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Secret's Out On 91 South; Golden Effusive On Zen Bistro

The dining room at 91 South.
The dining room at 91 South.
Photo: Pine Crest Inn

91 South, a private wine club with seven tables accessed through the side door of the Pine Crest Inn in Gorham, will no doubt lose its "locals-only secret" status after Shonna Milliken Humphrey's 4 1/2 star review in The Portland Press Herald. Anyone can "join" the club for a $1 annual membership fee and other prices seem more than reasonable too; wines are never marked up more than $10 over retail and there are 65 offered by the glass.

As cool as the wine concept is, the star at 91 South is the food. I do not know how Noah Gaston came to 91 South, but his culinary vision is, well, visionary, and he prepared a memorable meal worthy of any fine dining kitchen. That sounds like inflated praise, but I do not exaggerate
Gaston's visions include a Fall Harvest Salad. "Yes, I just typed 'orchestral feast.' It was that good" - and a Louisiana Shrimp Etoufee that "could convince Louisiana enthusiasts that it was, in fact, a bayou moon shining over Gorham's Main Street."

John Golden reintroduces his The Golden Dish blog for The Portland Press Herald with a swooning review of Zen Bistro in Portland filled with his distinctive over-the-top descriptions.

The dining space itself was transformed from its quasi clubby look from District's day to a somewhat more rakish repose. That means you won't encounter the usual kitschy décor of red-lacquered, smoked-mirror-covered walls, snake plants or fish tanks with strange species swimming like they're about ready to break dance.
And the food?
...the cooking is not necessarily cutting edge or crafty. There's no fusion gimmickry or sleight-of-hand flavors in surreptitious guises. Instead it's good solid renditions of the genre, using quality local ingredients prepared with care.
Welcome back, John.

Bintliff's in Ogunquit finds its groove in the off-season, according to Amy Anderson on the Eat Maine blog. She loves her BLT bloody Mary, corned beef hash, smoked salmon benedict, grilled duck burger, and especially, the creme brulee French toast, but there's more to praise than the food.

Norman Hebert is the owner and executive chef, and on this particular Sunday, he's the bartender too. I know he's working, but it looks like he's hosting a party. He's laughing, talking, pouring drinks, and interacting with everyone. It's that interaction—a personal connection—that makes this restaurant special. All around me I see customers and staff treat each other like family.

· Go West To 91 South To Be Wined And Dined To Perfection [PPH]
· Portland Dining Wins With Zen [TGD]
· Bintliff's, Ogunquit [Eat Maine blog]

91 South at Pine Crest Inn

91 South St., Gorham, ME