We've been remodeling our kitchen, and thus eating out in greater Portland, literally for months on end. Our favorite 'hidden gems':
BACK BAY GRILLE BAR MENU: Wow! If you sit at the bar there are only two entree items- a burger, and crab cakes. (The full appetizer and dessert menus are offered.) We were both in the mood for the burgers, and they were exemplary. Very high-quality meat which the restaurant is not afraid to serve truly medium-rare if so ordered. The killer touch is in the preparation: the owner-chef has devised a sort of riff on the Big Mac. Three cheeses are melted in with butter and a topping of shredded greens (sorry: don't recall what). The result is delicious. They also offer, gratis, fresh popcorn with white truffle or curry flavors. Wife and I split a gravlax appetizer, and had three beers between us (mine an astonishingly rich English Porter). No dessert: too full. The total for this wonderful meal was substantially under $50.00. We're going back for the crabcakes real soon.
SCALES RESTAURANT just keeps getting better. Their menu has greatly expanded in recent weeks and the waitstaff has gained experience and organization. Now any fresh seafood sold retail is available cooked as well, and many additional items grace the menu. Most recently I had a very respectable skate wing sauté and my wife had a knockout John Dory. This, oysters, beer/wine and a dessert came to a bit over $50.00. (I have posted about Scales before, and have taken pains to mention that my daughter is on the waitstaff.)
THAT WONDERFUL VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT ON FOREST AVE: (can't recall the name, but it's right next to a Domino's Pizza): still as great as ever.