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Portland options [split from Boston]

(Note: this discussion was split from the Boston board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9620... -- The Chowhound Team)

Thanks to all. We'll be in Portland a couple of days too, and I was planning on doing lobster rolls…lobster everything….there.

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  1. Ooooo, when you're inPortland go to Duckfat and order a panini and milkshake. The fries are nice but the confit, and especially the milkshakes, are amazing.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gimlis1mum

      Is Duckfat still a place to go or is has it changed in bad ways because it is so popular?

      1. re: Morganna

        Yesterday (Sunday) at 1:30 PM there was quite the line outside, in Portland, in winter although it was a pretty balmy 30 degrees. It is still very good although we were going to the East Ender next door which is also very good.

        1. re: bobbert

          I keep forgetting the name of East Ender (we live in boston) but we have really liked it there the 2x we've eaten lunch there. Very nice people and very flavorful food.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Was in Portlad last month on a weekend mid afternoon and while the line outside Duckfat was insane, we had no problem getting a table at East Ender. Interesting menu, we were quite happy. And the fries were pretty good - maybe not as good as what I've heard about Duckfat, but still quite good.

        2. re: Morganna

          Duckfat is still great - we were there over New Year's. The poutine topped with an egg was delicious and I just love the vanilla milkshake. Been to East Ender too and I like the food and the coziness of the downstairs room.

          1. re: Kat

            The poutine and a milk shake is one of my standards. I usually then go cross town to digest in Maine Med's ER waiting room just in case I go into cardiac arrest.

      2. And check out Grace. Talk about special-occasion atmosphere!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Parsnipity

          Grace is a beautiful room, with excellent food. Eventide Oyster is also phenomenal. We had an amazing scallop dish there on Saturday evening, though the ramen carbonara was a complete bust. Everything else we had was great, however.

        2. eventide in portland for sure! great - if too miniature - lobster roll. tasty but casual. check out the specials board.

          hugos, grace or fore street for dinner. even just a drink at grace (converted church) would do.

          1. oh, you might be able to open your wine there! the Portland food scene is excellent for any size city, let alone one so small. Check out the Northern New England board.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Madrid

              That's a brilliant thought.

              Along w/mum's suggestions, Duckfat has my fav soup ever- a creamy tomato fennel. While i bought the 'duckfat fried fr fries' schtick at first, i realize now that it's just hooey because they only use 25% duck fat, so what they are selling is just really good fr fries.

              If you look at the NoNew Eng board, you will see locals raving the lobster rolls at Eventide....

              Maybe you're not a sweets person, mcg, but Boston has Toscanini ice cream and Portland has Gelato Fiasco(not to be confused with Gorgeous Gelato across the street). Pretty amazing product. There's also Holey Donut which is not your average donut shop. I would skip Fore St; you have far better at home.

              Portland is a jewel of a little city; it has a really well preserved 19th c. commercial waterfront and downtown, and its welcoming arts and food communities have grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. hope you have a great trip.

              1. re: Madrid

                Forgot to reply to this but you can't open your wine here either unless it's a byob place. The best of those is probably Shultz and Herr, a small German place with very good food but I don't think of it as a "special bottle of wine" place.

              2. On Portland- Chris Gould, formerly of Uni in Boston, recently opened Central Provisions in Portland. Getting some good early press.

                Sample menu here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/191107993/C...

                looks yummy... i'd be interested in hearing how it is :)

                6 Replies
                1. re: valcfield

                  Foie gras w/ Kumquats- YesPLEASE!
                  I wonder what hirasama is like.....

                  aha:
                  http://www.seattlefish.com/featured-p...

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Definitely will be hitting up Central Provisions on one of my many trips to Portland, soon. the menu looks phenomenal!

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      It's excellent and possibly one of the smoothest openings I've seen. A must. Get the bread and butter (trust me). Lots of exciting things happening here these days. Piccolo in the old Bresca spot is another must in the "what's new" category, and leave room for dessert.

                      For the OP's lobster roll Eventide but it's not your traditional roll. The best traditional roll this time of year is Fisherman's Grill although it is an unappealing space in an even more unappealing part of town.

                      For one meal in town with no budget restraints, I'd say Hugo's. Drinks at Hunt and Alpine and/or Grace or Outliers (good meals or aps as well). Bites at Eventide, Boda, Pai Men, definitely Central Provisions. Beside Hugo's, a full blown meal worthy of a visit would include 555, Emilitsa, Fore Street, Street and Company, Back Bay Grill and creative sushi at Miyake.

                      1. re: bobbert

                        I saw the Eventide lobster roll when we stopped in on Sat. and it looked tiny and unappealing to me. An oddly overly red color, maybe it tasted way better than it looked.

                        And Fisherman's Grill has some other things in the hood, Great Lost Bear across the street for tons of beer and Ernie's pub for pool and ping pong.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          You can get the Eventide lobster roll 3 different ways, the most popular is with the brown butter. It's served in a Japanese style steamed bun which throws some people off. It is small and definitely not a traditional Maine roll. You really should eat two.

                  2. In Portland right now. Eventide last night, and it's all you said it would be. Oyster selection beyond crazy--TEN from Maine and ten more from outside Maine. We had oysters and clams with beer. Mignonettes and cocktail sauce all wonderful. Very friendly service.

                    Gotta go get some donuts before the snow comes and am seriously considering canceling 555 in favor of Central Provisions. Film at 11.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mcgrath

                      I have yet to try Central Provisions, but count me as not a fan of 555, especially with all the other (IMHO better) options in Portland.

                      1. re: mcgrath

                        If you do decide on Central Provisions and there's only two of you AND you can score seats at the chef's bar near the chef, that is where to be. You get to watch everything come out and see it all prepared. Quite the show.

                      2. From NYC, and just finished a Portland tour. Hands down the best restaurant - both objectively and relatively was Central Provisions. Every single course we ordered was fantastic - a difficult feat for the best of tapas, small plates, or tasting menu courses. Last meal in this format was Atera, NYC which was a complete non-event, so this came as a very uplifting change.
                        We started at the bar at the lower level while we were waiting for the table, but it was cozy and comfortable enough that we decided to stay put and dine at the bar even though a table was ready for us at the chefs counter in 5 minutes.
                        Here's our ranking of what we ordered:

                        hot category

                        1. suckling pig
                        2. the lobster toast (unique)
                        3. the shrimp a planca (best we've had, paralleled only by those in Paco Meralgo and others in Barcelona)
                        4. fois gras (well, its warm fois gras!)
                        5. charred octopus (most flavored octopus we have had, but perhaps a tad bit too seasoned)

                        cold
                        1. oysters (ordered twice - basket island, and dave's [cove?]
                        2. the heirloom tomato salad (sweetest tomatoes in the season),
                        3. beet salad

                        desert
                        1. cheese plate (really good cheese)
                        2. wild blueberries (highlight of the evening, very succulent blueberries perfect paired with creme anglais with a hint of mint).

                        All said and done, unfortunately came here the last eve of our trip. Had i come here first or second day, i would have definitely dined again on the 5th or 6th day.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Nlb2110

                          Glad you enjoyed Central Provisions--thanks for the report! Blueberries and tomatoes have been so good here this season--