Posts Tagged ‘Fore Street’

Foodie Alert: A meal made in organic heaven

July 9, 2009

Better start saving for this one. James Beard award-winning chef Sam Hayward, of Portland’s Fore Street (who served farm-to-table before it was a household word) will be guest chef for an Outstanding in the Field Dinner, Sunday, Aug. 16, at Four Season Farm, the Cape Rosier property owned and farmed by internationally renowned organic gardeners Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. Sounds like a match—and a meal—made in heaven:

Outstanding in the Field events feature a leisurely tour of the hosting farm followed by a five course, farm-style dinner at our long table set in a scenic spot. Dinner is accompanied by a wine paired with each course. Diners are joined at the table by the farmer, food producers, a winemaker and other local artisans associated with the meal.

The $180 fee includes the meal, wine, gratuities, discussions, and farm tour.


Portland’s Fore Street 1 of 5 contenders for Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurant award

March 23, 2009

Well here’s another feather in Fore Street’s toque. Today the Portland restaurant was named a finalist in the extremely competitive Outstanding Restaurant category of the James Beard Foundation awards . No Northeast limitation on this doozie: Fore Street is one of five national finalists for the honor. Chef/owner Sam Hayward has already won Best Chef in the Northeast honors.

If judged by company one keeps, Fore Street is foremost in foodie minds. Hayward and partner-owners Victor Leon and Dana Street have some formidable competition for the coveted award: Babbo (Chef/Owner: Mario Batali, Owner: Joe Bastianich, New York, NY); Boulevard (Chef/Owner: Nancy Oakes, Owner: Pat Kuleto, San Francisco, CA); Highlands Bar & Grill (Chef/Owner: Frank Stitt, Birmingham, AL); and Jean Georges (Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Owner: Phil Suarez, New York, NY). Like I said, formidable.

Three other Maine chefs are in the Beard limelight. Among the five chefs vying for Best Chef in the Northeast are Rob Evans, of Hugos, in Portland, and the Clark Frasier/ Mark Gaier duo, of Arrows, in Ogunquit. All have been in this position previously. They’re up agans, Michale Leviton, of Lumierre in West Newton, Mass.; Tony Maws, of Cragie on Main, in Cambridge, Mass.; and Marc Orfaly, of Pigalle, in Boston.

Winners will be announced at the annual awards gala on May 4.

Maine chefs and restaurants earn Beard nod

February 14, 2009

Once again, Maine chefs and restaurants have gained national attention in numbers that are proportionately far greater than its population. Check out the list of Maine-based semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards. Nominees will be announced March 24, with the awards gala slated for May 4.

And the semi-finalists are…

Outstanding Chef: Sam Hayward, Fore Street, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurant: Fore Street, Portland, ME

Best New Restaurant: Emilitsa, Portland, ME

Best Chef Northeast: (Wow! five out of 20 are Maine chefs)

Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase, Megan Chase, and Ted Lafage, Chase’s Daily, Belfast, ME

Rob Evans, Hugo’s, Portland, ME

Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, ME

Rich Hanson, Cleonice, Ellsworth, ME

Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME

Haven’t had a chance to try these restaurants yet? Better make plans now, before the rest of the state/region/nation starts booking the tables. Many are participating in RestaurantWeekMe.

Spot on at Fore Street

February 9, 2009

Although empty storefronts keep popping up in Portland’s Old Port, it’s hard to believe the economy is in the tank when dining at Fore Street. Even on a chilled Monday night, the place is hopping. And no wonder. What Fore Street delivers is fine dining wrapped in comfort. Simple as that.

I arrived early enough to snag a table, but opted for the bar instead, choosing a comfy couch by the window. Fore Street’s decor blends wood ceilings, brick Jazz smooths out the conversations. It’s industrial chic softened with the warmth of success and glossed by the patina of confidence. Servers are professional. The kitchen, under Beard-winning chef Sam Hayward, is spot on.

When I informed my server I’d be ordering dinner, she warned that I could only order from the appetizer and dessert menu while seated in the bar’s lounge section; I’d have to move to the bar or dining room for entrees. Choices, choices. After perusing both menus, sipping a glass of wine (a rather miserly pour, my only quibble here), settling into that sofa, and asking a few questions, I opted to stay put.

It’s easy to make a meal out of the apps here, especially if starting with the wood oven roasted wild Maine mussels. Oh my! These are a must. A hefty bowl of plump mussels hailing Gurnet Strait, Brunswick, served in a rich garlic almond butter, accompanied by crusty bread and a soup spoon. I savored, I dunked and dredged, I slurped (quietly, very quietly). If it had been socially acceptable, I would have licked the bowl.

In hindsight, I should have ordered a salad. That would have been the perfect complement to the mussels. But no, not realizing how rich and satitating the mussels would be, I opted for a charcuterie plate comprising rabbit liver pate, spiced boar sausage, and duck rillettes accompanied by fig relish, orange marmalade, and spicy (and how) whole grain mustard.

The rabbit and duck were each flavorful and rich; the sausage didn’t quite knock my socks off. I’d ordered it as a substitute for the cured Maine island lamb leg, which wasn’t available. Probably a good thing, because it would have been too much if I’d eaten it all. As it was, I should have walked a couple of miles afterward.

It had been years since I’d dined here. I won’t wait that long again. Fore Street deserves its success and fame. On a chilly February night, it warmed me thoroughly.

Plan ahead for Portland’s Restaurant Week

January 21, 2009

Hungry to try something new? Following in the steps of Boston, New York, and other cities around the country, Portland is poised to offer its first RestaurantWeekME March 1-10, 2009.

During the event, participating restaurants will offer three-course menus priced at $20.09, $30.09, or $40.09, plus tax and gratuity; actual rate and menu will vary by restaurant. The idea is to introduce restaurants to new faces (and likely to draw diners during an always-slow season).

The preliminary list of participating restaurants reads like a who’s who of Greater Portland’s foodie faves: Fore Street, Back Bay Grill, Hugo’s, Eve’s, The Front Room, Vignola, The Grill Room, Bar Lola, Bull Feeney’s, Inn on Peak’s Island, Bresca, and Cinque Terre.

Other culinary events planned include tastings, tours, book signings, competitions, cooking demos ,and guest chefs.

For up-to-date info, sign up for the newsletter.