Portland, ME: David’s Opus 10

11 Apr

High on the list of places to try in Portland, Maine was David’s Opus 10. I have been hearing about it more and more since it opened this past November, and it made a few appearances on the Soup to Nuts: Maine food experts dish about their restaurant favorites article.

The menu is a 9-course Tasting Menu and Mike and I split a wine pairing between us (I drank more since Mike had to drive home).

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The Opus Ten part of the restaurant is actually behind the main restaurant, David’s. They do a small seating in an intimate space with beautiful draping along the ceiling. They also put a cart of goodies in the middle of all the tables.

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While we weren’t right at the window, our table afforded us a peak into the kitchen.

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And the table was beautifully set with a dark purple calla lilly (one of my faves!)

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Even the butter was beautifully styles (and very tasty with smoked salt on top).

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With a lovely variation of rolls and some very nice olive and balsamic to dip.

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Our first dish was not on the menu, but was certainly more substantial than your usual amuse bouche. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t written on the menu, I cannot recall the specifics beyond the fact that the meat was shaved off of a beautiful piece of hock on that middle table and tasted delicious with the cheese, olives, and bread.

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It was beautifully marbled and had a great tenderness to it.

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My first cocktail necessitated a quick froth (and tasted great).

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The first official menu item came out, and this was the dish that everyone in that article was raving about. Morel and exotic mushroom gratin with Mushroom and Madeira cream shooter.

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This had a very lovely mushroom flavor and was incredibly enjoyable, but I think I would have loved it a whole lot more if we hadn’t just had the mushroom of a lifetime at Local 188.

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Next came a butter poached lobster, risotto cake, citrus truffle miero greens.  This was very tasty, but I feel a bit like I might be struck by lightening for saying this… I don’t really “get” butter poaching lobster. It’s so much more flavorful when you just boil it in its shell and then dip it in butter. Somehow the poaching seems to take away some of the great lobster flavor.  (Sorry food gods)

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Our next dish was seared scallops with bowfin caviar and smoked salmon.  I really liked the addition of the matchstick potatoes in this. It created a really awesome contrast of textures and flavor without distracting from the delicious fish.

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I really enjoyed our next bite, quail egg ravioli with kale, hedgehog mushrooms, and foie gras butter nage [sic].

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I didn’t really taste the foie gras, but this was rich and creamy and very, very nice.

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Our next dish was a nice intermezzo with strawberry-basil sorbet with frozen vanilla and basil infused vodka.

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The vodka was actually poured overtop from a bottle that was frozen into a block.

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Even though I don’t love vodka, I really enjoyed this light palate cleanser. Very refreshing and a nice way to head into the rest of the meal.

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Grilled quail, foie gras medallion and “buttered” toast with cranberry-pear gastrique. Usually I find quail hardly worth the effort. A teeny bite without much flavor.

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This was a more substantial portion and it all went together well, and this time the foie had a really nice flavor that was prominent without being overpowering.

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Our last savory course was my favorite: Lamb saddle, lamb presse, sweet potato hash, and kale braise.

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There was an amazing crispy top on the one piece of lamb, and everything was cooked, flavored, and spiced perfectly.  Really great dish.

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Our dessert was Feuilletage “beignets” with peppered strawberry and Grand Marnier creme chantilly.  These were quite tasty. Not too dense and nice flavor.  I enjoyed the strawberry balanced with the pepper.

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Our final bites were chocolate, caramel nut bark, chambord and chocolate truffles, and pecan, orange and cranberry sandy.  I thought these were all pretty good, but nothing too outstanding.

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The truffles were my favorite of the trio.

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They also offered us some after dinner drinks, and Mike chose to have some Twenty Year Old Sandeman (which he really enjoyed).

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Overall, our meal was really great but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding.  Solid, great flavor, nice pacing, and great service. But there was no dish that really stuck out as a huge WOW.  It felt like a really nice, celebration of a meal, however, and is a fun way to spend an evening. I actually wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had we not had such a great experience at Local 188 the night right before. But as far as tasting menus go, I would say it was worth every penny (though they didn’t tell you how much any of the extras cost, which was mildly annoying). It’s a really nice treat right in Portland.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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