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Street & Company
33 Wharf Street

Three and 1/2 Plates  
Street and Company Reviewed: Fall, 2000

There are several restaurants in Portland that have a reputation amongst the community as being a little more expensive than the others yet especially high in quality and service. The kinds of restaurants that you save for special occasions. Well, I have always thought of Street & Company as one of these up-scale establishments and we finally found an opportunity to test out their fine cuisine and see what all the buzz is about. Interestingly enough, I think I am still wondering.

We made a reservation a day in advanced for an 8:00 dinner. From my past experience, I have come to rely on the simple fact that you make a reservation so that a restaurant will have a table ready upon arrival. But this did not seem to be the case at Street & Company. We arrived a few minutes prior to our scheduled reservation yet the very confident hostess informed us that making a reservation at Street & Company did not guarantee us a table at any specific time, they give fifteen to twenty minutes leeway on either side of your reservation. Needless to say, as there is absolutely no waiting room inside the very tiny cramped restaurant we stood outside on Wharf Street until they cleared a table for us at 8:25. Thankfully it was not a rainy evening.

The entrance to Street & Company on Wharf Street almost gives the impression that you're stumbling in the wrong door. Immediately to your right as you walk in is the kitchen with the hostess stand awkwardly crammed in between you and the small dining room. This could be a good thing as it would send diners to their seats with the wafting kitchen aromas tempting their taste buds, but all I could focus on were the unattractive looking pre-wrapped dishes right by the door and trying to figure out what exactly they were so I could be sure not to order them. The dining area is dimly lit and rather loud acoustically, as we immediately noticed the first time the very small child sitting next to us let out a blood curdling scream and we proceeded to clearly hear each table question the whereabouts of the babysitter. The decorations consist of wine bottles in large racks lining the walls, and long bundles of dried grass-like stuff hanging about here and there all supplemented by lots of copper. A quirk I deemed worth noting, the ladies' room, which I visited a couple of times while waiting for our reserved table, for some unknown reason contains a fully functional shower, complete with soap and shampoo. So in case you feel like freshening up during your meal, you're all set, although you might have to use paper towel to dry off.

The hostess kindly sat us, no apologies, but I suppose as seating people a half hour after their scheduled reservation is common practice here, there was none to be given. We squeezed our way through the packed tables of loud unpleasant diners to the back corner where they had pushed together two small copper tables for the six of us. One table was just a tad lower than the other and extremely wobbly as well which got a little bothersome as the night progressed. There was a pile of copper menus waiting for us on our table. Our waitress warned us that often people have a difficult time discerning the copper menus from the copper table top so we had to be careful not to put them too close to our place settings. Not only that but they were very sharp on the edges and an awkward length, too big for our allotted individual table space, and despite our waitress's warning we did have several silverware mishaps concerning the metallic slabs.

We looked over the list and immediately chose two bottles of wine to start: the Trimbach Pinot Grigio and the Chateau Moulin de Pey Vonin 1998 Bordeaux. We quickly perused the menus and our waitress returned just a few minutes later with wine, a wire basket of warm Italian bread and butter, and ready to take our orders. Street & Company is renowned for its seafood selection but surprisingly, there were many vegetarian dishes on the menu as well. The basic template for the four vegetarian appetizers seemed to be some kind of tomato, a cheese, goat being the most prevalent, and some greens. The two vegetarian entrée selections included the ever-popular Fettucini Alfredo and Pasta Primavera. But being a seafood restaurant, I do give them credit for having such a variety at all. I have been to seafood places in the past and had nothing but bread and salad for dinner.

I had a difficult time deciding what to order, tempted by the Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese, Almonds and Breadcrumbs Finished with Roasted Peppers ($7.95) and the Tomato, Lentil and Goat Cheese Soup ($4.95 for a cup and $5.95 for a bowl), but I finally settled on the Fresh Tomato, Pesto and Mozzarella Salad with Roasted Garlic ($7.95) to start. Three of us in our party tried this delicious salad and all were equally as delighted. The salad consisted of a few pieces of fresh mozzarella and thin slices of tomato all tossed in a generous amount of fresh basil pesto and topped with a few whole cloves of sweet roasted garlic. All the flavors blended together perfectly in a classic combination leaving a great first impression, food-wise. The others in our party sampled the Seasonal Salad ($4.94), the Spanish Sheep's Milk Cheese, Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart with Mixed Greens ($7.95), which I later had for my dinner, and the Fresh Maine Crabmeat sauteed in Brown Butter with Mushrooms and greens ($12.95), which he said was an excellent starter as well. With the exception of the seasonal salad, we all chose our appetizers from the daily menu. In addition to this menu, they also have consistent appetizer offerings on their regular menu including Calamari ($7.95), Clams ($7.95), and Mussels Provencal ($7.95).

Our dinners arrived shortly after our appetizers. Thankfully the waitress cleared away our plates just in time as the small table was starting to overflow with dinnerware. I was not as impressed with my dinner as I was with my salad but I did choose to order another appetizer as an entrée. Everyone else was very pleased with their meals, especially those who tried seafood dishes.

Street & Company offers a vast selection of seafood dishes, of which even I, a strictly non-seafood eater, was impressed. Unlike most restaurants where each entrée is a masterpiece of ingredients in itself, here you're getting down to the basics, and selecting which single sea delicacy you want to indulge in for the evening. They offer choices of Grilled or Blackened Tuna ($19.95), Salmon ($16.95), or Halibut ($17.95), or a choice of Broiled Sole ($15.95), Salmon ($16.95) or Scallops ($17.95) as well as Fisherman's Stew, Shrimp with Butter & Garlic ($16.95), Mussels Marinara over Linguine ($15.95) or the Lobster Diavolo serving two diners for $34.95 just to name a few.

Amongst our three seafood connoisseurs on this particular evening, they were able to sample the Sole Francaise ($15.95), the Scallops in Pernod and Cream ($18.95) and the Blackened Halibut ($17.95). The Sole Francaise was served with lemon butter, cooked very crispy and light, and was accompanied by rice, unfortunately a little on the cold side, and delicious summer vegetables. Both other diners commented that their respective Halibut and Scallops were excellent but did not go into much detail beyond that.

Our two vegetarian diners each ordered one of the two pasta dishes. The Fettucini Alfredo ($14.95) was delicious. A rather large portion of al dente fettucini served in a hot skillet swimming in rich creamy sauce. The Pasta Primavera ($13.95) came with a choice of three sauces, of which our friend chose tomato. The dish was a medley of fresh sauteed vegetables with pasta and marinara sauce and was greatly enjoyed. Incidentally, either of these two vegetarian dishes could have been ordered with any kind of seafood added. My Spanish Sheep's Milk, Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart was ok. It was a small slice of quiche-like pie with a little bit of tomato and chunks of onions that weren't quite caramelized. The crust was pretty good but a little bland. The mixed greens that arrived on the side of my tart were very fresh and dressed in a generous amount of almost too sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Although our friend had the seasonal greens for his starter dish and he loved the amount of bold sweet and sour dressing on his salad.

wheelchair accessible
vegetarian selections
vegan selections  
most credit cards accepted
A few of us decided to try some desserts to finish off our meal. Some were looking forward to espresso, which they unfortunately did not serve, so they settled on regular coffee instead. We requested two orders of Tiramisu and one slice of Berry Pie. The very basic pie consisted of many berries and crust with the tiniest dollop of whipped cream on top. The tiramisu however was very light and delicious. A small dish full to the brim of so much whipped cream, coffee flavored whipped cream, and chocolate bits that I could hardly even find the cake. We ended up getting one of our desserts on the house as our friend had requested her leftover Pasta to go and they accidentally tossed it away in the kitchen.

I am not sure I would rush back to Street & Company any time soon, but it was a decent overall experience.  back to the top




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