We just came back from a very delicious trip to Portland.
The highlight of the trip was the tasting menu at Hugo's. What a meal! Very creative, delicious, and generous. They must have sent out 15 dishes or so. I am usually hard to please when it comes to the value of a restaurant, but this $100/person menu was worth every penny. There were too many great dishes to name them all, but the foie gras trio dessert was to die for. Oh, and the rib eye with soy miso glaze. And the raw smoky yellow tail and lobster. Ah... The only thing I would change is the length. We were in the restaurant for almost 4 hours. By the end we were getting really tired. I would definitely go back, but order the 4 course menu next time. The wine pairings were somewhat disappointing, but fairly cheap. 7 half glasses were a little under $30. Next time, I'd just order a bottle.
Fore Street was fun. Mussels are as excellent as everyone says. The halibut cheeks appetizer was good too. Roasted chicken and hanger steak were juicy and very carnivourously yummy, but needed a good bit of salt (which was luckily available on all tables). Braised savoie cabbage was a great side. Bread was delicious and the rhubarb crisp was comforting. All the food was good if on the homey side. It lacked perfection of extraordinary country cooking (the kind you find in Piedmont or Burgundy), but was solid never the less.
What a lobster roll! Worth the $18 they charge for it. Huge chunks of warm lobster thoroughly coated with butter were heavenly. The roll was home made, buttery, and grilled. Clam chowder was smoky (with pronounced bacon flavor) and delicious.
*Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe*
A fun place for lunch. The banana muffins were incredible. Very moist with noticable chunks of bananas and nicely crisped on the outside. Eggs benedict with smoked salmon were great. The home fries were a bit strange. They had a raw potato kind of taste, and I wasn't crazy about the addition of carrots.
Everything here looked and sounded better than in tasted. The duck confit panini was tasty, but not as flavorful as one would expect and on a small side for $9. Fries (fried in duck fat) could be crispier and saltier. Garlic aioli for dipping was ok, but truffle ketchup (regular ketchup with truffle oil) was great. Duck broth with wheat berries was pleasantly spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and anise. Intensely flavorful and very good. Beignets (french donuts) were fried to order and quite good, but not great.
Thank you so much to all of you for your great recommendations!