Place: Blue Spoon
Time: 7:00pm, Tuesday May 6th 2008
With: Hubby, Sabrina and ZeeZee
Where: 89 Congress Street, Portland, Maine
Sunday Was ZeeZee’s birthday, and to celebrate Sabs and Hub and I took Zee to Blue Spoon on Congress Street. We had tried to go here as a group a few months ago, but it was busy and the wait was far too long. You see, they don’t accept reservations unless you are a group of 6 or more. But don’t let that stop you from going. Our wait this time was just under a half hour, which is more than worth it for the excellent food.
We walked over from Zee’s new(ish) house at around 6:20. It was a gorgeous night for a walk. Yesterday was the first day that you could smell summer hanging in the air. I love this time of the year. Everyone emerges from their houses and starts to reacquaint themselves with nature and neighbors.
After we checked in we had a wait, so we went across the street and browsed at FatBaxter’s East End Market. We decided that we would need to go there the next time we cooked at ZeeZees, ’cause they had terrific fresh veggies and meats.
We waited outside and sat on the bench and chatted and people watched and just were. I noticed that there is a different type of people who hang out on Munjoy hill. They seem less concerned with the rest of Portland, like they are their own little city. It’s nice.
We were sat at the corner table in the restaurant. Blue Spoon maybe seats 40, tops. There are about ten tables, and a small bar where you can sit. I noticed single folks dining alone, couples out for a date, and groups of 3 or more having little celebrations. It has a cozy feel and relaxed atmosphere. It feels homey.
Our waitress seemed a little rushed (to me) at first, but I think that it was just her personality. She turned out to be very sweet and accommodating, and she kept an eye on our table – we never had to wait too long for anything. She was also able to steer me towards one of two items I was considering. I hate the whole “everything is great on our menu” mentality. If I ask which is better, tell me your honest opinion. And she did, and I sincerely thank her for it. Thanks, waitress! We should hang out sometime!
The Hubby and Zee shared a bottle of wine, while I had a diet Pepsi and Sabrina stuck with water. The Hub said that it was some of the best wine that he had – Sebastiani Pinot Noir – and that it was a perfect compliment to his meal. I sipped it, and it was very smooth and almost velvety. The Hub also said that it was “smuth and delishush”. Did I mention that he and Zee shared a bottle?
We had the requisite bread in a flower pot thing that everyone nowadays seems to do. It helped that the bread was very good. It came with a small plate of olive oil with pepper and salt. The olive oil was very thick and full of flavor – one of the best I have tasted.
As a table we shared two appetizers – the Meze Plate and Stuffed Figs. The Meze Plate came with a wonderful dry pungent cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, olives, a really good salami, marinated mushrooms, apples, and flat bread. There was also a lemon dill dipping sauce. It was totally worth the price. There were three Stuffed Figs. if you like the fruity taste of figs, then these are for you. if you don’t, then avoid. I found that if I took a little cheese from the Meze plate and added it to the fig it helped to punch up the flavor.
For dinner I ordered the NY Strip Steak, medium rare. It came with a Parmesan Potato Cake and Sauteed Greens. The Steak was cooked perfectly – grilled over wood or coal. It was very steaky, and just what I wanted. The Potato Cake was burned, but had a nice parmesan touch. The greens were slightly spicy and very fresh.
The Hub ordered “Chicken Under a Brick” consisting of half a roasted chicken, parsnips, carrots, and a herbed butter. The chicken was tender and moist, but rather bland without the herb butter. Luckily, there was enough butter to have a little with every bite. I love parsnips, and they were roasted to a perfect caramelization.
Sabrina ordered the Spinach and Radish salad, which consisted of baby spinach and radishes tossed in a buttermilk vinaigrette with blue cheese biscuits. She devoured it, so she must have liked it. The biscuits were little English looking circles of bread. They looked cute, so ten points for presentation. Sabs said it was wonderful. Sabs also got the red bean and vegetable soup, which she liked but when I tasted it it smelled of Vicks VapoRub. Even the Hub said it tasted a little medicinal. Maybe they used eucalyptus?
Birthday girl ordered the Grilled Eggplant Napoleon, which consists of layers of grilled eggplant filled with garlic sauteed spinach and pepperoncini spiced rice, with a shallot yogurt sauce. Although I didn’t taste it, it looked really beautiful and high end. Aubergine isn’t my thing, but Zee loved it.
We took about two hours to eat, and although there were people waiting we weren’t rushed, which is nice.
I would definitely go back to Blue Spoon. The food is well presented and well prepared, the wait staff is attentive and professional, and the restaurant is classic.
Four out of Five stars.