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Schulte & Herr Shines; Byrne's Irish Pub Fails To Charm

Photo: Free Food Boston blog

"Sloppy" service and "weak-to-middling fare" disappoint Nancy Heiser at Byrnes' Irish Pub in Brunswick, which gets just 1 1/2 stars in this week's review for The Portland Press Herald. Bright spots are few: "reuben on marble rye, piled high with meat and crunchy sauerkraut," Guinness beef stew and a salmon sandwich that "worked well enough."

Our first waitress seemed untrained as well as neutral in demeanor. She placed the wrapped silverware at the end of the table without a word so we could pass it out (after our hot food had appeared), and put an appetizer plate down on a plastic menu without asking if we might want to move it.
Elizabeth Peavey adds to the "glowing reviews" of Portland's Schulte & Herr in the April issue of DownEast, praising owners Steffi and Brian Devin's straightforward approach to German cuisine.
What's surprising here is the number of less-meaty alternatives. A must-have is the potato pancakes with house-cured lox. The pancakes, pillowy puffs with a slightly crunchy exterior, are the perfect vehicle for a pile of buttery ribbons of delicate salmon, topped with cornichons, capers, matchstick radishes, and a dollop of horseradish sour cream. When Steffi presses the borscht (with bits of oxtail) on you, saying it's the best around, just believe her and order it.

John Golden goes on a hunt for meatballs and chicken parm at "keepers of the flame" Espo's in Portland and Casa Novello in Westbrook for his Portland Press Herald blog, The Golden Dish. "After several dinners at each, I think Casa Novello has the edge, though it's an assessment as relevant as the titmouse."

Portion size at both places is excessive. At Espo's consider their meatballs and spaghetti. Weighing in at a pound each the balls are so large they seem afflicted with elephantitis--a dish with chutzpah if one should exist at all. But they're not bad tasting: rich, with a creamy texture and nice flavor.
Michael and Meredith of the Map & Menu blog pay pictorial homage to Roost Cafe & Bistro in Cape Neddick.
Michael settled on the Tom Foolery, with all the makings of one exceptional sandwich- roast turkey, brie, bacon, lettuce, and a cranberry dijon aioli. He couldn't help but go on and on about how much he enjoyed the sandwich.
The headline reads: "Experience Mexico with a Maine flare at Zapoteca," but since there are no reports of shooting flames, it's a good bet Travelin' Mainers George and Linda Smith meant flair in their review for the Kennebec Journal. Over the course of three hours, they are assisted from margaritas to dessert by the staff at Zapoteca, which according to Linda is "not at all like your normal Mexican restaurant."
There's nothing bland about the food here. They roasted poblanos in the wood oven and mixed them with crema for the enchilada topping. It was absolutely delicious. I noticed that they didn't serve salsa on the side of their dishes. There is no need because their flavors are so true. No need to embellish (or drown) perfection!

· Byrnes' Irish Pub Suffers From Nondescript Food, So-So Service [PPH]
· Cozy German Cuisine Comes To Downtown Portland [DE]
· Bring On The Red Sauce [TGD]
· Roost Cafe & Bistro [M&M]
· Experience Mexico With A Maine Flare (sic) At Zapoteca [TM]