My wife and I descended upon Portland during the busiest weekend for the city: camp visiting weekend. We booked Fore street and Street & co for our two dinners 2 months in advance to ensure we would get in during the overpopulated weekend. We had read about the James Beard Award, the top 16 resturant in the country ranking and watched a very enticing piece on the food network on the restaurant. In short, we were quite excited to dine at Fore st.
We arrived 10 minutes before our scheduled reservation and were seated promptly. On our way to our table, pass the open kitchen, the aromas wafting in the air reassured us this would be a terrific dining experience. Our waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable. The wine list was extensive and very reasonably priced with few wines exceeding $100. The featured Chenin Blanc we ordered was delicious. Unfortunately, things began to unravel when 5 minutes after we ordered, before we could take in our surroundings, the basket of bread arrived accompanied by my wife's fettucini appetizer but not with my moulard of foie gras. The latter appeared 5 minutes later when my wife had finished half of her appetizer for which she had not received a necessary spoon. The fettuccine accompanied by exotic mushrooms in a basil-pesto sauce was solid but not memorable. The foie gras was delicate and delightful, easily spreadable over the provided toasted minibaguette. Twenty minutes had elapsed since we had arrived and we were through the appetizers. Our hope that we would be given some time to enjoy our wine, watch the activity in the inviting open kitchen and check out what our surrounding diners were eating was truncated when less than 10 minutes after our plates were removed, the main course arrived. Our immediate thoughts were that they wanted to move us along so that the next couple could be seated. However, despite all the hype, there were no hordes of people waiting to be seated. In fact, for a Friday dinner during the busiest weekend of the year, the front of the restaurant and the adjacent eating bar were very subdued.
My wife's flounder on a bed of mushrooms was very good and generous, again, without being memorable. My wood-smoked lobster out of the shell, the most expensive item on the menu at $40 was excellent. Given the size of the tail and claws I did wonder however how they could get away with serving a lobster that must have been in its infancy. The accompanying portion of sweet corn was not sweet but passable. The side dishes of garlic roasted mashed potatoes and heirloom tomatoes were succulent. Fifty minutes after arrival we were ready to order our check and felt somewhat cheated from what we hoped would be a terrific dining experience.
In all likelihood, we will be returning to Fore street a year from now expecting a more appropriately timed service and an opportunity to try new items from the ever changing farm to table menu that has garnered Fore st high acclaims in the gastronomic world.
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