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Dinner recommendations Portland this Sunday night

n
nyawira May 12, 2011 02:23 AM

Greetings, Maine Chowhounds. My husband and I are coming up from Baltimore this weekend on a house hunting trip (we are moving to Portland!) and we have Sunday night free. We would like to eat out at a very nice (money no object, but it doesnt have to be snooty either) establishment. Quality of food is of utmost importance, with local and organic way preferable. We would like to get a sense of the "scene" too, so location and ambience are critical. I realize many restaurants may be closed Sunday but any recomendations will be greatly appreciated. We are staying at the Marriott waterfront and would love to be within walking distance but we do have a car and are willing to drive. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Mister Meatball May 12, 2011 02:50 AM

    Walk on over to Fore St, couple blocks from your hotel.

    1. k
      kimfair1 May 12, 2011 07:34 AM

      Check out Hugo's as well, my favorite restaurant in New England (I live in Boston), and fits your bill well. Fore St is also excellent, but is more of a well cooked simply prepared fish and meat type place, while Hugo's is more modern inventive cuisine.

      Some may chime in with 555, but I was underwhelmed by my one meal there.

      12 Replies
      1. re: kimfair1
        Mister Meatball May 12, 2011 07:46 AM

        Pretty sure Hugo's is closed Sundays. One reason I gave it to Fore St.

        As for 555, I'd pass on that one, yeah.

        1. re: Mister Meatball
          n
          nyawira May 12, 2011 08:14 AM

          I did peruse the board and noted the high marks for Hugo's. Unfortunately, it is closed on Sunday. I will have many years of joyful exploration of the dining scene in Portland so I'm quite sure I'll be back on this board seeking good recommendations, but I think Fore will be the place for this particular evening. Unless my husband decides he would prefer to sit at the bar of a nice high end tavern with great food! Any suggestions on that? Thanks to both of you for chiming in!

          1. re: nyawira
            Mister Meatball May 12, 2011 08:17 AM

            Fore St has a great bar. And it's used mostly for eating. That's where I sit when I go there. Order the mussels as an app. Wood-roasted with butter and almonds, served w/ bread from downstairs. One of only two or three things been on the menu since Day One.

            1. re: Mister Meatball
              n
              nyawira May 12, 2011 08:30 AM

              That sounds perfect. My husband LOVES mussels. We'll go to Fore and sit at the bar. Thanks!!!

              1. re: nyawira
                Mister Meatball May 12, 2011 01:48 PM

                If Fore St bar is jammed for extended period for some reason, Street & Co. (seafood only) also has a bar. Smaller, not as cool, but nice and food is good. About 5 blocks further. As a first time visitor I might wait for 2 seats to open at Fore St. Check w/ barkeeps, they're very helpful.

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                Street & Co
                33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

                1. re: Mister Meatball
                  n
                  nyawira May 13, 2011 02:35 AM

                  Thanks, Mr. Meatball. I think we will wait for the two seats. We will make it a chill evening. Thanks so much.

          2. re: Mister Meatball
            k
            kimfair1 May 13, 2011 05:13 AM

            Knew they were closed on Mondays, but didn't know they were closed Sunday as well (we're never there on a Sunday). Fore St or Street and Co would be my suggestions then as well.

            1. re: kimfair1
              b
              beccab107 May 19, 2011 11:31 AM

              Are reservations needed for bar seating at Fore St? We were there a few years ago and we grabbed a couple of bar seats and we were chased away and told we needed a reservation for the bar. We often sit at the bar and eat and this is the first time this has ever happened. We were more than a little chagrined. Is this the case always or did we experience an anomaly?

              1. re: beccab107
                Mister Meatball May 19, 2011 11:43 AM

                Never needed a rez for the bar, no. Not ever.

                1. re: Mister Meatball
                  b
                  beccab107 May 19, 2011 04:10 PM

                  That's what they told us that night. I wonder what that was all about.

                2. re: beccab107
                  t
                  teacheranne May 20, 2011 05:52 AM

                  If you arrive at Fore Street about 5 PM your name can go on a wait list for somewhat later. Each night they save some seats for this process. We have gotten a last minute table this way many times! Enjoy-

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                  Fore Street
                  288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                  1. re: teacheranne
                    Mister Meatball May 20, 2011 11:40 AM

                    That's right. But the issue here is the bar, not the dining rooms. I have never heard of reservations at the bar,

          3. n
            nyawira May 23, 2011 02:18 PM

            Hi everyone, I thought I'd provide a brief review of my experience at Fore Street, which for the most part, I have to say, was rather disappointing. The ambiance was great - the lighting was low, there was a lot of wood, and while elegant, one wouldn't feel odd wearing levis. The bar was definitely a nice place to enjoy a drink and have a meal. Which we did. We thought the service overall was really good, although a little stiff for our taste. But having said that, I'm from California, and we both have lived in blue collar Baltimore for many years. Everyone was pleasant, attentive, and polite. No complaints at all there. We ordered the mussels to start with as was suggested and found them to be not very good at all. The sauce was flavorless and the mussels themselves appeared to be overcooked, or something. Very disappointing. I ordered the blue fish dish based on the ravings of the diner sitting next to us. But again, I thought the fish was flavorless and the accompaniments were really nothing special. I asked my husband this morning if he could remember what he had as a main course and he couldn't. The entire menu seemed.....tired, really and almost as if someone was accustomed to making it day in and day out without the benefit of creativity.

            I look forward to Hugos! I will also give Fore Street another go at another time if you all think that it might have been an off night.

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            Fore Street
            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

            6 Replies
            1. re: nyawira
              Mister Meatball May 23, 2011 02:51 PM

              Wow. I'm so sorry. I'm also pissed, as I just recommended the place (and the mussels) on my blog.

              How a bluefish can be flavorless escapes me. Ditto the mussels. Maybe others might have some insight on what might be going on.

              1. re: Mister Meatball
                n
                nyawira May 24, 2011 06:11 AM

                No worries, Mister Meatball. It wasn't spectacularly bad and I hope I don't give that impression. It was just nothing special and the mussels were really pretty bad, like they were overcooked or something. And the broth was boring. Maybe we were just so stressed out from house hunting that our expectations were to great....I don't know. But we want to be fair to the restaurant so we will definitely be back to give it another go.

              2. re: nyawira
                vbm May 23, 2011 05:45 PM

                Something must have been very strange. I have had the mussels twice recently and they were spectacular --big, plump, fresh, and cooked just right. I am thinking of going again this weekend.

                1. re: vbm
                  n
                  nyawira May 24, 2011 06:09 AM

                  Well let me know. My husband loves mussels and orders that at every restaurant we go to that offers them for his appetizer and he couldn't finish his. I had two and didn't bother with any more as they weren't worth whatever calories they held. We will give this restaurant another go, though......but looking forward to Hugos next.

                2. re: nyawira
                  m
                  monopod May 27, 2011 03:06 PM

                  Sounds to me like a case of tired/stressed diners + high expectations + a bit of an off night. Definitely worth trying it again, given all the folks that are sold on the place. Some of my favorite restaurants are places I was initially disappointed by, but later came around on.

                  1. re: monopod
                    n
                    nyawira May 30, 2011 07:33 AM

                    Could be. Some of my favorite haunts in Baltimore have disappointed me and driven me away after an off night. I've always gone back and never been disappointed. I will definitely be back to Fore Street again. It would be unfair for me not to!

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                    Fore Street
                    288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

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