We went to Evangeline in Portland on Saturday, August 7. We had read some very positive reviews and were deeply disappointed in both the food and service. First, the food. While it was good for the most part, the menu was limited and didn't reflect at all summer tastes, and some items were just off-base. Appetizers were average to good, including overbreaded goat cheese on a beet salad, and a strange chopped salad that was just shredded beyond recognition. The vegetable chowder was delicious, but rich. For entrees, some options were blanquette de veau, lamb navarin, roast pork with white beans.....not very light and summery. It was actually hard to decide what to order because not that much jumped out at us.
However, what really made the evening a bust was the absolutely terrible service. To start, the waitress brought the wrong bottle of wine twice; when my husband noted that the second bottle was the wrong year and clearly wanted to look at the wine list again, she continued to open the bottle. When he stopped her after she had started to cut the top away, she actually said to him, "You seriously don't want this bottle?" Her dirty look pretty much set the tone for the night. She never came over to ask how our courses were, the service was spotty and cursory and generally a noticeable disaster. At the end of the meal, we ordered three desserts; when two of the three came, the pot de chocolate was an empty plate, and we waited ten minutes for the final dessert to arrive. The crowning glory was when our friend ordered coffee with cream and not once but twice, the cream she was given was sour and curdled in her coffee. At this point, my friend said forget it, but they proceeded to bring her a third cup at which point we asked where the rest of the pot de chocolat was. Finally, the original waitress came over and said the woman who brought the coffee wasn't actually a waitress but was helping out because the other waitress had phoned in sick. She then plopped a big dollop of chocolate (don't know where the "pot" was) on my friend's plate, and after waiting ten minutes, the last dessert finally arrived and we could finish the meal.
After all that went wrong, we were disappointed to see no acknowledgement in the bill, including a charge for the coffee we had not wanted after the curdled cream experience. It was bad form and really unfortunate to not have recognized a simple gesture that could have set things a little bit right. I also want to note that we did not hound the waitress, were pretty patient and friendly considering how badly the meal was going, and expected more. At a bare minimum, she could have told us at the beginning of the evening that they were short staffed, instead of copping an attitude and providing uneven and rude service. The restaurant was 1/3 full, so its not as if they were slammed with a busy summer night.
We go out every August with these friends when they visit, and have had consistently wonderful meals at many great Portland restaurants, including Bresca, Fore Street, Hugo's, 555 and more. Evangeline is our first bad choice. Next time, we will start with a drink at Local 188 across the street and stay for dinner.....
288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101
685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102
190 State St, Portland, ME 04101