Monday, October 13, 2014

Dine Here at Your Own Risk

I rarely write restaurant reviews since it's a genre I don't understand. It seems crazy to try and evaluate a food experience, unless of course the food nearly kills you and then you might be so motivated. Night before last I gave in to my husband on our 28th anniversary and dined at a restaurant in downtown Portland that we had never tried. I say "gave in" because if it were up to me I would eat at the same three restaurants I love for eternity. But Mitch craves new experiences and so there we were at Vignola Cinque Terre, a trendy spot in a neighborhood called the Old Port, which really should be called The Gateway to AA considering the number of bars in the area.

It being a Saturday night the place was jammed, which would explain the sluggish service. But hey, we were out for a good time so I tried to relax while waiting the half-an-eon for the waiter to notice us. Finally he did, and he looked just like Justin Timberlake who I have never liked, so that was a definite negative. The menu was appropriately nouveau, with every bit of food you might normally want to eat ruined by the addition of something unexpected like pork belly or maple glaze or octopus tendrils. I opted for a pasta dish which sounded safe enough.

We started with zucchini fritters that looked good but turned out to be mushy, under-fried and salty.  My entree was called trenette, referring to the type of pasta, and it was advertised as having tomato sauce, capers, mussels and oysters. The mussels were tiny, the oysters were even smaller, I never saw a caper and the tomato sauce was quite acidic. The whole thing was exceedingly salty. In fact, the bread was salty, the butter was salty and the olive oil was salty. Every damn morsel was salty including the lettuce in Mitch's salad. I only ate half of what they served, the portions being very generous, but it was enough so that the next morning I woke up feeling dizzy and with a blood pressure reading of over 200/103. I had a really bad day.

The best thing about eating at Vignola is that it is located directly across the street from a cool looking bar that is very Edward Hopper-ish, so if you are seated in the front room you can do as I did and take arty pictures of the people going in and out of that place. (See photo above.) Anyway, when in Portland, Maine, I would suggest going elsewhere, maybe even to that Central Provisions which seemed to be doing a bang-up business.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty funny! I liked that old port should be called the gateway to AA ... Really ...