My wife, daughter, and I ate at clarklewis Saturday night. I had really been looking forward to being there again; last time we went I had the best lamb I've ever eaten. At that time the place had already been taken over by the original chef's wife/partner, but it was still terrific.
Well, no more. It's still good, but not at all exceptional. First off, the kitchen pacing was terrible. This restaurant has been around for about five years, and a busy Saturday night should not upset them so that main courses took 30 minutes to arrive. They had to buy desserts for a number of tables.
The food was mixed: very good first courses, but the mains were really lacking. My wife's salmon was mediocre; daughter's fish was better but nothing to write home about. My leg of lamb (sliced) was quite rare and, although tasty, was way too chewy and gristly. Dessert was good.
This was a destination restaurant but I think it's gone down. The new owners run two bar/restaurants in Portland that cater to, as my daughter puts it, "chads." Guys in polo shirts and khakis who spend a lot on vodka and think fine dining is yelling your head off when you are having a good time. In other words, yuppie restaurants, with an emphasis on the "y." (I don't think one should be judged on their shirts and pants, but I do think the focus of those places is different from what clarklewis was. It looks like the new management is trying to replicate their other restaurants in the "new" clarklewis. Too bad.
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