We have really enjoyed the food scene in Portland, Maine, and I feel incredibly lucky that we have been able to spend 4 separate visits in Maine this past year (all these wedding trips have been awesome!)
When inquiring about any “must eats” we haven’t tried yet, Local 188 came up from a few different foodie friends. They specialize in local ingredients, so their menu is printed anew each day.
The space has a great feel to it. Very high ceilings, big windows, and room between tables.
And I enjoyed the pretty sprigs of pussy willows on the tables.
We started with some cocktails, and I very much enjoyed my Bergeron Sidecar with house infused fig & vanilla bean bourbon, cointreau, fresh lemon juice.
The bread came out warm and it was like a mix between challah and a great crispy roll. A bit of salt and good olive oil on it. Very nice.
We began with “the livers” which came in a shallot cream. This was rich and decadent. We asked for more bread to be able to soak up the awesome shallot cream, which had a faintly liver taste (in the best way).
Next we tried the salad with winter squash and bourbon candied pecans, pickled onion, roasted apple, and blue cheese dressing. This tasted great but was a bit lacking in the squash department.
And then we split the dry-aged rib eye filet, which came with smoked oyster mushrooms, russet potato hash, red-eye gravy, and maple and black garlic creme anglaise.
The meat was cooked to perfect, and all the accoutrements were fantastic, but the smoked oyster mushrooms were other worldly. They had an intense smoky flavor, the richness of mushrooms, and were the perfect texture. The meal was very good, but these mushrooms were unbelievable. I love mushrooms and this beat them all. If this isn’t on the menu regularly, they should make a dish entirely based around it. It is just that good. Thinking back on this taste at this moment leaves me with a feeling of great longing. If you don’t see this on the menu, ask for it. I’m telling you. It’s that good.
Since we split everything, we still had some room for dessert.
So Mike chose the honey ricotta cheesecake, which came with a beautiful sugar decoration and had great flavor. The ricotta really made it light and the crust was really flavorful.
I got the flourless chocolate torte with semi-sweet chocolate ganache. This was rich but not overwhelming. The caramel around it paired very nicely and I enjoyed every bite.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Local 188 and we were very happy that we were so strongly recommended to try it. All the food was very tasty and, by our NYC standards, very affordable for the quality and artisanship that went into it. You can tell the people that run this restaurant really care about the food they put out.
And those smoked mushrooms.
Glory be those smoked mushrooms.
The mushrooms alone got this review categorized in the Best of the Best list.
Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10