Herman and I celebrated our eighth anniversary this past week. We decided to go to Fore Street for dinner. We haven't been in a few years, and I wanted to see some of the changes that I heard the restaurant had made. I don't think I am alone when I say that this is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. I've been going with my family and friends for celebrations (and any other opportunity) for as long as I can remember.
I was not planning to write about our meal, but when I saw how much fish was on their menu, I thought I should at least give them some praise. I didn't take any pictures of our food. I didn't want to be that guy, and I didn't want to piss Herman off, and I really wanted to just enjoy my meal. But, I did take the menu. They change it daily so it's not like they were going to need it. And, I asked, because I am a rule-follower. I couldn't steal something if my life depended on it. Before I continue, I would just like to ask you kindly to refrain from judging the amount of food we ordered.
We started with the mussels and foie gras. If you go to Fore Street, you get the mussels. You JUST DO. They don't screw it up with tomatoes or curry or any other trendy ingredient. It's straight up butter, wine, garlic and almonds. I will say, though, that I totally recall their being more broth. Herman thought that the mussels were actually a little dry, not like texturally, more like, "Where the hell did all the broth go?" We didn't go through half as much bread to sop it up as we usually do. That being said, they were still freaking fantastic. Herm doesn't eat foie gras, but I do, and if it's on the menu, I order it. Turns out the prices have gone up a bit. Damn you, California. You can't pass Prop 37 but you make one of the most delicious foods in the world illegal? Anyway, the foie and carrot puree that it came with were well worth the $22.50. Seriously, it's like the carrot puree sopped up all of the foie deliciousness.
When Herman and I go to dinner with a certain friend of ours, he usually get kinda pissy at me because I am a planner. I like to know what everyone else is having, and plan accordingly. I also don't ever order two meats, or two fish, and I like to have one light, and one heavier serving. For example, I'll start with a salad and have some fish, or I'll start with some braised ribs, and then have a salad. You see my method? Anyway, I had big plans for my main course, so we decided to do one more app/ tapas before the big finish. So, we split the chilled seafood platter. An excellent choice. This included: lobster with garlic and herb aioli, bluefish, arctic char with a slaw, and scallops with pickled brussel sprouts. Everything was so great, and during this course, I realized what a huge bluefish fan I am. I would eat smoked bluefish with parsnip puree all day long. Herman was a big fan of the raw, smaller Nantucket bay scallops, and he doesn't even love raw fish. Arctic char was sweeter than I thought. And, I thought it was whiter, but this looked similar to smoked salmon. Presentation was beautiful and simple, and the pairings were perfect and not overpowering. Would definitely order it again.
Our final savory dishes. Herman had the hanger steak, and I had the pork belly (another app). Much like me and my foie gras dedication, when hanger steak is on the menu Herman orders it, and when pork belly is on the menu, I order it. Both were absolutely delicious. Herman couldn't get over how yummy his carrots were; crunchy, but soaked up all the yummy braised buttery goodness. OK, here it comes, and it PAINS me to say this. My piece of pork belly was not my favorite piece. As a matter of fact, I had to take the crunchy skin off because it was too sticky, and a touch burnt. The glaze that was on it candied too much, and completely overpowered the smooth meat (and fat, let's be honest) that was underneath. Heart. Broken. But, once that layer was removed, the rest was out of this world. I ate one of the boar hush puppies it was served with, and took the other one home. I ate it the next day in the kitchen, quietly and alone, so no one would ask for a bite. Sad? Selfish? Perhaps.
Last, but not least, dessert. (Seriously, I told you not to judge when we started this.) Herman had the creme brulee, and I had the steamed lemon cake. They were both divine. And, how cute is it that they wrote on my plate? Nice touch.
We probably won't wait so long to go back to Fore Street. It is such good food, with such fresh, and often local, ingredients. The fish was all prepared perfectly, and it was SO GREAT to have such a selection of fish. I would most highly recommend the chilled seafood platter for the selection of fish, and fresh preparation, for both the seafood fanatic, and the first-timer.
Thanks, Fore Street, for a great meal, memorable experience, and your willingness to try, prepare, and highlight a variety of fish species. A+