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4 Stars (Sigh) For Frog And Turtle; First Review Of 3Crow

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The bar at 3Crow Restaurant & Bar in Rockland
The bar at 3Crow Restaurant & Bar in Rockland
Photo: 3 Crow/Facebook

In keeping with her six previous reviews for The Portland Press Herald, Shonna Milliken Humphrey awards what has become her standard rating — 4 stars — to The Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. She likes most of the food, "lovely" decor and service that "shines," but not the welcome.

The Frog and Turtle gets its details right — salvaged stained glass, the woodwork in the restroom and the table of framed family-style photos ... Less lovely? The clipped "Do you have reservations?" It's not the question, it's the unwelcoming tone and reluctant sigh of accommodation that rankles, and judging by multiple visits, it appears to be consistent. The lesson here: Reserve a table.
At the former spice company building that houses 3Crow Restaurant & Bar, owner Josh Hixson "added in his own unique touches to create an atmosphere that's equally modern minimal and old-timey," writes Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News. As for the food:
Hixson took his southern roots — he was born in Louisiana — and married it to all the Maine seafood and produce that's so abundant at different times of year. The "Firsts" section on the menu is comprised of smaller plates, like the warm, savory buttermilk biscuit topped with ham, sharp Cabot cheddar and greens, a chicken and andouille gumbo, and Maine oysters with toppings like deep-fried pickles ... anyone looking for a light bite will be surprised at just how generous the serving size is.

East Ender, says John Golden of The Golden Dish blog, "is a really likeable gastro-pub, putting out terrific food while the trendy interlopers along the Middle Street restaurant row steal its thunder." Who are these "trendy interlopers?" Duckfat and Eventide Oyster Co., who draw the crowds leaving East Ender "to fend for its underrated self."

For a main course my friend had to have the Swedish meatballs served over American-style house-made wide noodles. What a sixties dish, perhaps better served as a first course in a smaller portion. Even so, they were beautifully presented and the flavor was intensely rich, the noodles al dente and the spinach leaves a nice touch.
In describing The North Point for The Portland Phoenix, metaphor maven Brian Duff works hard to keep them going. Owners Noah and Dan Talmatch "are warm and good talkers in the old New York style, sort of like Regis Philbin; the tables themselves are great looking but tiny, like Kelly Ripa."
With its slower pace, friendlier tone, and relative lack of rapaciousness, it's like New York 50 years ago. At North Point, instead of beards and skinny jeans, patrons are mostly well-coiffed in button-down shirts and slacks or a little black dress.
Kudos to Travelin' Mainers George and Linda Smith, for keeping us mindful of the fact that there are good and interesting restaurants in Maine beyond the Portland area. Their latest post spotlights Vittles in Pittsfield, run by Bob and Kathy Phelan with their son, chef Richard LeRose a CIA grad, in in the kitchen.
I think Richard enjoys surprising diners with the staff's creativity. The cold strawberry soup was an idea one of his sous chefs had come up with that morning, and Richard said "Go for it." Richard's Italian grandfather taught him to cook, and this shows up frequently on the menu from gnocchi to the rollatini on our dinner menu.
Following several months of renovation, Marcy's Diner in Portland is back and Conor Tubbs of Dispatch is happy. Very happy. "Holy crap the food is still out of this world. Dare I declare, it's even better than before? Yup. I dare declare."

· It's Hard To Find Finer Pub Food Than Frog & Turtle's [PPH]
· Southern Comfort, Maine Flair At New Rockland Restaurant 3Crow [BDN]
· An Engaging East Ender [TGD]
· Bohemia For Business Folk [PP]
· Vittles: Creativity, Commitment To Community Make A Great Restaurant [TM]
· Marcy's Gets A Facelift [Dispatch]