Cut to the chase.....Yes, this is one of the best dining experiences ever! What fun!
My husband, wonderful friend Caitlin, and myself ate here on Friday. It was our first trip to Portland, and I was looking forward to eating here based on the reviews, but I must say, it surpassed my expectations, and that is really hard to do.
It is a small venue, and as one reviewer put it, it IS like walking into a Paris bistro..... but without the attitude. I was a little hesitant when we sat down and looked at the menu because my friend is a vegetarian, and I don't eat meat, but I do eat chicken. My fears, however, proved to be no problem since the kitchen is only interested in pleasing the customer.
First, we were served an amuse bouche, which most restaurants do not serve anymore. My husband was served a serrano ham & provolone dish in a little Chinese serving spoon. He loved it. Knowing that my friend and I did not eat meat Jesse (our wonderful waiter) took the liberty of serving us a perfect mission fig in a balsamic reduction.......=love.
Then we all shared the mussels. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say I think they were the best mussels I've ever had (which includes Paris, although Paris was very good). The mussels were only to be bolstered by the wonderful homemade bread....YUM! My husband had a salad, which was served with caramelized walnuts, and a stilton cheese, which was terrific.
There was only 1 chicken dish, which was stuffed with sausage so I did not order that. My friend and I ended up ordering a dish that was not on the menu per say, it was truffle risotto with many different fresh, fresh vegetables........most delicious! My husband had the sirloin steak, which looked beautiful, and he said was delicious.
But, the piet de resistence was, of course, the desserts. My friend had the creme brulee, which was wonderful; I had a ginger mousse with a lemon cream brushed on the plate, with a few Maine blueberries....light, airy, outstanding; finally my husband had the homemade ice cream with bourbon carmel cream, and a homemade crispy cookie on top.....honestly, what can you say to that, but simply awesome! Then, something I've experienced 1 other time, an after dinner bite. A small plate of lemon custard, mixed with more Maine blueberries......we were in heaven (and my husband generally hates custards as a rule).
Finally, this review would be completely remiss if I did not mention our wonderful waiter Jesse, who was definitely the captain of our wonderful dining voyage. He could not have been more attentive, or more knowledgeable. He made sure we were happy. He totally knew his scotches, and he ended our evening with a brief history of the restaurant and the mural on the wall. He could not have been a better waiter, or a nicer person.
We dine a lot, and it takes a lot to make a good dining experience awesome. Back Bay Grill certainly rose to the occasion. We cannot wait to go back!
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