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Birthday Dinner in Portland, ME

Monkey100 Jun 4, 2010 04:07 PM

Hello! I am trying to decide where to take my husband out in Portland for his birthday coming up at the end on June.

I've narrowed it down to Fore Street, Five Fifty Five or Hugo's. My husband is a meat and potatoes type of guy, which is why I'm leaning toward Fore St or 555, but I don't think he's ever experienced some of the tricks chef Evans is up to at Hugo's, so that could be a lot of fun.. I'm sure he'd go for the tasting menu at 555 or Hugo's, but I'm not sure if Fore St. offers one?

We live in Maine, but cannot afford to go to any of these places very often, so I guess what I'm asking is where you all think is a "never disappoint" dinner experience? I honestly don't think we'd be upset at any of these restaurants, but I'm trying to pick the best one..

Thanks for any feedback, I really appreciate it!

Fore Street
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

  1. p
    portlandeats Jun 5, 2010 09:58 AM

    Since it's your husband's birthday and he's a meat and potatoes type guy, you are definitely on the right path thinking about 555 and Fore Street. I'd say that Fore Street is the safest (with plenty of simply prepared proteins and unfussy food). 555 might be the best compromise place for both of you -- you could enjoy some of the more creative dishes, while your husband could opt for more standard food. Both are large, busy, and crowded restaurants with a similar energy.

    Hugo's is the one place of the three that definitely stands out as not meat 'n potatoes. Most of the dishes are composed plates with lots of interesting / unusual flourishes. There's no guarantee that on any given night there will be basic steak or chicken or fish dish -- and in contrast to the other two restaurants, Hugo's is more quiet and understated. It's a great restaurant -- but maybe it's best left for your birthday, not his.

    I don't think Fore offers a tasting menu, but they have an extensive menu with many apps, salads, and entrees, so if you wanted to sample many dishes you could easily do so.

    I'd say you can't go wrong with either 555 or Fore. I can't promise they will never disappoint (b/c I've had dishes at both that I didn't love -- but I could say the same thing about most every restaurant), but it's very highly likely you'll enjoy yourself at both.

    Fore Street
    288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

    1. j
      jamtart Jun 5, 2010 01:31 PM

      Definitely Fore Street.

      Fore Street
      288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

      1. k
        kimfair1 Jun 5, 2010 04:04 PM

        For me, I'd go to Hugo's, we live in Boston, and always go there when we are in Portland. For your husband, Fore ST is probably a better bet for all the reasons portlandeats has listed. I know I in the minority, but I was completely underwhelmed by my one 555 experience. I found the meal to be just so-so, with the "famous" donut dessert so grease laden as to be inedible, and the service was not as good as what I've received at Hugo's or Fore St. As far as I know, Fore St does not have a tasting menu like Hugo's or 555 has.

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