7.14.2011

Portland Eats: The Corner Room And Fore Street

To end our day in Portland, Maine, we decided to find a nice but low-key place to have dinner. After wandering around for a bit, we all agreed on The Corner Room. The Corner Room is part of a collection of restaurants that includes The Front Room and The Grill Room. Out of the three, The Corner Room sounded the most relaxed and the most likely to please all four of us, with its Italian-inspired menu.


My sister Martyann decided to order a pizza, and my mom, my sister Lindsay, and I opted to share a bunch of appetizers.

Fresh bread and olive oil

Beef carpaccio - thinly sliced raw beef with capers, red onion, aioli, and shaved parmesan 
The beef carpaccio was one of my favorites of the dishes we ordered. The aioli and capers added so much flavor.

Cheese platter with honey, dried cherries, and rhubarb mostarda
The cheese platter had something that made each of our palates happy, with a parmigiano, a robiola, and a blue cheese. The honey was my favorite pairing.

Lamb meatballs
The lamb meatballs were a special that night, and while I found them well-flavored, I wish the sauce they sat in was a little thicker. I kept eating the meatballs with sauce from the baked crespelle we also ordered.

Bruschetta with roasted tomatoes and mozzarella
The bruschetta was lightly drizzled with balsamic and topped with sweet tomatoes and nicely melted mozzarella, making it another of my favorite dishes that night.

Saffron risotto
I bravely tried one bite of the risotto -- I always try to like risotto but never do -- and left the rest to my mom and sister who seemed to really enjoy it.

Baked crespelle (Italian crepe filled with braised beef, ricotta, and herbs)
The baked crespelle was an interesting dish, and it just so happened that I had seen a recipe for baked crespelles recently and was wondering what the finished dish would be like. This crespelle reminded me of manicotti with a lighter texture, but it was meat filled and I found myself wishing it was cheese filled instead.

The only downfall to the meal was that Martyann ordered the four cheese pizza with black olives. When it came out, it was covered with purple olives. They didn't have black olives and just assumed they could replace them with another kind of olive. It's not safe to make that assumption when you're cooking for someone who only eats black olives. My sister would have just picked them off, but the brine from the olives was clearly seeping into and flavoring the rest of the pizza. We ended up asking them to just make her a cheese pizza, which finally arrived when the rest of us were done eating. Our waitress then charged us for the olives and had to go back and correct the check. At that point, two mistakes later, I would have expected them to just take the pizza off the bill. Luckily, the rest of our experience there was very pleasant.

All in all, The Corner Room proved an affordable, casual spot for well-prepared Italian food.

Corner Room Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

...

I realized that it's very hard for me to walk by Fore Street and not eat there, so I convinced my mom and sisters that we should go there for dessert. Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed, and we were not able to find seats and the wait looked pretty long. Luckily, though, a friendly waitress was able to help us order some desserts to go. I don't think Fore Street really advertises that you can get desserts to go (besides the chocolates), and they probably prefer not to do it because the desserts obviously won't look as good when they're not plated and not all of the components (like ice cream) can be packed up to go, but I was so happy they were able to accommodate us.


Handmade chocolates

Chocolate terrine with candied peanuts
I'm not entirely sure this was what it was called -- just going by memory.

Strawberry cake
While I wish we could have stayed to enjoy dessert at the restaurant, we had a great time digging into these desserts while playing cards back in the hotel room. I really enjoyed the milk chocolate macadamia bark and some dark chocolates filled with orange-flavored white chocolate, and I adored the chocolate terrine and strawberry cake for different reasons. The terrine was so rich, and I even loved the peanuts that were paired with it -- even though I don't typically like peanuts. The strawberry cake was moist and topped with luscious summer strawberries. It just screamed summer.

I think Fore Street is always worth a visit when one is in Portland, even if you can only get there for dessert.

Fore Street on Urbanspoon

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Portland, Maine?

11 comments:

  1. I love the mussels at Fore Street but my favorite restaurant would have to be Hugo's!

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  2. That's so awesome they gave you the desserts to go! They look fantastic, especially that chocolate terrine

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  3. Bummer about your sister's pizza. Those desserts look delicious!

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  4. I need to try Fore Street! Too bad it was packed but those desserts look fabulous. So funny you don't care for risotto - it's a food I could eat every day!

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  5. I'm going to go to Fore Street when I go up in August. We usually hit up Walters. Have you been? Its good!!! I love Maine and you make me so excited to visit again : )

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  6. I haven't been to Hugo's or Walter's -- adding both of those to the list!

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  7. Black and purple olives are so different!! but besides that silly debacle, sounds like an amazing evening!

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  8. its official, i must get to portland ASAP, i feel like im learning about new amazing foodie establishments there everyday!

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  9. Sorry about the pizza. I've eaten there before, but never tried the pizza. I won't order olives ;)

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  10. Love the Corner/Grill/Front Room. Have you been to Street & Co? On the 4th of July they had the most delicious special - grilled swordfish topped with a dijon mustard sauce and a side of onions marinated in red wine sauce. I've lived here for over a year and it was literally the most delicious thing I've had!

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