Before I begin I want to say that I rank my first meal at Arrows as one of the finest that I've ever had in my life. Obviously, I was excited to come back a second time...however, in the back of my mind was the concern that restaurants--even great ones--tend to deliver less than their best for holiday set menus (Valentine's, New Year's, etc.).
Unfortunately, I have to say that I cannot recommend going to Arrows for New Year's Even to anyone ever, not when the regular prixe fixe or tasting menus seem to be far superior to what I had last night.
Now, granted...everything was tasty, everything was competently prepared, a couple things here and there were even inspired, but overall there was absolutely nothing creative or interesting about the meal.
We started with the supplement of Israeli Caviar for $150: outstanding! Probably the best part of the meal.
First course: artichoke soup, I found it tasty and well balanced, though a few at table found it bland.
Second course: belgian endive with vinagrette and some kind of hazelnut paste, I believe. Crispy, refreshing, but ultimately forgettable.
Third course: gnocchi in a preparation whose details I cannot quite recall: the strongest non caviar dish, probably. Utterly tender baby gnocchis in a fabulous rich sauce.
Fourth course: a choice between filet with foi gras or baked lobster: okay...I think this is where my big bone to pick comes in. Were these two dishes tasty? Yes, of course they were. But, come on. Filet mignon or baked lobster? Both were perfectly prepared, yes. Both were filling and satisfying. I would have enjoyed either dish as an entree at, maybe, M.C. Perkins cove. But COME ON. $95 per person before wine at the so-called Best Restaurant in the Northeast, and this is your showstopper? zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Fifth course: sorbets: refreshing, uneventful
dessert: chocolate mousse: see comment about fourth course above. Give me a break!
Dinner for four with three bottles of wine and caviar came to $800 before tip. Now, I would not complain about this price had the meal been an ARROWS meal. But this was more like a...I dunno...a good weeknight neighborhood restaurant meal (minus the caviar of course).
All in all, I left full but disappointed. I wish I'd skipped NYE and spent that money at Fore Street instead.
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
41 Berwick Road, Ogunquit, ME 03907