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Restaurants & Bars

EVO in Portland Maine : A Treasure Chest of Turkish Gems in the Old Port

opinionatedchef | Nov 4, 201508:18 PM     5

Chef Matt Ginn must be sorely missed at 555 and the other notable kitchens he's come through.
He's done a terrific job creating the unique Turkish-Mediterranean mezze menu here and as you peruse the many tempting dishes with new elements, you fortunately have a menu glossary -which is essential because of Americans' general unfamiliarity with this cuisine.
Highlights:
Lovely thoughtful presentation on every plate. Generous portions and fair pricing ; well-balanced flavors and food groups that are very easily combined in mix-n-match pairings.
Spiced Quail stuffed with pickled teeny eggplant w/ a walnut and tomato stuffing
Potatoes -- could NOT stop eating these toothsome tender taters swathed in a turmeric and mustard seed sauce and lapped with piquant labneh
Spice coated Lamb Loin on tomatoey compote - tender, delicate, perfectly cooked to rosy
Baba ganoosh and Fresh Puffed Pita w Mint and Shakshouka- delightful.
Kataifi -wrapped Spiced Shrimp - 'head-on, eat shell and all' not for me, but liked the crunchy coating and the piquant plate sauce.
Smoked Salmon Falafel- unusual coarse flavorful falafel mix but salmon not really noticeble.
Tahini Parfait -- almost a sesame halvah semifreddo topped with a mild floral honey. Perfect ending.

Minuses:
Ugly space- the opposite of warm and inviting. Minimalist decor translates here as characterless, and quite the opposite of the wonderful food. The space screams out for welcoming color. Mezzanine dining room has uncomfortable wooden chairs and bare tables set off by a 'Dirty Grey' wall, with glaringly bad ventilation from the cooking below on the street level. I don't think I've ever had such good food in such an ugly restaurant. So just keep your eyes on your friends and the lovely plates!
Service: Our server was relaxed, friendly and helpful, but inexperienced. Could use an intensive on the complex food she is serving- to better be able to advise.

http://evoportland.com/about-restaurant/

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