Just got back from Portland...
After a bit of research of CH, had some great meals in Portland so thanks to all those who have posted on here.
Friday had an AMAZING dinner (did the 4 course + wine pairing) at Bar Lola. Fantastic find. I might not eat in the old port again! The food was excellent, seasonal and local. Service was spot on. And we loved the wine pairing, a lot of things we might not have chosen; it was an adventure and we learned about what we were drinking and why it was paired. We were introduced to Maine Brewing company, specifically "mo" an IPA which was incredible. The owner was confounded as to how we even came across the place, of course I said "chowhound! " Gotta consult the CH before I travel anywhere.
Ate at Eventide upon reccs by locals and CH. Good meal, a bit $$ for smallish portion sizes but great beers and great oysters/raw. Had a fantastic asparagus/uni/hazlenut dish. Looks like they are gutting Hugo's next door.
Dinner at Duckfat. Nothing groundbreaking, fries were fries (good though!) and we had some amazing salads with some really unique and seasonal ingredients. (salads to counter the duckfat, of course. Like ordering a diet coke with a big mac.)
The last night we had dinner in the lounge at Fore Street. We got there at 5:15, wait for a table was until 9:45, wait for bar seats 1 3/4 hours. So we settled into chairs we snagged in the lounge. Food was good, however there was NO warning as to how small or large an item would be. We both had very large salads to start and then I ordered "the seafood platter". One might think that the word "platter" might suggest a largish-size portion. However it was more of a quartet of tiny bites of different cured fish. It was good but tiny tiny tiny for $17 and I'm used to NYC prices. Sized for a 5-year old. Husbands foie was a decent size, a very large app. We saw other items come out which ranged in size from tiny app to large app to full entree, but there was no ability to discern size from the menu. Our server was helpful, but didn't really guide us regarding portions. I should asked more questions but our poor waiter was the only one working the lounge.
Lobster: Went to Five Islands lobster, Eventide, and Lobster Shack at two lights (on our way out out town). Five islands was by far the best. And the steak and cheese (with peppers) was amazzzzing if you don't like things that swim.
Overall, great trip!
I think the best deal at Bar Lola is the 7 course blind tasting with the wine pairings. IIRC it comes in at something like $80 per person for a meal that will cost at least double anywhere else. The best way to do this is to let them know when you make your reservation so they can plan your meal better. The kitchen actually gets a bit excited with their planning. I think everyone at the table has to partake. Each diner doesn't necessarily get the same courses. Last time DW and i didn't overlap at all - they put out 14 different courses for our table of two. I will say I enjoy Hugo's tasting more right up until the bill arrives. Bar Lola comes in at less than half the tab for something that's pretty close. For high end Portland, it's the best deal in town.
Agree! We didn't end up doing the 7 course because my husband doesn't care for seafood. I don't like telling restaurants that during tasting menus because A) he doesn't have an allergy/restriction B) seafood is a huge part of their menu and C) I didn't want to limit myself to no seafood(!!!)
I think the wine paring was $24 and the 7 course was $44, so yes it seems to be a steal. The 4 course was $36.
Should we make our way back there, we will do the blind tasting no doubt.
Also, it looked as though Hugo's was closed for renovations? I guess the eventide owners own hugo's as well, sharing a kitchen? Too bad it was still closed.