For my first night in Portland, I made a dinner reservation at Evo Kitchen + Bar. The stylish chic restaurant puts creative twists on familiar Mediterranean dishes using local Maine fish, meat, and produce. The floor-to-ceiling glass space sits at the bottom of the Hyatt Hotel.
I was seated at the corner of the counter overlooking the bar, open kitchen, and prep station. Executive Chef, Matt Ginn, has been cooking professionally in Portland and Boston for over 10 years. He was named the 2015 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year and was a winning chef on Food Network’s “Chopped”.
I had my heart set on the Chef’s Tasting ($80) and Wine Pairing ($35). Both were very reasonable prices. Things started off with a sparkling Rosé and seared Tuna with ginger, cilantro, chiles, and avocado toum (creamy garlic dipping sauce).
Next up was a beautiful dish of Roasted Beets with blueberries, radish, and greens.
Time for another wine and dish. A Lebanese white blend was poured then a creamy Baba Ganoush (mashed eggplant with tahini, olive oil, lemon, and seasonings) with warm housemade Pita was served. It was delicious and hung around for a bit. Dishes were coming out at a fairly fast rate and portions were generous, so I really had to pace myself.
A tasty refreshing Melon Gazpacho with crab, poblano, cucumber, and yogurt followed. I really enjoyed this dish.
The next pairing was a light dry Rosado from Spain. It accompanied buttery Cod with corn, pepper flakes, and tomato sauce.
A Cotes-du-Rhone rosé from southern France was served with a Tomato & Watermelon salad with feta, cucumber, and candy-striped beets. I was pretty roséd-out at this point and luckily that was the last one.
My favorite dish of the night was probably the succulent Lobster with focaccia, tomato, avocado, and cucumber. It was like a unique modern lobster roll.
It was time to switch things up with a red blend from Veneto, Italy. A savory Corn Ravioli with ricotta, mushrooms, lemon, and almonds soon followed.
I was getting pretty full at this point. My server checked on me and asked if I could do a couple more dishes before dessert. I just went with one more which was the Beef Flank Steak with tomato, radish, garlic, and cilantro.
A sweeter Cardamaro wine-based amaro from Piedmonte, Italy went with the dessert. It started with a palate-cleansing Cucumber Sorbet with blueberries followed by a Semifreddo Cake topped with fresh peach slices, blueberries, and mint. I could only take a few bites since I was so full. I also may have been distracted by good company sitting next to me.
Dinner at Evo Kitchen + Bar was really good. The price was well worth it. The pace was a bit too quick for me at times and the serving sizes were super filling, but it was still an enjoyable dining experience. The service was great and I loved how the counter wrapped around the open kitchen.
I ended up hanging out with the two local guys that were sitting next to me at the restaurant. We stopped by Amigos Mexican Restaurant for pool and cheap drinks.
We bar hopped around Old Port and enjoyed a couple signature cocktails at Blyth & Burrows. We finished the evening with some late-night Texas hold ’em. My first day in Portland was a blast! Thanks, guys!
Evo Kitchen + Bar
443 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
Blyth & Burrows
26 Exchange Street
Portland, ME 04101