Saturday, August 30, 2014

Eventide Oyster Co. | Portland, Maine

The coastal city of Portland, Maine has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now. Someone is always talking about how they spent a nice little weekend get-away, how lovely it is, the many breweries they toured and how good those fries at Duckfat are.  

 Our visit to Portland was midweek, sandwiched in between some relaxing days with Bob's family at their house in New Hampshire on Lake Winnepesauke, and a wild outdoorsy weekend further North in the Sunday River area with friends. 
We booked the Hampton Inn Downtown on Fore Street, which is connected to the Sebago Brewing Company and nestled in the Old Port District, the quaint brick and cobblestone lined harborfront street scene that you want to be a part of. The hotel was convenient and hassle free, we really enjoyed our stay there. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that it also sits directly in front of the restaurant on the very top of the Portland-can't-miss-list, Eventide Oyster Company
Our date night at Eventide was a vacation highlight. Around 9pm on a Wednesday we waited in front of the majestic oyster display no more than 20 minutes for our seats; sipping our respective go-to's with an Eventide twist, a Dirty Dirty (vodka - olive brine - oyster brine - hot sauce) and an ET Manhattan (Eagle Rare - Doulin rouge sweet - warm spice). We spent the rest of the evening tucked in an intimate corner of the wide granite bar, underneath the neatly composed and brightly colored chalkboard menu.  

Our bartender was fantastic, fitting the bill of super friendly wile remaining unobtrusive, makes an excellent cocktail and knows her oysters! We familiarized ourselves with the Maine oysters first, and then chose some from far away to ensure solid variety. Additionally, we took our pick of from the intriguing list of accoutrements - the kim chee ice and cucumber ginger mignionette were both fantastic.
Winterpoint Selects (Maine) | Glidden Point (Maine)  
Beau Soliel (new Brunswick) | Kumamoto (Washington)

Sipped alongside our oysters were the Green Mimosa ($9) (celery - bubbles - Berg & Hauck's celery bitters) a delicate and refreshing pairing with those briny bivalves, and a Kentucky Cyclist ($9) which isn't listed on the current menu but I can assure you it was good and it had bourbon, Bob drank two.
Other delights included the Fried Oyster Bun ($7) with tartar and pickles, Mackerel Crudo ($8) with egg yolk, Corn on the Cob ($5) smothered in a phenomenal peanut aioli, a Fernet Sour ($9) (Fernet Branca - angostura bitters - lime - soda) and one amazing Lobster Stew ($13). The velvety, creamy, not-too-thick stew rich in complex sherry and paprika flavors with plenty of tender lobster chunks would be my top recommendation! (Truly, everything was terrific - I get the sense this is one of those menus where you can't make a wrong move.)

Pristine shellfish, a creative take on classic New England seafood dishes, cocktails that make you want to linger long into the evening, and a fresh, inviting atmosphere, Eventide rightfully earns that spot at the top of the list. A must visit in Portland!

Eventide Oyster Co. on Urbanspoon

[Sorry about the photo quality here. When I don't bring the Canon Rebel to meals this exceptional, I always end up feeling slightly disappointed after the fact. In the moment I am content to enjoy the experience and company that much more - (but then end up taking a few bad pictures on my phone anyways!) It's all about striking a balance, I suppose]

More Portland snapshots and restaurants coming!