Evangeline, Portland, Me.
- jhammon Sep 1, 2009 10:16 AM
Wife and I had dinner at Evangeline Monday night, after reading about the chef/owner and his wife, who is the chef/owner of Bresca, who cook together at Evangeline with a limited prix fixe menu and a limited staff, only on Mondays, when both restaurants would otherwise be closed. (http://www.restaurantevangeline.com/r...)
The prix fixe menu (no longer $25; it was $38 this week) offered two choices for the 1st course, two choices for the 2nd course, an optional cheese course (for $5 extra), and one choice for dessert.
For 1st course, wife had the local farm green salad with marinated cucumber. The greens were fresh and delicious and it was a very nice salad. I chose the ivory salmon with potatoes, bacon and chives. A nice piece of salmon with crispy skin attached. The flesh was moist and succulent and cooked to perfection, almost but not quite raw. It was served with some finely diced potatoes, bits of thick, crisp bacon and chives.
For 2nd course, the choices were hake from Browne Trading with warm tomato, fennel and shallot salad or duck leg confit with Maine white beans and wilted rainbow chard. The fish sounded good, but we both chose the duck leg confit. I thought it was outstanding. Some of the most flavorful duck I have tasted in a very long time.
We shared the optional cheese course, Fern Hill chevre with marinated beets. It was very good, but not as exciting to me as the ivory salmon or the duck confit.
The dessert course was Maine blueberry clafoutis, a sort of creamy pudding with blueberries. A pleasant ending for a very enjoyable dinner.
Fixed price menu was still listed as $28 in mid-Nov., but when we went, it was $38. First course choices were brandade and homemade liverwurst. I like both, and I liked both (we shared). Second course choices were pork belly and chicken leg. Didn't like either and I thought it was a strange choice. Dessert just OK. Not worth $38, for sure.
An overpriced prix fix meal ($65, not $38) featuring undercooked shellfish and greasy shortribs plus arrogant staff was a disappointing introduction to Chef Erik Dejarlais. What was most telling was having my experience echoed by strangers who overheard me in coffee shops and stores the next day, as we all agreed that we will never return to this restaurant. The only good part to the meal was the second course of loup de mer (sea bass). I should have stopped there and not eaten anything else.
We went on a Monday last year when the menu was still $28 and had no choice in the three course menu (it was a set menu). We enjoyed the offerings and service was very fast (a bit too much so in that the app came out before the bottle of wine), but overall the experience and food was well worth the $$.
Today, the online Monday menu states that the cost is generally around $30, so given the wide variance in pricing reported; might I suggest calling ahead to find out what is being offered and the exact cost for that evening. At least you won't be shocked.