As I have previously stated, Portland has incredible food. Choosing a restaurant for dinner can be a daunting task as they have so many great choices, all utilising the freshest of ingredients and combining beautiful flavors. On our first trip to Portland we did not make dinner reservations, but instead decided to just see who had availability. We were lead to Street and Company located on the beautiful Wharf Street.
Our meal that evening was one of the best we've ever had, and has ruined scallops as a dish at any other restaurant for John-no body prepares them as well as that night. Though we have tried a variety of other great places in town, Street and Co. remains our favorite, and so we were thrilled to head back there on Saturday night.
We elected to start with the Maine Shrimp Cakes, served with Mache, citrus segments and an aioli. I had been reading about how Maine Shrimp were in season and how sweet and wonderful they are, as soon as I saw this on the menu I knew it was a must try. I was really blown away with how delicious these little cakes were! The reviews had been right- Maine Shrimp are incredibly sweet-almost an explosion of flavor when bitten into. They were honestly unlike any other shrimp I've had. I loved that the chef had paired the cakes- which were nicely seasoned even beyond the shrimp, but never overpowering them, with the citrus as the blood oranges added great acid to dish. The finishing aioli was perfect to round out the dish and enhance all of the other flavors. It was the perfect way to begin.
I selected one of their specials Cod served with crab meat, escarole and a deconstructed Picada over top. This was really lovely- the whole dish had been cooked in a skillet, and served in the same. The cod was ever so light, and perfectly seasoned and cooked. It delicately flaked at the slights fork pressure. The escarole was hearty and robust, and had the most wonderful flavor from cooking in what seemed as a light tomato broth. Finally, the most fantastic texture change came from the Picada-a simple combination of toasted almonds, garlic and herbs that provided this lovely crunch in the face of an other wise tender dish. The almond flavor also leant itself well to boosting the richness. Honestly it was a beautiful dish. My only disappointment was the lack of crab meat- I could see the little strands, but could not find a piece of lump meat anywhere. The rest of the flavors made up for it, but it was missed.
John chose their scallops again, served also in a skillet pan, with Pernod and cream, with a side of cous cous. The scallops were again, perfectly cooked and that delicious sauce of the French liqueur Pernod with cream was a lovely decadent addition. The cous cous was lovely as well, enhanced with fresh mint leaves which John loved with the scallops as well.
Street and Co, and the rest of their restaurant family in Portland, brings dining to a new level. Their concentration on fresh ingredients, some being cultivated just that morning, and on the dining experience is obvious. The restaurant is warm and appealing, boasting an open kitchen, and lovely copper topped tables. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable, with great insight to their wine list, and entrees.
Entering Street and Co. makes me feel as though I've entered some one's home- a person with extreme talent, and care for the bounty of the earth as well as my well being.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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Boy do I love Portland. We've been there for a weekend of eating and left with the fullest of bellies - it is an amazing food city.
I strongly recommend Cinque Terre (right near Street and Company) for great Ligurian dining (a cuisine that doesn't get much attention here.
That has definitely been on the list of places to try! Thanks for the suggestion! Portland is just incredible!
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