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Reviews of Piccolo, Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, More

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John Golden had high praise for Piccolo in his second review as the Maine Sunday Telegram's restaurant critic. He gives "the brainchild of wunderkind chef Damian Sansonetti" four and a half stars, putting it in the rarefied air above excellent and just short of extraordinary.

Piccolo is not a kitchen of old-school red-sauce Italian-American cooking. Instead Sansonetti presents a meticulous interpretation of the cuisines of southern Italy – namely, the rustic flavors of the Abruzzi and Calabria regions.

It takes a discerning palate, however, to appreciate his food. The cooking won't knock you over like downing a head of garlic. And for some this restrained style is fleeting. For the more astute, however, the sum of the ingredients – so subtle and refined – evokes an inspirational web of flavor. [MST]

The Portland Hunt & Alpine Club is an obstacle in the way of the right-wing conspiracy to prevent the U.S. from being indoctrinated by Scandinavian culture, according to Brian Duff of the Portland Phoenix. Or something like that. We'll leave the political message to the scholars out there, but we're pretty sure it's meant as a compliment to the food, which is intended to complement the craft cocktails. "There are plenty of stiff drinks served in lowballs. We liked the Toronto, blending spicy rye whiskey with several bitters, which was all hot-heat and sharp flavor. Other drinks mellow and tug the liquors with fresh juices — like the Ward Eight, which dissipated the whiskey heat with the sweetness of orange and a kick of sharp lemon, or an Italian Greyhound that tasted like a grapefruit sprinkled with salt and sugar." [PP]

Ray Routhier reviewed Evergreen Chinese Restaurant for the Press Herald's Eat and Run column. The moo shu is "delicious" and his serving is big enough to last for days. The menu is large and reasonably priced, " ... full of blasts from the past, the kind of dishes most of us remember from the Chinese restaurants of our youth, before 'Asian fusion' became a thing." [PPH]

Claire Jeffers took the ferry to check out the Inn on Peaks Island for the Press Herald's Bar Guide. "The cocktails are $8.50 each, but don't bother ordering the Perfect Margarita or the Blueberry Hill. These are served during the summer months only. The Dark 'n' Stormy, touted as an "island favorite" is served in a pint glass and made with Captain Eli's ginger beer. It's made strong, with Gosling's rum, and somewhat watered down with too much ice." [PPH]

Katy Kelleher pays a visit to Rockland's Fog Bar & Cafe for Maine magazine's Eat Maine blog. "As for my favorite item, I'll have to go with the local mussels. Served differently each day, my mussels came piled with olives, capers, jalapenos, red bell peppers, and smoked tomatoes. Smoked tomatoes, like roasted tomatoes, have a fantastic depth of flavor." [Eat Maine]

Golden offered a "sneak peek" at the offerings from Petite Jacqueline's new chef, Frederic Eliot (formerly of Spread) for his Golden Dish blog. He and a "chef friend" embark on a French feast of epic proportions, which he documents in words and gloomy camera-phone photos. (Donald Sussman apparently did not include a Nikon in the hiring package for his newspaper's new critic. Kickstarter, anyone?) "As an intermediate course (why not gild the lily completely?) we relished the richness of braised tongue that was cooked in veal stock and further enriched by a concentrated stock-based tomato sauce. The complex richness of the meat prepared our appetites for more to come." [TGD]

Blogger Peter Peter Portland Eater, not shy with his words, provides a thorough recap of an enjoyable meal at Portland & Rochester Public House. "I tried a bite of the succotash – a corn and lima bean combination. I couldn't believe it. It was extraordinary. The intense flavors from the seasoning combined with a salty bacon/pork fat flavor and the sweet corn were absolutely out of this world. It might have been the best side to come with an entree that I ever had." [PPPE]
· All Week in Reviews [~EMAINE~]
Piccolo. [Photo: Tom Minervino]

Petite Jacqueline

190 State Street, Portland, ME 04101 205 530 7044 Visit Website

Piccolo

111 Middle Street, , ME 04101 (207) 747-5307 Visit Website