And they may be. This is agreat but casual restaurant in Portland, Maine serving much of the same food as the James Beard Award winning Hugo's nearby. Note that Hugo's won the Beard award this year beating out everyone else in Boston, Providence and elsewhere in New England. He also owns Duckfat which serves some of the exact same food but is more casual and less expensive. http://www.duckfat.com/
Yesterday at 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon the 25 or so seats in the restaurant were all filled. Yes, filled! At 3:00PM. I can only imagine what the line looks like at lunch.
Superb french fries. The sign in the window may be accurate for many. I'm not sure that I like them more than Thrasher's on the lower end of the Boardwalk in Ocean City, MD (ONLY that location-no other) or Michel Richard's Central french fries in D. C. or Dick's in Spokane, WA which serves McDonald's original pre 1967 french fries which are fried in 70% animal fat. I might also consider Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City where they have fried their's in pure lard for almost a half century.
But Duckfat adds one or more of about seven housemade dipping mayos including truffled ketchup, garlic aioli, curry mayo and others. Also several of the absolute best paninis that I have ever tasted.
And the same soup as served in Hugo's. Incredible, virtually orgasmic tomato and fennel in a thick, rich creamy bisque. Outstanding salads: yesterday's feature included Cabrales and "red wine poached dates." I wanted to buy a pint of the wine soaked dates to take with me! A real, honest to God milkshake. Serious with scooped ice cream, pure syrups and/or fruit and all blended with a vintage Mixmaster.
Duckfat is a treasure. Unfortunately, it is known and hugely popular. Still, this really may have the best french fries in America-perhaps that may rival the best that I've had in Brussels. For me it was worth the drive from Boston-for lunch.
I stayed for dinner, too.