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An Unusual Seafood Shack, Figa, LFK And More

Figa: Ted Axelrod

A roadside trailer with picnic tables for seating might seem an odd choice for the weekly restaurant review in Maine's largest daily newspaper, but as Nancy Heiser points out in yesterday's Portland Press Herald, Schutty's in West Bath "is not your typical seafood shack." Why? The haddock Reuben, for thing. Despite her "initial skepticism," Heiser finds that swapping in fish for the corned beef results in a "recognizable and respectable version ... Will I order it again? Without a doubt. I'd like to see a little more 'kraut heaped on." Homemade potato chips, a sandwich special of blackened catfish with crabmeat guacamole and Cajun fried clams all help land Schutty's 3 1/2 stars.

Plump and juicy inside, spicy and crispy outside, and perfectly fried so that there was a slight air pocket between the clam and the breading, a little heat lingering on the lips -- these were fantastic.

For the August issue of Maine Magazine, Joe Ricchio visits Mache Bistro in Bar Harbor, where the decor is "casual modern with a slightly industrial look that places all the focus on the food." What emerges from chef Kyle Yarborough's kitchen is fusion cuisine in the best sense, says Ricchio, who does not "believe that rigid rules should be applied to food, provided that the improvisation serves to improve the essence of the dish."

I will admit that in a world in which pork belly has become fairly trendy and commonplace on restaurant menus, it is reassuring to taste Kyle's version. If anything, the dish reaffirms why we all love pork belly so much. The belly is seared until the crust takes on a perfect crisp, not unlike candy, while the meat remains meltingly tender beneath.
Figa in Portland gets high marks from Ricchio in his weekly review on the Eat Maine blog. The East End restaurant "has garnered a sturdy following of regulars by offering globally influenced cuisine presented in an inviting, unpretentious setting." He samples a number of dishes on the small plates menu, and also approves of the beverage selections.
Chef and owner Lee Farrington has put a tremendous amount of care into the small yet concise wine and beer list, thoughtfully selecting bottles that make sense alongside her confidently seasoned food. There is no set formula, with obscure Greek varietals effortlessly co-mingling with those as seemingly mundane as California Chardonnay.
LFK's literary theme is approached with caution by Brian Duff, writing for The Portland Phoenix. "Tomes and typewriters appear around the bar and tables —and an emphasis on writing would get pretentious if pushed any harder." A crab salad with "plenty of buttery meat, atop nice greens dressed with a peppery, oil-sweet vinaigrette" and LFK's signature version of the Cornish pasty serve as fine foils for cocktails.
LFK stands for Longfellow Fellowship of Knights — a much better moniker for a drinking establishment than something literary ... A few drinks at LFK and it's easy to forget our misgivings about our fellows, and to amuse each other with words that are not worth writing down.
In blogger reviews, Maine Travel Maven stops in at Caiola's and Local 188 in Portland and Sea Glass at Inn By The Sea in Cape Elizabeth. Fun with Carbs, a blog out of Connecticut, has a "Portland Food Crawl" that features J's Oyster Bar, Duckfat, Fore Street, Pei Men Miyake and Mt. Desert Ice Cream.

· Seafood Surprise: Sophistication Amid The Hearty Fare [PPH]
· Mache Bistro [MM]
· Figa, Portland [EM]
· LFK: Drinking And Dining At Portland's Newest Hot Spot [PP]
· Nibbles And Bites In Greater Portland [MTM]
· Portland Food Crawl [FWC]

Fore Street

288 Fore Street , Portland, ME 04101 (207) 775-2717

Local 188

685 Congress Street, , ME 04102 (207) 761-7909 Visit Website

Duckfat

43 Middle Street , Portland, ME 04101 (207) 774-8080

Figa

249 Congress St. Portland, ME