, to those who've been there, what does the chef do best? What should I order to really make the most of my yearly outing? I know the menu changes, but I'm looking for his overall strong areas. No restrictions - I'll eat anything. Also, I'd toyed with the idea of hitting Hugo's for the bar menu first, but was told that you should really do all the courses at 555. What do you think? Thanks!
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I know you've decided on 555, but I really think you should consider other options. Yes, Food and Wine just named the chef one of the 10 best (new chefs) in the country, but I've eaten at 555 three times in the past couple of months and I really don't think it lives up to its reputation. It's gotten a lot of buzz lately but you can find much better food at other places. Bresca, for example. It's small but that's one of its strengths--you have the feeling that everything that comes out of the kitchen has been meticulously crafted by the chef herself. And desserts are wonderful. (555 pushes a dessert it calls "peas and carrots" which is more clever than satisfying.) Caiola's is also very, very good. And I love the bar at Hugo's--not the same menu as the restaurant but very inventive. Hugo's can be a little stuffy, I think, and the bar feels a bit more relaxing.
But it sounds as though you're set on 555. The food there isn't bad, of course--I just think its rightful place is somewhere around the middle of the list of fine dining establishments in Portland. I'd love to hear about your dining experience--please let us know.
As a non-local, I have only eaten at 555 once. But my husband and I sopped up every last bit of the mussels with the pickled cherry peppers. Yum - those were seriously good and very memorable.