I have gone out to a few restaurants/pubs in the past month and finally now am getting around to blogging about my experiences. The reviews will be spread out over a few posts.
Number one and possibly the BEST- Portland Craft in the heart of Main Street was a really original and fun joint. My experience started with some cool Twitter exchanges with staff and the Manager, and even reservations made via a Tweet! Now that’s convenient. When I approached the pub I had a momentary twinge of panic because it seemed like this hopping communal industrial looking place filled with all those trendy hipsters you come to expect in Mount Pleasant. I took a closer look and saw a big group of firefighters, some older couples sharing wine, groups of ladies out after shopping and my little group of tried-and-true friends. On this 2nd glance, it was perfect! I was led to a cozy corner booth and asked the server for her recommendation for a beer. I was thirsty, no doubt about it, and said I was looking for ‘refreshing’ and ‘light’. Basically I wanted summer in a pint of beer. She said she had just the thing for me, “Even the men love it!” she joked. Minutes later a tall golden glass of Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale arrived and I sought confirmation one more time that it wouldn’t be too fruity would it? I shouldn’t have questioned. I’ll admit my first sip was apprehensive…but then it went down great. It was so refreshing. Perhaps that’s a cliched word to use but dammit it’s all I can come up with because it’s TRUE. It was a tasty pint.
My dining partners and I ordered several things: Sumac-Spiced Potato Chips, Drunken Olives, Meat Pizza of the Day (no not for me!), Brushchetta and the fantastic surprise of the evening, Veggie Shepherds Pie. Lets start with the appy’s and the potato chips: probably the weakest item we chose. None of us knew what to expect with a Sumac spice and trust me wracked our brains trying to decipher what it would taste like. Result was a mild bagged BBQ chip really. On to the olives. I love a good olive. We received a nice heaping mound of these beauties in all shapes and sizes. Some were meaty and hefty, others delicate and tiny, all swimming in olive oil and a heady aroma of spices. Was a perfect complement to my 2nd beer, an Odin Kolsch- a simply smooth lager. I’m not going to go all ga-ga over my friends dinner because I want to dive right into my meal. I reluctantly ordered the Veggie Shepherds Pie because truthfully there wasn’t that much I could personally eat. This seemed like the best choice and I knew of an Omni who ate it, and LOVED IT. What did I have to lose?
I was blown away. This dish was amazing. The lentils were so flavorful. I can’t even begin to name the spices but the menu does say “beer braised”. It was saucy and thick, rich and brown. Nicely cooked tiny diced veggies were throughout the lentils and it was topped with Cauliflower mash. Now, let me be honest. When I read the menu I got all indignant. I said to my friends “Just because we’re vegetarian doesn’t mean we need comfort food so ridiculously altered! Why can’t they just use the plain old potato?” I scoffed. Let me tell you, that cauliflower mash was full of cheese, golden on the edges, super creamy and light the way a mashed potato could never, ever be. I couldn’t get enough. The whole thing was topped with what appeared to be these roasted chard pieces. So delicious but in my opinion not nearly enough!
My 3rd beer choice is really slightly fuzzy. Hell I can’t even remember where it was from or what kind of brew it was. I know this though, it was good.
We never felt rushed to leave. We got great service and I will be back. I’ve been dreaming of that “pie” ever since. (no pics as the place was too dark)