I must start out this review by stating that my wife and i have eaten at a lot of good places. Some were outstanding. We generally appreciate good food and good service, but tend to be especially appreciative of small - but in many ways professional - services. Whenever we come to Portland, we almost always head directly to those places we are most familiar with, and every now and then, challenge ourselves to go to a brand new place to try it out. Some of our experiences have been good but not outstanding - as happened at the renowned Fore Street - and we don't return. Portland definitely has more than a handful of great places to eat.
To our delight, we have just now returned from a totally outstanding meal at the Back Bay Grill - and I just had to sit down and write about it before I went to bed in a state of euphoria. We started with the simply named "Arugula Salad", whose byline stated "Bucheron Goat Cheese, Salt Roasted Pear, Toasted Almonds". The greens were impeccably fresh and delicious and the pear was a masterful touch. I don't usually care for salad - especially in our cold northern climate where greens are often atrocious in the dead of winter. This salad made me want to order more - but alas we had dinner to eat. The menu tonight was an exercise in that it challenged us to plan the meal by exercising our restraint. The waiter, Ian was pleasant, informed, helpful, friendly and totally professional. There are a few things i try to keep in mind when reviewing restaurants and their personnel. The ability of the staff to accommodate small requests is one of those things which differentiate "good" from "outstanding" from "exceptional". Without going into the details, I must say that Ian is an exceptional professional - he did not miss a beat and I must declare that I have not run into this level of service in over 20 years! This includes the impeccable service we received in some of the best restaurants on our recent trip to London. We continued with a wonderfully done "Cast Iron Pan Seared Scallops" which again demonstrated the kitchen's mastery over the ingredients and individual preparation of each of the dish's components. Th "Lavender Marinated Duck Breast" came to the table rare as ordered - with a small sample of the meat done well on the side. This showed off the flavor of the lavender which came through in the rare slices and the flavor of the duck which came through in the well-done sample. The whole meal ended with us ordering the Caramel Ice Cream (I neglected to take pictures of this dish, having entered a state of gastronomic bliss at the point when it - and espresso - was served). It is too bad that I can only give this place 5 stars. t would get 10 in my book - it is head and shoulders above any of the restaurants we have eaten at in the last couple of decades I feel that this place should be a secret, but i owe it to the readers of TripAdvisor to know of this gem in Portland.
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