I could go on and on about my recent culinary shotgunning of Portland, Maine. Here’s a quick snapshot of a beloved restaurant in Portland that’s doing great things with the best ingredients from the waterways and farms nearby.
Fore Street is Portland’s original “farm to table” restaurant, specializing in regional ingredients and great, simple cooking. It’s not a new idea, but this place has been doing it well since 2006. There’s a line there at opening every night, and prospective diners file in to get their name on the list, then have a seat to have a drink in the big round welcoming bar near the wood-burning stove that puts out so much of Fore Street’s impeccable seafood, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and charcuterie.
I had dinner at the bar, and the highlight was the above dish, a medley of absolutely impeccable seafood, much of it from Maine and New England: cured salmon, raw scallops and yellowtail, smoked scallops, and fresh tuna, all with their own beautiful sauces like a chimichurri, and a creamy, herb-infused dressing. A few pickled vegetables like fresh Maine artichokes brought the dish together. It was a stunner of a plate, an unreal sampling of (mostly) New England seafood.
Next up was a simply seared piece of foie gras. Nothing surprising here, which is kind of what you’re looking for when preparing fresh foie gras. It was served in a barely sweet sauce made with local stone fruit, garnished with a bright salad with greens and radishes, and dotted with nastursiums — both ideal for cutting the richness of the foie gras. Res ipsa loquitor.
Finally, to refresh myself a little and get in a little more local produce, I had a green salad tossed in a green goddess-like dressing with fresh favas, yellow squash, and beautiful baby carrots. It was a great way to end a meal, one that made me want to get back to Portland as soon as possible.