When Spread opened in May in a cavernous space on Commercial Street that had seen several restaurants flash and fade quickly, foodsters had high hopes. With a super-cool, big city-cocktail lounge vibe, a veteran owner —Jung Hur of Fuji on Exchange Street—plus a trio of experienced chefs—Brandon Ruble, formerly of Petite Jacqueline, Derek Federico from five-five-five and Charlie Trotter's veteran Chris Long—expectations were that the place had a solid chance. In her four-star, early-days review for The Portland Press Herald, Shonna Miliken Humphrey swooned over the atmosphere "swank city cocktail lounge with ambient sparkle" and attributed food and service missteps to "growing pains." John Golden, in the now defunct blog for DownEast, called Spread "a winner on all counts, well on its way to a lucky charm of success."
The Schizophrenic News: A TripAdvisor user is not sure what Spread is trying to be: "This is a large space and seems cursed—a few prior restaurants in the same space had only short runs. We wanted to like this joint, but couldn't warm up to it. The have a large and well stocked bar with a fancy cocktail list, but the drinks seemed just a bit weak. It seemed they use crushed ice for soda & booze drinks (rum/coke and gin/tonic), which makes for a watered down result. The techno music in the background and the contemporary art may or may not be your "thing,' but this is after all Portland, ME and the decor didn't work for me. As for the food, a bit uneven. $1 oyster special was a good deal and the oysters were tasty. Duck was cooked right and crispy skin, but greens were incredibly almost inedibly bitter. Empty plates sat on the table for a period of time after we ate -- a plate of mussel shells gets old fast if it is left on table too long. What does this restaurant want to be? A hip bar? A tapas / small plates joint? A serious food destination? All of the above? There are places that do each of these better in Portland, IMHO." [TA]
The Crappy News: A Yelp user is not at all happy: "Tried once, won't try twice. In one of the best foodie towns in the country do not waste your time on Spread. Overpriced, crappy food, and awful drinks. This place will not be around by next summer. Btw, they charge 2.00 for extra bread. As a local who frequents Portland restaurants weekly. Keep walking right past this door! It got one one star only because Yelp would not allow me to give 0 stars!" [Yelp]
The Hopeful News: An UrbanSpoon user is excited to go back: "I have only had the opportunity to visit once, on a REALLY busy night. But their fries were yummy, the space is roomy, and the pork belly I ordered was probably the best small plate in Portland. I'm looking forward to going back for a full dinner!" [US]
· Inventive Menu, Upscale Style Earn A 'Wow' For Spread [PPH]
· Circle Back To 100 Commercial [DE]
· All Coverage of Spread [~EMAINE~]