Central Provisions, Portland: first impressions
This newly-renovated space on Wharf St. (upstairs entrance on Fore) is only a few weeks old. 3 of us stopped by last night for wine and before-dinner nibbles, and were pretty impressed. Space is gorgeous: downstairs bar, upstairs open kitchen with tables and chef's bar with stools: warm brick, golden wood, with great music tapes. The focus is smaller plates of various sizes. We had one cold ap (baby artichokes with house-made ricotta and crispy chicken skin) which needed a little more flavor. Two warm ones: really great smoked carrots with a tangy sauce; and after some delay, best dish of the three: roasted brussels sprouts with a great lemon flavor on the outside, perfectly cooked, topped with shaved peccorino & pine nuts: elegant flavor. Wine list is quite interesting, two cocktails were reported as tasty also. Pricing seems about normal for Portland. Will be interested in reading reports from others who've gotten further down the menu to heartier fare.
My husband and I went there for our Anniversary last week. We had the bread and butter, pasta with black truffles, chop salad, mackerel, and suckling pig. We finished with key lime pie. Each one of those dishes was independently the best I've ever had. This is the best good I've had dining out since we moved to Maine. In fact, every aspect of this place, from the ambience to the service, to the drinks (and generous pours) makes this my number one dining experience in Maine in the three years of foodie hopping in Portland. The place reminds me of the finest gastro pub dining in Chicago. Right up there with The Girl and the Goat in the Windy City. I can't wait to go back.