The Grill Room
The Grill Room (located at 84 Exchange Street Portland) is a meat house not to be missed. My last visit, also my first, was just a few weeks ago. During that food binge I decided to visit all three of Harding Lee Smith's restaurants in Portland.
Food was plentiful and delicious. Perhaps slightly too big of portions for a regular dinner night out, but portion control is my issue not theirs. We started our evening at the bar with raw Oysters and fried Sweetbreads along with drinks. The bar service was - average - at best, with barkeeps mostly single tasking, leaving customers waiting to put in their orders. The drinks, on the other hand, were creative and potent. The bar was loud and vibrant, with all the patrons looking comfortable and content. The oysters were a miniature taste into The Grand Central Oyster Bar; at least in principle. The actual choice of oysters was rather disappointing, largely because they varied in level of brine and not much else. However, I enjoyed the experience never the less.
Gluttony overcame us when it came to placing our dinner order. We settled on the 35 oz hunk of cow - no longer a steak at those proportions - combined with veggies, fries, brussel sprouts, and bread. In retrospect, I do not believe I can ever order that much food again, but combined with a bottle of wine it sure made for a fun night. The meat, ordered rare, was exactly as promised: cool in the middle. I've always been a fan of a rare - a really rare - steak, although my tastes have been changing. I've come to realize that at 35oz, it's necessary to cook that meat a little more: definitely above medium. Small pieces of meat are fun when rare, but when proportions change to the size of the Flintstones, the meat just needs to cook through. I enjoyed it never the less. The sides were equally gargantuan and delightful.
The staff was great and the atmosphere lively. I truly enjoyed the Grill Room and look forward to eating there again.