full of grace.

7 02 2010

so last night i finally paid grace a visit. it opened a while ago, but i’ve been sort of afraid to go inside. i mean who in portland is cocky enough to open a fine dining (aka high priced) restaurant in a down economy inside a giant converted church? admittedly, it is a pretty impressive renovation, although there’s a faux classiness that smacks of homegoods to me. wine cork napkin holders?! also, the silverware is terrible. my spoon looked more like a tiny shovel, and was completely ineffective in getting the soup from  bowl to mouth (which turned out not to be that much of a problem, but we’ll get there soon).

however, i could forgive the tackiness parading as high class if the food was good. i’d pay $50 for a meal in a burnt out gas station if it was delicious, but it was really crap. the lettuce in my salad had dirt in it. my cauliflower soup was so pureed that it had an unearthly slimy smoothness that i found to be utterly gross. my dessert was microscopic. who knows what kind of carrageenan xanthan gum bullshit was in the earl gray hot chocolate (which tasted like burning tires and old perfume btw) that made it thick and lumpy-gelatinous. and for some reason, everything (no matter how tiny) was served on plates so giant that it was completely impossible for me to eat both my salad and soup simultaneously. the only decent thing we had all night was the wine, and we all went home hungry. boo-urns.

and the entire time, i couldn’t stop thinking about how much my $10 dinner at po’ boys and pickles earlier in the week was so much better. so much better. the sweet potato fries were the best i’d ever had (sorry silly’s- too soggy!), they made me a meatless ruben with incredible fresh bread (and only charged me $3 for it), and the sticky toffee pudding was as good or better than any dessert that i’ve ever had at any restaurant in portland (including the tres leches cake at caiolas). dear po’ boys, please move on to the peninsula, and i will happily buy bigger/stretchier pants.

as much as i want to support all local businesses, if they don’t deliver, they don’t deliver.  food doesn’t taste better if the hostess ignores me, or because they make me taste the wine before they fill the glasses, or if they take away my salad fork just because i’m not having a salad. i don’t care how much you spent on the renovation. just give me something (anything) that tastes good, or me and my $43 aren’t ever coming back.

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12 responses

8 02 2010
Jen

That sucks. I have no problem paying good money for food as long as it is GOOD food.

8 02 2010
bessmarvin

well, if you ever come to visit portland, you’ll know exactly where not to eat. what a rip!

8 02 2010
Xine

Looking at the menu totally grossed me out.

8 02 2010
bessmarvin

i’m willing to try anything, but it just wasn’t good. you have to be a pretty shitty cook to ruin a soup and salad. going to silly’s on friday with the same girls to try and erase grace from our memory.

28 03 2010
cook in portland

Well, I’ve eaten at Grace often and have enjoyed it. Didn’t you rave about Peanut Butter and Jelly Time? Maybe you should stick to reviewing that level of cuisine. You clearly know nothing about food. And by the way, the ‘fresh’ bread Po Boys uses is from MA… it’s really not fresh at all.

28 03 2010
bessmarvin

you are correct in stating that I don’t necessarily have a trained palate, although I wouldn’t agree that enjoying a really good PB&J precludes me from having a valid opinion about grace. the truth is that good food is good food, no matter where you get it, and grace wasn’t it. there were 3 people in my party, all who ordered different dishes, and we were all disappointed. that blobby lumpy smoky mess that was the earl grey hot chocolate was criminally disgusting, and a restaurant that wants to be as high end as grace clearly does, should know better. to all in my party (as well as numerous others that i have encountered), it genuinely appeared as if no one had tasted the food. if this was a restaurant review website, and not just a frugal living/maine culture blog, i might have bothered to give it a second go round to make sure my view was more balanced, and that they were just not having an off night. that said, i don’t write a restaurant review website, so it’s not really keeping me up at night. i’m sure that there are many other opinions and reviews out in the world that you can deem educated enough for your approval. in the meantime, i would eat sticky toffee pudding at po’ boys (you really aught to try it if you haven’t) 1,000 times before i would ever set foot in the overpriced nightmare factory that is grace. so you go ahead and take my table, i won’t be joining you.

28 03 2010
Michelle

“You clearly know nothing about food”?!?!? Are you seriously questioning whether she knows if she enjoyed the food at Grace or not? How dare you criticize a blogger for being honest instead of saying the food was great, the service impeccable. Sometimes, they’re just not. I don’t care how beautiful the restaurant is.

I ordered the gnocchi at Grace, which comes pan-seared on the flat sides. Unfortunately it’s also served in a salty, brown, watery broth, which really defeats the purpose of searing something. On the positive side, at least I only got about 6 wet gnocchi-s, which comes out to $3/gnocchi. My dessert (which was not the dessert I ordered but I decided not to make a big deal out of it) was a 2″ oatmeal cookie surrounded by Craisins on a plate. For $7. Seriously, the owners of Grace should have spent less on the renovation and more on the food.

Also, MA is a ~1.5 hour drive, so unless you have some insanely small timeframe for “fresh,” I don’t see why bread from MA can’t be fresh.

29 03 2010
bessmarvin

thanks for stickin up for me! and i totally forgot about the craisins. makes me giggle every time. as for the bread at po’ boys, i don’t care where the get it, as long as it never stops being delicious.

30 03 2010
the currency of villainy. « broke 207

[…] not that nice. the person who told me i should stick to reviewing PB&Js did so because i completely eviscerated a local restaurant. and i did so unapologetically. i’m blunt and brutal and bitchy. sometimes for comic effect, […]

30 03 2010
Kate @ The Blueberry Files

I have had some good food at grace (the coconut avacado crab soup and… and, hm, i’m sure there was something else good… no matter), but i too take issue with their horrible clipboards, placemats, napkin rings, glasses, and silverware. and that their bar was made (and shipped across the damn country) in denver. by their friends. n’mind that they drove that damn behemoth right past a lot of out-of-work skilled MAINE carpeteners. but hey, it’s a free country. i just don’t have to like it. po’boys & pickles, however… mmm.

30 03 2010
bessmarvin

i have to say that my vegetarianism almost always puts me at a disadvantage at most local restaurants. grace had very little to offer me, and that’s probably at least part of why i ended up unsatisfied with my food (veg options tend to be weak links or afterthoughts). although on the other hand, my salad had dirt in it. i had no idea that the bar had been constructed out of state (shocked & appalled)! although to me it sort of looks like it was dropped from outer space. overall though, it is a beautiful renovation, and i sincerely hope they can sort out their menu problems and start producing food that is worthy of the space. oh, and i also sincerely hope that they get rid of that heinous silverware & napkin rings! until then, i’ll be at po’ boys eating a meatless reuben. i’m trying to seduce them to move or open up a secondary shop on the peninsula. how nice would it be to walk over in the summer time and have late night sticky toffee and PBR?

30 03 2010
Kate @ The Blueberry Files

oh wait, there was more, i got distracted by the rant about the bar (which i make pretty much every time i go in there for a drink). i was gonna say, i ate a full meal there 1x, and wasn’t inspired to go back. it was pretty soon after it opened, and everything was good, but not great for the price. i’ve heard about some terrible food coming out of that kitchen though, which it too bad since the sous chef is one of my friends! i just want it to be better than it is b/c it’s beautiful (if not a little weird) in there.

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