Evangeline - "And the portions are so small."
There is an old joke about two women complaining about the food at a Catskill hotel and the punchline is "and the portions are so small." After eating this past weekend at Evangeline with my wife and another couple, this punchline also applies to Evangeline. Unlike the joke, the food at Evangeline is delicious - there just is not enough of it. We had 4 appetizers (duck liver pate, duck confit, fennel salad and cod filet) and 3 entrees (poussin for two and duck) plus a bottle of wine ( an excellent Steele Pinot Noir) and the bill came to a total of $174 including tax and tip.
This may in the abstract sound eminently reasonable and it would be for the level of service and ambience at Evangeline if the portions were not so absurdly small. The poussin for two was $38 and smaller than a cornish hen. The cod filet was less than one and one-half inch in diameter. I had the duck liver pate which was so rich the one inch cube was enough but the $25 duck entree I ordered had five breast slices one inch by one half inch and a duck leg the size of one buffalo wing. And you could count on two hands the number of fennel strands in the salad.
What is owner chef Eric thinking? "Keep the prices down and cut the portion size by 50%." That's a real shame because no restaurant in Portland serves food this consistently delicious. Eric has to let the bean counters go and serve portions that satisfy. Then we would be able to stand up and applaud Evangeline as the best in town. All we can do now is repeat "and the portions are so small."
My husband and I went to Evangeline last night after wanted to go for months now, we were shocked to able to walk in on a Saturday night and score a table at 7:00pm!
Granted our hopes were high after all the hype it has received and the months of our anticipation. We started with the Cassoulet and The Marrow Bones...the cassoulet was was tasty but was filled with more bread than beans and the marrow bones was a tease consisting of 3 half bones served on a few sprigs of mache. Our main courses were the Mussels - and they were DELICIOUS!!!! The shinning star in the evening!!!...and then the Cod, which was,... dull, bland and unexciting.
The most disappointing part of the evening and actually disturbing to us was watching the Hostess open the door for some guests, clearing plates and then using her fingers to make the cheese plates right by the front door. I don't understand why this wasn't done in the kitchen or away from plain sight...how does this add to one's dinning experience? I always love to see the cheese offered and maybe never took notice to who is "plating" the cheese. And although we never consider ourselves as "germ freaks" but it really made us squirm thinking about what is on her hands from the door handle on to the cheese...yuck!
We were sitting very close to the bar & door so we could witness this a few times during the evening- it was a big "buzz-kill" for us. We left without coffee & desert and then stopped at Beals in the Old Port for some Ice Cream.
"Eric has to let the bean counters go and serve portions that satisfy."
Someone has to count the beans or else restaurants wouldn't stay open...they do have to make a proft you know.
I have been there a few times and I would not call the portions small. The steak is $20, probably 8-10oz, and served with french fries and an arugula salad. I've had braised pork belly that was a very decent portion AND it was served with cassoulet for a little over $20.