The Front Room Restaurant and Bar
73 Congress St
Portland, ME 04101-3661
It never hurts to be friendly. One example of this is striking up a conversation with the people next to you at a restaurant or bar. You meet some of the most amazing people that way. I find smaller towns especially good for this. People just seem to be more open to conversation with strangers.
However, getting recommendations from people you meet in a restaurant is an interesting proposition. On the one hand, you’re both in the same establishment, enjoying the same food, which implies there are some things in common. On the other hand, you really know nothing else about them, other than maybe they are really nice, very friendly, or seem very knowledgeable. However, it will always be an adventure.
When dining at Fore Street, another Portland establishment, we were given a recommendation by a very friendly couple next to us for brunch. Well, after they inquired about our planned dining excursions, and criticized our breakfast choices 🙂 They suggested that the Front Room was the best brunch in town. Seeing as i wasn’t totally committed on my choice, we decided to give it a shot.
288 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101-4109
The wave of public opinion is an interesting thing. You see it all the time, especially on public forums and boards like chowhound or egullet. Someone posts about a new restaurant – usually it’s very positive, and people get excited. They want to go and experience it for themselves. They all go in a flood, and validate what the original poster stated. “Nice service, great command of ingredients and technique, wonderful meal”. More people visit, and more people enjoy.
After some time, a few negative reviews come up. Natural, since it is hard for any restaurant to maintain their game day in and day out. But with the really popular restaurants, you start to get this negative backlash. A push. The term “overrated” is thrown around a lot. People go in with very high expectations, and come out disappointed. More pushback. More negative reviews.
Has the quality at the restaurant changed that much? Honestly, it’s hard to tell. I’ve been to some universally lauded restaurants that I didn’t like for one reason or another. I’ve been to some restaurants that have been criticized heavily, and found it to be very enjoyable. It’s why I always reiterate to people to “taste what’s in front of you.” Think about what you’re having, and actually taste it. Don’t assume that what I had tastes the same when you have it. Don’t automatically assume something will be good, or bad. Having an open mind is the most important thing when trying to qualify a dining experience.
43 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101-4213
“Duck fat – who doesnt like duck fat??”
Everyone has a weakness – and for me, it’s french fries. Cheesecake, chocolate, ice cream – some people like their sweets, I’m a deep fried potato and salt guy. So when I heard of a small shop in Portland Maine making amazing french fries, more specifically Belgian fries, I knew I had to check it out.
Duck Fat, in Portland Maine, serves fairly simple sandwich shop type fare. Soups, sandwiches, salads, some diner type food, and some of the most amazing frites you’ll ever taste. It is a fairly humble establishment that uses some very fine, fresh, local ingredients. While it is simple fare, there’s nothing ordinary about it.
The interior is modest, with a small amount of seating. Most spaces are counter spaces that ring the exterior walls.