Portland -The Corner Room and Grace?
Two new restaurants in one weekend!
I don't have 1sthand knowledge, but a friend ate at Grace last night and absolutely raved about the food, the space, the experience.
We went to Grace for our anniversary a few nights ago. The setting is spectacular, if a little distracting--we found ourselves wondering why all the empty floor space? How are they going to heat this place? If we were Christian, would we be offended? The food was impressive, if a little precious; I had the cod (advertised as Casco Bay cod, which I find hard to believe), which was small and came with one (oversalty) scallop and two mussels. My husband had Lamb Two Ways, which I think was almost as good as the lamb he had at Kevflavik airport which he still raves about.
As for Corner Room, why you would go anywhere but Paciarino for pasta, I don't know.
Tried both the other night. Two apps at The Corner Room - the Sformata and Cotechino. Both were really delicious. The polenta in the cotechino was wonderfully creamy and mixed beautifully with the egg yolk (we cleaned the dish with tasty bread). The sausage was reminiscent of pate (I don't know why/what, I lack the knowledge) and very tasty. The sformata was not anything I'd had before and in fact I have had few savory souffles or flans in the past. I thought it was wonderful and really want to experiment with this dish at home.
As for Grace, for me it all came down to the Lobster tacos on the bar menu. I LOVED them, they were so very yummy. All I kept thinking was I wish whoever came up with these tacos was cooking for El Rayo. No complaining about price or portion, they were that good. The lobster worked (I was surprised) but so would shrimp, fish or meat. Great! The baby octopus app was also really tasty and the venison meatballs alright. The texture was a bit dense and the sauce needed a bit of a punch but I appreciated the flavors at its base.
I look forward to returning to both restaurants to try more of the menus. I'm very much in a appetizer/taste/small dish mode these days and these restaurants did not disappoint.
Visited Grace tonight and was totally disappointed. Very limited menu, had to ask for bread which came cold, got the Lamb Two Ways, and the lamb chop was extra extra spicy which I do not like nor was told. The shoulder lamb which came on the same place was excellent, but came with Lima Beans. Pew--Pew....My friend got the salmon which he said was very good but the fried potato pancake came cold and sent back to warm up. Only one lamb chop came with the dish with the little amount of shoulder lamp and was priced at $29. I left hungry. I feel the prices are way too high for what you get, and hope the owners improve drastically before its too late. The ambiance and atmosphere is delightful and really beautiful. A lot of money was spent, but limited parking for like 6 cars, so you have to find parking on the street. The upstairs has dining one one side and a bar area on the other side, but no elevator.
Don't think I will go back unless the menu improves, prices are lowered, and less spices on the food.