My wife and I visited Portland ME for the first time this past weekend and had the extreme good fortune to have been directed to Back Bay Grill by a foodie co-worker in Boston. From start (calling to make a reservation) to finish (as we departed), our experience was top-notch and professional (and also warm and friendly) in every facet. First, do not be put off by this restaurant's less than desirable location away from the old Port. We chose to walk from the old Port, and on the gorgeous evening that it was, it really is quite an easy walk. The restaurant is totally charming both inside and outside - small, intimate and appealing. We were warmly greeted by the manager and directed to a perfect table in the main dining room. From there, we experience nothing but highly professional service and excellent food. The restaurant has a small but interesting craft cocktail menu (which we sampled) and a fulsome and relatively reasonably priced wine list, and we got some great advice from our server who directed us to a fabulous Oregon pinot noir. We had the Maine crabcake and a rabbit pastry dish for first courses followed by the rack of lamb (with surreal "potato salad") and duck breast for entrees - both cooked to medium-rare perfection. We split a semifreddo dessert (excellent) which was presented tastefully with a small candle in honor of my wife's birthday.
I can't say enough about the professional service - dished whisked away promptly, wine poured regularly, food served at an appropriate pace - such a pleasure to experience. This place means business in terms of customer service. We have many tremendous restaurants in Boston but I am of the belief that many of them get over-hyped by the press and often fail to live up to high expectations in terms of both service and food quality. Not so at Back Bay Grill. I thought that I would never find a restaurant that I enjoyed as much as Hen of the Wood in Waterbury VT, but Back Bay Grill is right up there with the best of them. I highly recommend it.
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