Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Black Diamond Steakhouse- Newry Maine

My wife and I only went to the Black Diamond Steakhouse on the Sunday River Rd in Newry Maine, when our first choice ended up being closed for a special event and we ended up being happy that we did. It was the weekend of the Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River ski resort so everywhere in town was busy. The Black Diamond Steakhouse was no different but only being a party of two we were seated almost immediately when we arrived. Looking around the dining room you see lots of ski memorabilia on the walls and a huge moose head on the wall...WELCOME TO MAINE ! The staff was in (somewhat) organized chaos and the manager was very busy busing tables, seating people, bringing out food and pouring drinks. It looked as though the Black Diamond was very undermanned for the amount of people that were eating but they certainly get an A for effort. As far as the food goes, if you like the classic steakhouse menu then you're going to like it. If your a food yuppie and prefer your food fancy with ingredients that you can't pronounce then pass on by. For an appetizer we had fresh cut french fries topped with gravy.

 The fries and gravy were good but the portion a little small and we finished them in abut 30 seconds. Simone went veg head with her meal and ordered a portabello mushroom cap stuffed with boursin cheese and topped with breadcrumbs.

 I had the Chicken Cordon Blu , both meals came with the salad of your choosing, a diner roll, vegetable of the day and a choice of starch. For our starch we ordered the Rice Pilaf. My chicken was fresh prepared and perfectly moist. Stuffed full with ham and Swiss, It was not breaded like some Cordon Blu, so you can even claim it was healthier. The rice was fluffy and nutty due to the toasted orzo. It was a perfect pilaf.

The green beans on the side were tender but not overcooked and the dinner roll was light and fresh tasting. Simone and I both enjoyed our meals and cleaned the plates. We had received a coupon for a free dessert from the hotel we were staying at so we could not pass up the classic Brownie a la mode. A nice hunk of a rich brownie topped with classic vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts and whipped cream. It was just as mom would have made had she loved me as much as she claims. Overall this was just a simple comforting meal. There was no wow factor but one wasn't needed. It was a good and satisfying meal. The service under the circumstances was also very good and we could not have asked for much more. 4 stars for the Black Diamond Steakhouse,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Casa Novello- Westbrook Maine

Simone and I went to Casa Novello this past Sunday night with our Portland Dine around Club Card ( I should get some kinda discount for plugging this damn thing all the time). At the suggestion of other yelpers we made reservations but didn't really need them as the place had plenty of seats. Its about a 10 minute drive from downtown Portland to get to the Casa and from the outside its nothing special. Inside is also just okay as far as the decor, but what is lacking in decor is made up for with the smell of fresh tomato sauce and garlic coming from the kitchen. A little Italian music in the background and some dimly lit lighting and you almost feel like your in an Italian Cafe in Northern Italy (or so I'm told). The meal starts off with some slices of Italian Bread and a side of Olive Oil and rosemary freshly mixed by the waitress. The bread was okay but not as good as I have had in other places. There were many delicious sounding items on the menu but we decided on two homemade meatballs for an appetizer/side order. Simone also got an appetizer portion ( which could feed two people) of house made Butternut Squash Ravioli and I decided on the monster entree portion of house made Pasta with Bolognese Sauce(that could feed 12 people). The meatballs came out first.

Casa Novello

 They were about the size of a pool table ball and were topped with a fresh sweet tomato Marinara. These were hearty and tender with a mild hint of garlic and Parmesan. They were very tasty and better then my mothers ( probably because my mother never made me any).
Simones Ravioli came with an interesting Cinnamon and caramelized onion cream sauce. Not a combination that normally goes together but somehow worked . It was the perfect marriage in this sweet dish.

 I choose Angel hair pasta for my Bolognese. The pasta was cooked perfect and topped with the rich Bolognese made with shredded and chunks of beef pot roast. My only complaint about this was the sauce to pasta ratio was a bit stingy. To make up for the lesser amount of sauce I used the remaining sauce from the meatballs and it worked just fine.


When in Venice ( or Westbrook) do as the Italians do and order cannoli for dessert! Simone I each ordered a cannoli because I don't like to share. It was good with a nice crispy crust and smooth but not to sweet ricotta filling. The only thing i would have enjoyed with this would have been some kind of chocolate but it was still enjoyable. As a surprise the waitress figured out her tip for us ( 20%- she thought a lot of herself) and also did not punch our card thus allowing us to use our dine around club card a second time at Casa (that's almost unheard of and possibly against the club rules). Overall I really enjoyed this place and would suggest it to anyone looking for good Italian fare. 4 stars

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Muddy Rudder- Yarmouth Maine

I have passed by the Muddy Rudder on the border of Freeport and Yarmouth Maine a million times on my way to and from Portland, but have never stopped as I never really figured id like it do to being known as a seafood lovers place. However ,I had a Portland Dine Around Club coupon so I figured id give it a try for brunch on a cold Sunday morning in April when I couldnt find anyplace in Portland that didn't have an hours wait. Simone and I arrived at around 11:00am and the place was strangely empty. This is always a concern for me, but I have been driving by many a time in the summer when the parking lot is full so I figure it is more of a reflection of the time of year then the food quality.

Upon arrviving the (very cute) hostess sat us at a table with a nice view of the marshy waterfront and then the (very cute) waitress brought us some waters, coffee and menus. Simone tried the Creme Brule French Toast with a side of Bacon and I was convinced by our (very cute) waitress to try the days special Monte Cristo Sandwich. I hesitated a bit on my choice as I do not usually like Monte Cristos that much.

 I usually get ones with Deli Turkey, Deli Ham and thin somewhat soggy bread. This one however exceed all my expectations. This was real moist and tender Roasted Turkey, sliced about 1/4th of an inch thick , piled high with crispy bacon and a generous amount of Swiss. The bread was nice large thick cut french toast bread that was dipped in a cinnamon egg batter and grilled crispy on the outside and moist but not soggy on the inside. The sandwich was huge and delicious, the best Monte Cristo I can remember having. It came with hash brown casserole that was not as good as the sandwich. The hash browns were overpowered in the dish by the onions and it lacked some salt and pepper. I ate them but they could have been better.

Simone's Creme Brule French Toast also exceeded our expectations. Thick Cut French Toast Egg battered thick slices of french bread were grilled, then topped with Sugar and carmelized until golden brown. They looked prettier then the (very cute) waitress that served them and tasted sinfully sweet. Simone also ordered a side of bacon which could have been a bit crispier. In what can only be described as genius, she took some Bacon and wedged it between the french toast slices dipped it in syrup and made mini salty and sweet breakfast sliders. YUM. With the amounts of food we were able to bring some french toast home for another meal. However, we were not able to bring the (very cute) waitress home therefor we will be back for more trips in the future. The Muddy Rudder was an unexpected find. Four stars

The Pointe Afta-Winslow Maine

 The Pointe Afta bar and restaurant  is located on 252 China Road in Winslow, Maine. It has been around for longer then I can remember and over the past few years I have come to love the atmosphere, the people and the food. This is not your clean cut, spotless classy neighborhood restaurant. In fact I'll be up front in saying the outside has seen better days and the restrooms could use some TLC. But when you walk through the door you are immediately taken back to a time when you could go to your favorite spot to watch the game on the TV with your friends over a cold beer (or twelve) and talk about the old times. There is New England sports memorabilia all over the walls, arcade games, a couple different rooms for functions and an outdoor patio. Another great thing about this place is Stan, the owner who always chats it up with customers and keeps watch over his business each and everyday (I never have seen him in the evenings for some reason). Once you get to know Stan you will always feel welcomed at his bar. So what about the food ? Its consistently good bar food essentials such as wings, nachos and mozzarella sticks along with a huge selection of burgers and sandwiches named after local New England and Maine athletes and coaches.

My suggestion would be the Scott Wood. This is my go to hot baked sandwich, Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, Mozzarella, mushrooms and Mayo. The melted cheese, the gooey tangy mayonnaise, the sweet Teriyaki and smokey grilled chicken are a delicious combination. On the side you can't go wrong with spicy curly fries or onion rings (not homemade but always crispy). On this trip, Simone and I discovered a new favorite- Buffalo Chips.

A potato take on the classic Buffalo style wing. House made thick cut potato chips are served extra crunchy topped with melted Monterrey Jack cheese, bacon bits, Blue Cheese, Ranch Dressing and Hot Sauce. These are dirty because they will remind you of great sex, hot, messy and you'll be wanting more. These are a meal by themselves ( which would be good to know before you order your meal). After finishing a delicious dirty plate of these addictive chips we ended up having to take most of entrees home. Simone ordered a sandwich special consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast, Bacon, Swiss and Honey Mustard on Foccacia.

This sandwich was basic but well prepared and although Simone could only eat a quarter of it after all the chips it was enjoyed again for dinner along with the remainder of my Scott Wood sandwich. I would recommend The Pointe Afta to all of you. There is a reason it has been in business forever. Good Service, Good Atmosphere, Good Food and cold beer adds up to 4 stars and many return visits.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage

Right across the road from the sophisticated and elite Harvard University in Cambridge Mass, is the small and crowded, boisterous dive called Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage. If you are looking for a quite laid back tea sipping lunch, then keep on walking because this is not your place. However if you want arguably the best burger you may ever eat in a crowded loud and kinda insane atmosphere then you have found your place.  About 50 or so burger combinations grace this menu and there is also some other stuff, but honestly who cares?  The burgers are ground fresh each day and start out by being formed into baseball size patties and then slapped on the grill and charred until a nice crust forms on both sides.  Simone and I hadn't even planned on eating here,  but were directed by the hotel concierge that this was the ONLY place to go if I wanted a great burger.  
We arrived at 1:00pm with a small line out the door, but we only had to wait 5 minutes before seats were found for us at one of the long community tables with 25 of our closets friends. Sitting across from each other, arm to arm with no room to move we were packed in like a sardine can. You have no choice but to sit, eat and be merry. And don't even try to talk with whomever you came with...just write your conversations on a napkin or learn sign language. The waitstaff literally yells out your order to the three short order cooks manning the grill who are also dropping some great fries (regular and sweet potato) and fresh onion rings in a culinary circus of madness. Simone ordered a soup that was very good..but really again...whos cares?

I ordered what you go to Bartleys for..a burger.  The Democrat to be exact, medium well ( as suggested by my concierge unless you like your burger mooing).  It arrived as ordered. It was an inch thick topped with about another inch of grilled sauerkraut, a couple slices of melted Swiss cheese and a good portion of creamy, tangy house made Russian dressing. The bun was mostly useless and disappeared under all the toppings. It was a dream come true. Fresh, Rich, Beefy, Drippy, Melty, Sloppy and Delicious. The kraut and dressing spilled down the sides of my mouth but I wore it loud and proud. I was able to finish the monster, and still had room to take on a milk shake to go. I choose the Elvis Frappe which included Chocolate Ice Cream, Bananas, and Peanut Butter blended up into a delicious smooth, rich coma inducing dessert. A perfect way to end the insanity. Overall the food gets 5 stars, the atmosphere 4.  I loved Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage.