Updated March 23, 2014
If you’ve read our Muted in Maine post, you’ll know that I’ve been in search for flavors that can match what I was used to growing up in the NYC/NJ area. It’s taken me a while to weed out the numbers of “muted” restaurants, but I’ve done that legwork for you and compiled the following list. (Note: this list will be updated frequently as we explore and taste new flavorful food sources.)
Otto’s Pizza – In downtown Portland. Anything else is limp crust with sauce and cheese spread across it. Seriously.
L & H Burgers – On our winter vacation at the Samoset we came across L & H Burgers in downtown Rockland. The Rajun Cajun burger is one of the top 3 burgers I’ve had in my life. It was a heavenly experience.
Harmon’s Lunch – This roadside place is legend. It’s menu is simple, and they only take cash. Their burger selection is simple, single or double, with cheese or without. You’d be hard pressed to find anything like it in the state. Put this on your bucket list…right now.
Oh how I miss the “dirty water dogs” from the hot dog carts in NYC. Our first taste of hot dogs in Maine were the flavorless meat tubes hocked on the street in Freeport. (Spend the extra cash for the sausage sandwiches in Freeport. At least they have flavor.) Then comes the “red” hot dogs of Maine. While I’ve heard they have a “snap”, like the Sabrett dogs I loved in NYC, I can’t bring myself to eat the fluorescent red food colored dogs. You’re on your own if you want to try them. Oh, you’ll see signs for “steamed” hot dogs. Just so you know, it’s the buns that are steamed, not the dogs.
Chicago Dogs – On Route 1 in Scarborough. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to NYC Sabrett hot dogs. (My only grips is the huge roll-ish buns. I prefer simple hot dog buns, even the New England style sliced down the middle buns.) The fries are to die for as well!
Deli / Sandwiches
Don’t get me started with the famous Maine “Italian”. Puh-leeze. It’s a ham and cheese sandwich with olives on it. What the heck is so “Italian” about that?! Give me prosciutto, salami and provolone cheese. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Now we’re getting close to something that should be called an “Italian”.
Full Belly Deli – On Brighton Ave in Portland. Pastrami on Rye, with mustard. NYC sized sandwich. Nuff said.
Chia Sen – Payne Road in Scarborough. It’s still not NYC style, but it has quality and the best flavor of the 6+ other Chinese food places we’ve tried.
Beale Street Barbeque– It a little bit of a hike up to Bath, but well worth the trip! Forget the chain restaurant Famous Daves in Scarborough. Bucks Naked in Freeport and Windham…they’ll do in a pinch if you don’t want to drive up to Bath. But Beale Street is still the place if your want authentic flavorful BBQ.
Fore Street – This is our #1 choice when we want a fancy night out on the town. We suggest bringing a healthy appetite as everything we’ve had on the menu was excellent, from the appetizers to the main course to the dessert. They also have an excellent wine and beer selection.
Street and Company – A sister to Fore Street, Street and Company has a more seafood slant on it’s menu, which like Fore Street’s is ever changing. It’s also an excellent choice for a night out.