A few weeks back I found myself in the historic and beautiful New England fall setting of Portland, Maine. It was the perfect time of year to getaway, take in the scenery and enjoy some of the most delicious seasonal dishes. The weekend brought about many courses, some hits and some misses. Overall it was an amazing weekend of eating and exploring. I thought I would switch it up a bit and do a taste of edition of Benn Breaks Bread to share some of my favorite dishes with all of my faithful followers. Let’s dig in!!!
Evo Kitchen + Bar
For the first meal of the first night I was there, I stopped in to Evo Kitchen + Bar. We ordered 9 plates total but these were my top 4. The restaurant had a modern feel and was set up very differently, with the kitchen right in the middle and seating horseshoed around with a loft above. It was located in the corner space at the bottom of the Hyatt Hotel right in downtown. Mediterranean was not my first choice, but after talking to the locals this place came highly recommended. All of the dishes we got were excellent. The lobster was by far the standout of the evening. The tiny little mountains of potato puree were buttery and decadent, the perfect compliment to the delicious local Maine lobster. The meal came to a perfect end when our wonderful server snuck us two puffy white marshmallows with the date cake that I had enquired about earlier. Our first meal was great and I could tell Portland was going to leave me very happy.
After eating at Evo, I was on my way out the door and saw a group of chef’s standing around. I walked over to them and asked them if I were to eat in Portland, where the recommend I should eat. They gave me several suggestions but were adamant that I eat lunch at a place called Central Provisions. The next morning I headed out around noon and went straight to this establishment. This was a cool pub style restaurant with limited seating and very small. The restaurant was very cool and it really captured the same look as the historic downtown area, classy yet rustic. 90% of the reviews I write are based off of dinners, rarely a lunch. I am totally okay with going on record saying this is one of the best, if not THE best lunches I have ever had. Everything we had was great, and we ate plenty more than what is pictured. The cauliflower dish was one I needed to have once I saw it pass by the table. There were no crazy ingredients in this dish, but it was without question amazing flavor combinations that proved this place really knew what they were doing. Nothing on the menu was over the top, but EVERYTHING was cooked and prepared perfectly. This experience was amazing, from the food, the service and the atmosphere this is definitely a place I will visit again.
Saturday night was our big fine dining meal of the trip, so I found the nicest restaurant recommended and made a reservation. The atmosphere was perfect. Everything was well thought out from the lighting to the music. All of the courses were columned out by vegetable, land and sea. We got two tasting menus, which totaled to all but 4 courses on the menu. The food did not disappoint, and on top of what we ordered, little surprises from the chef were delivered while we waited for the next course to arrive. Now if you follow my Instagram, you know that this was the night I ate the best dessert of my life. I rarely, if ever, spoil a review but after eating this éclair I immediately needed to share it with the world. This enormous éclair was delivered to the table on a massive cutting board. There were so many different components that each bite offered a variety of new flavors. I had never in my life had nasturtium ice cream, or even nasturtium for that matter. Nasturtium is the flower of the watercress. This ice cream was delicious. Each bite was better than the last and I was beyond pleased.
Eventide Oyster Co.
Our last stop of the weekend was at a recommended place that we nearly missed. Eventide Oyster Co. is a sister restaurant to Hugo’s. At dinner the night before we noticed that when standing in the back of the restaurant you could see straight through to another kitchen. Upon asking the waitstaff what this mystery kitchen was I discovered that it was the kitchen for Eventide, which is located next door. I am so glad we stopped here as it was a perfect end to an amazing food weekend. The lobster roll might be the best I have ever had, mainly because it was so different from common lobster rolls. It was hot, and the bun was almost uncooked and doughy, reminiscent of the soft roll of a pork bun. The oysters I ordered were both from Maine, and as I’ve been eating lots of oysters over the past year, I’ve found that the ones higher up the coast are higher in salinity and I like that in an oyster.
All of these establishments were top notch. 8-9 loavers easily. I plan to return in the next year because there is a restaurant that I wanted to eat at but couldn’t get a reservation fast enough called Fore Street. Every chef recommended it and thought highly of it. So if you are in the area, check out all of the restaurants downtown in the Fore St. area. There are not only great restaurants, but good shopping and coffee shops. And if you’re in the mood for a potato donut they have those too. And if you aren’t in the mood you can give them to the homeless woman who sits across the street just like I did.
This has been a bonus installment of Benn Breaks Bread. Join me next week when I properly review my absolute local favorite Millwrights Restaurant & Tavern, Simsbury CT.