Back Bay Grill, Portland, 6/27/18

building
building

Back Bay Grill has a  medium sized dining room and a good sized bar that you enter through.  At the end of this room is a large opening where you can see into the kitchen.  The seating arrangements included some banquette seating and tables that were able to accommodate a number of large parties the evening we were there.  The tables are not large and a tad close together but not so much that you didn’t feel like your conversations were private and you could hear the people at your table.  A few windows on one wall allow you to look out to the street, but the location is away from the most touristy zone, which made it appear that local residents made up most of the guests.  Low lighting, soft instrumental background music, white tableclothes and napkins and a large long mural  on one wall all add to the ambiance of the place.  There is a feeling of “old school” elegance, the food was really good and the staff were all super friendly and welcoming.  Chef Larry Matthews Jr.  has been here 30 years and been the owner for 20 years.  The menu is all a la carte.  

entrance
entrance
door handle
door handle
open kitchen
open kitchen
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
Frankie shared restaurant details
Frankie shared the restaurant details
table set up
table set up

 

While we enjoyed a perfectly made martini and looked over the menu the server brought out a gougere stuffed with mushroom duxelle that was wonderful and screamed with terrific mushroom flavor.

menu
menu
gougere
gougere
antoher angle
another angle
martini
martini

 

Bread was a 6 to 1 ratio of white to wheat small, in a warm loaf with a medium crispy crust and a nice dense interior.  It was served with a tasty butter that was stamped with the “BB” symbol that you could also see etched into one of the glass panes in the interior.

Bread basket and stampled butter
Bread basket and stamped butter
bread
bread
stamped butter
stamped butter
Waitress and Frankie
Great waitress Liz and Frankie

 

Hudson Valley Seared Foie Gras was served on a toasted brioche and plated with pickled cherries and hazelnuts.  The brioche was made in house and the perfectly seared piece of foie gras was on top of it.  It was cooked just right and went great with the tart cherries.  The hazelnuts added a nice crunch and flavor to this delicious dish.

Hudson Valley Seared Foie Gras, toasted brioche, pickled cherries, hazelnuts
Hudson Valley Seared Foie Gras, toasted brioche, pickled cherries, hazelnuts
cherries close
cherries close
Foie gras and brioche closer
Foie gras and brioche closer
inside
inside
Frankie and the table flowers
Frankie and the table flowers

 

Seared Scallops were served with Grilled Scapes, Corn Coulis and shaved Summer Truffle.  The scallops were wonderfully sweet and totally complimented by the creamy sauce which also accented the tasty scapes from the watercress garden.  The truffle was in ultra thin slices and it actually had truffle flavor.  Another really tasty dish.

Seared scallops, grilled scapes, corn coulis, shaved summer truffle
Seared scallops, grilled scapes, corn coulis, shaved summer truffle
closer
closer
other side
other side
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back
Frankie checked out the bench seat
Frankie checked out the bench seat

 

We split a Local Organic Mixed Greens that were mixed with candied walnuts and Stilton and dressed with a Port Wine Vinaigrette.  The tasty cheese and the sweet toasted nuts really made a good salad.  I would have liked a bit more dressing but it was fine as is.  It was a very generous portion that easily made enough for 2 – and they were nice enough to split it for us in the kitchen.

Local organic mixed greens, candied walnuts, stilton, port wine vinaigrette
Local organic mixed greens, candied walnuts, stilton, port wine vinaigrette
closer
closer
other side
other side
add some pepper
add some pepper
with pepper
with pepper
Frankie found flowers
Frankie found flowers

 

Brown Sugar Brined Hampshire Pork Chop was served with a Pecorino and Potato Gratin, Braised Cipollini, Bacon Braised Collard Greens and a Roasted Peach Puree.  The pork was cooked medium rare, as requested and was nicely moist and tender.  The greens were totally dressed with large chunks of bacon mixed in – delicious.  The gratin was alternating layers of potato and cheese which was great.   This plate was full of well flavored items that were amazing.

Brown sugar brined Hampshire pork chop, pecorino and potato gratin, braised cipollini, baon braised collard greens, roasted peach puree
Brown sugar brined Hampshire pork chop, pecorino and potato gratin, braised cipollini, baon braised collard greens, roasted peach puree
closer
closer
other side
other side
from the top
from the top
Frankie played in the hand towels
Frankie played in the hand towels

 

Lavender Marinated Duck Breast was served with Duck Confit, Parsnip Puree, Roasted Cauliflower, Gnocchi, Frisee and Pine Nut Salad and Duck Jus.  The two types of duck were both fabulous and the gnocchi was tender and a perfect way to soak up the wonderful sauce.  The parsnip puree was quite tasty and it mixed well with the nice bits of frisee and pinenuts.  It would be hard to chose between the two main dishes we got, both were fantastic.

Lavender marinated duck breast, duck confit, parsnip puree, roasted cauliflower, gnocchi, frisee and pine nut salad, duck jus
Lavender marinated duck breast, duck confit, parsnip puree, roasted cauliflower, gnocchi, frisee and pine nut salad, duck jus
closer
closer
other side
other side
Frankie tried to choose
Frankie tried to choose

 

At our request, the bartender suggested a grappa for us to have with dessert.  It was perfect.

dessert and drinks menu
dessert and drinks menu
grappa
grappa
Frankie and after dinner drink
Frankie and the grappa
Bartender and Frankie
Fun bartender Chris and Frankie

 

For dessert the Warmed Madeleine, Macerated Local Strawberries with ginger and Bavarian Mousse was a fun dish.  Lots of different flavors and textures that combined well with flavorful strawberries.  It was quite nice.

Warmed Madeleine, macerated local strawberries, ginger Bavarian Mouse
Warmed Madeleine, macerated local strawberries, ginger Bavarian Mousse
another angle
another angle
other side
other side
Frankie found flowers
Frankie found flowers

 

However, if you’ve picked up anything about my preferences you know I adore good caramel.  The Caramel Ice Cream with Bourbon Caramel Sauce and Almond Lace Cookie was to die for.  Loaded with thick, sweet caramel sauce the smooth, creamy ice cream just blended into a bit of heaven in my bowl.  They were nicely generous with the caramel sauce and I was in  orbit.

Caramel ice cream, bourbon caramel sauce, almond lace cookie
Caramel ice cream, bourbon caramel sauce, almond lace cookie
with out top
without top
closer
closer
another side
another side
award
award
press
wall of press
press
press
large painting
large painting

 

A final treat with the bill was an almond and white chocolate macaroon that was in a fudge like format.  A great way to finish a terrific meal.

final treat
final treat
Chef and Frankie
Chef/Owner Larry Matthews Jr. and Frankie

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