My boyfriend and I traveled up to Portland, Maine this weekend. I’ll have to start by saying that Portland is a beautiful place in the month of August. (I don’t imagine that in February I’d feel the same way but that’s a personal issue.)
And for a small city in the middle of nowhere, Portland has a pretty lively dining/nightlife scene. There were several restaurants that friends and family recommended but one that we heard repeatedly was Street and Co. The website is emblazoned with the mantra “Taste is Real. Simple.” You had me at Hello.
We arrived around 7 pm on a Saturday. Not a smart move if you have kids or are in the mood for a quick bite. We were told that the wait is about an hour and a half for an outdoor table, but were welcome to the lounge in the meantime. Come to find out, the lounge does drinks and appetizers so the hour and a half wait wasn’t looking so bad.
While waiting we’re amazed by the polished concrete raw bar and rustic American deco. It was dimly lit and romantic in a non-mushy way. We ordered ourselves a bottle of Prosecco (my favorite) and were well on our way to enjoyment. 20 minutes later the hostess informed us that another couple hadn’t showed up for a reservation and we could be seated an hour early, although the table was inside. We liked the lounge so much that we forfeited our outdoor table spot in the 78 degree openness of the Maine evening and took our chances on whatever reservation was just gifted to us.
Boy was I glad to have sat inside. The dining room is warm, crowded and loud – all due to the fact that there is a huge open kitchen no more than 50 feet away from any singe seat in the place. The clever designers even thought to put large mirrors on the back wall so guests facing away from the kitchen could still delight in the action. As someone that knows and loves the restaurant industry, I love a good open kitchen because the chefs are sharing the cooking experience with their guests. As someone that just likes to come along with me for the good food, my boyfriend likes the open kitchen because to him it means they have nothing to hide.
First we sampled some oysters from a few local spots. I am not an oyster connoisseur so this is the first time I noticed a difference in taste between harvesting locations. (Casco Bay happened to be our favorite of the night.)
As my main course I ordered the broiled scallops. It came with some excellent summer squash and red potatoes. My boyfriend ordered a Hake special, served in an heirloom tomato gazpacho and upon its arrival I immediately regretted not ordering that dish myself. Quite literally the best seafood either of us have had in quite some time.
Check it out: http://www.streetandcompany.net/menu