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Aug 22, 2013 10:47 AM

Outliers [Portland]

My husband and I went to Outliers last night, partially based on the amazing review they reviewed in the press, but also because a friend had an amazing experience there, and also members of the board here have had positive experiences.

We sat at the bar and ate oysters, the pork belly appetizer, the mussels appetizer, and then we shared the duck. The oysters were really quite outstanding. Some of the best we've had in town. The mussels were also outstanding. Some of the best we've had in town. And the serving size was enormous. I am not sure we needed that much, but I'm certain others would be really happy with the portion size. In fact, the portion sizes of everything was bigger than would typically be our preference.

The pork belly dish was inedible. We love pork belly and order it whenever it's on the menu. So, we know it's fatty. But this was pure fat. There was no meat at all. It was cooked so that the top was crispy which was really yummy. But that was it. We couldn't eat it. And we told the very friendly bartender. She went back to the Chef with it and came back to let us know that they would either take if off our bill or cook another portion. But she reminded us that typically pork belly is very fatty. So, I let her know that if the Chef felt that what we were served was acceptable to take it off our bill, because it really wouldn't do to get a plate precisely the same as the last serving. But, if the chef did agree that it was too fatty to be served (no meat. Literally), then we'd love to have another go at it. The chef decided to serve us another plate and it was really quite wonderful. Kudos to the Chef, to the bartender and to the management of this new restaurant for the way they handled this exchange. I tipped the bartender generously based on this exchange alone.

The duck was very good, it was served on a bed of risotto which was dreamy it was so good.

We shared a bottle of wine which was recommended by the bartender, who offered to let us taste it first before ordering. Something we took her up on since it was a Shiraz, a wine we typically don't drink.

So, all in all, a great experience at Outliers.

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        1. re: ThanksVille

          Sort of an outlying location (sorry, couldn't help myself) on York St by the bridge to South Portland (same st. as El Rayo). Could be confusing to get to. Go past El Rayo then DO NOT make the turn onto the bridge. Keep straight and it's on the right. Really good food and the best restrooms in town.

    1. I've been debating whether to post about my Outliers experience, but since you opened the discussion, here goes. We had a pretty bad night there in June (waited an hour for our entrees because the kitchen threw out our ticket, and then our server took a guess at what we ordered and got my husband's order wrong). OK, off night, but it turned out that three tables around us had issues as well: one woman sent her dinner back because it was cold, the guy next to us asked to hold the mushrooms in an app because of an allergy and he got it with mushrooms, and, drum roll, the grand prize goes to...the couple that got their pork and ramen appetizer with a BRILLO PAD in it.

      At their prices you can't have that bad an off night. No more Outliers for us.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sciencediet

        That's unfortunate. How long had they'd been open at that time (though nothing excuses the Brillo pad!)? Is this the second place from the Grace folks? I'd be interested in hearing others experiences as well, good or bad.

        1. re: kimfair1

          They'd been open 2 months. To be honest I haven't been wowed by the food at Grace either--the space, sure.

          1. re: sciencediet

            I didn't love everything we had at Grace, but I did like the sweetbreads very much, and the cocktails were also quite good.

          2. re: kimfair1

            Actually the 3rd place from the Grace folks (first one in Falmouth not really worth mentioning) although a divorce has chopped up the business a bit. Like Grace the room is beautiful though in a way smaller, more intimate and inviting way. I've been 4 or 5 times and have yet to try an entree. I've had many app's which have, at a minimum been good with some great. These change often, so often that I've always found new items - for better or worse - wanting the crab salad or pig ears again I found them gone but other not as great items also replaced. Wasn't thrilled with the charcuterie plate the first time then it was revamped and I enjoyed it a lot. Real nice beer list and knowledgeable, friendly servers - they have to be because of the lack of any descriptions of the food on the menu - a pet peeve of mine. Have never had any service issues though I have to admit, even though Brillo Pads can be a great source of iron in anyone's diet, I'd probably stay with vitamin supplements. And I love the mens room with its Hunter S Thompson theme.
            Overall, I think the food is really very good and is served in an environment that manages to blend trendy, casual, upscale and unpretentiousness all at the same time.

            1. re: bobbert

              I'm going to have to sneak in the mens room or something to check out the Hunter S stuff--

              1. re: sultanaboudreau

                I'm shocked that you haven't already.
                A fun restroom although H S Thompson fans would appreciate it most.
                Don't forget to pick up the pay phone and listen to the recording.

          3. re: sciencediet

            wow--that's a tragically bad dinner service!

            I've eaten there 10-15ish times at this point--both brunch and dinner, and haven't had any screwups (luckily), and I hope your experience was just their worst service ever--

            1. re: sciencediet

              Yikes. That is the best bad service story I've ever heard. A BRILLO pad. OMG. That's horrifying. It's interesting that this restaurant is connected to Grace. I didn't know that. Grace is off our circuit now. The last few times we've been, the food has been pretty mediocre. I used to love their little burgers, but dry and overcooked the last time we were there. The food has taken a downturn, not sure why.