Restaurants & Bars 9

555 Portland: Slam Dunk

sixelagogo | May 27, 200802:17 PM

My dude and I had a terrific meal at 555 this past weekend. The restaurant now holds place in my top 10 restaurants ever, as it hit the high marks in terms of service, atmosphere, and especially food and wine. Everything – and I mean everything- was remarkably perfectly seasoned and cooked (and boy, did we remark). The timing was consistent without any drag or lag, but also without feeling rushed.

We had the spring tasting menu which, at 60$ (I think) per person + $35 accompanying wines, was, IMHO of super value.

We sat on the second floor that was a veritable perch overlooking the kitchen and the dining room. A great spot for people like me who like to see the food both in the kitchen and coming out.

Here’s our menu:

Amuse Bouche: Smoked Bluefish croquette with ramp cream: perfectly fried little nugget with perfect smoke. Ramp cream gave it a high five…we knew were in for some good eats after this starter.

Maine “lobster roll”: Butter poached lobster wrapped in phyllo and served with pickled ramps, fiddleheads, and salad. Served with Pine ridge chenin-blanc
Buttery phyllo atop the sweet/sour salad worked, though I could barely taste the lobster. Wine pairing was spot on.

Marinated Spring Lamb Sirloin with potato parsnip boxty, caramelized onions, and sorrel green garlic pesto. Served with Perrin Cotes du rhone
Probably the most tender and flavorful lamb I’ve had in a long time. Lamb was perfectly cooked to medium rare and needed nothing. Dipping it in the sorrel pesto took it over the top from perfect into UBER. Wow.

Roasted Squab breast with braised green kale, annas potatoes, and squab liver enriched pan sauce. Served with 2005 Joseph Drouhin Pinto noir.
When I first saw the menu I was surprised and then a bit disappointed that the final course would be pigeon. I needn’t have been. Cooked medium rare and set atop sauce like no other, this bird was through the roof good and could have been cut with spoon, much less a butterknife. Potatoes Anna, usually a disappointment of slightly undercooked/overcooked potatoes wowed us well. Delightful

Smiling hill camembert with brown butter brioche, candied pineapple black pepper jam and maple walnuts.
Waitron graciously asked us if we’d like a bit more of the above pinot to savor with the cheese course. Well of Course! We replied, to which she promptly refilled our glasses. (now that’s what I call a wine course)
Individually, components were good; Together, they were shazam.

Cherry Chocolate Charlotte with glazed cherries, ladyfingers, chocolate fudge sauce and toasted almonds.
Neither my dude or I are real dessert people, so it’s hard to be objective. It was a good, though very rich, finale to the meal.

After a disjointing (and expensive ) dinner at Hugo’s the night before http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522217 and extrodinarily disappointing (and expensive) second visit to Arrows a year back, we were in a showmewhatyougot kinda mode. 555 exceeded expectations and shakazooloed us both. Can’t wait to go back.

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