Downtown Restaurants

Portland’s Missing Piece: Tapas

November 21, 2014

We’re in the midst of a foodie revolution here in Portland. Everything is all about food; even the Farmer’s Market gets accolades for fresh produce and availability to everyone through tokens and letting people with food stamps get the things that they really need.

So how does tapas fit into this beautiful and energetic city?

Until recently, it just didn’t. We had small plates, like Central Provisions and Lolita. And we had tapas inspired, like Local 188. But the beauty of tapas is its simplicity. The ability to share everything, from starters to entrees. Sur Lie…does all this and more. Even as the winner of hottest Maine restaurant from Eater, this is still a place that is gaining traction as more people find out about it. This is a place for the food lover that can’t have just one thing on the menu but needs to try it all. I basically just described myself, but I know that sampling is a popular way to eat! The menu is subject to change, but this is what I ordered!

1st: Creamy white beans with pork belly and mushroomssur lie

Quick question: who dislikes beans and thinks most meals are better off without them? I know that’s usually my opinion. But who knew that you could make beans silky, creamy and absolutely delectable? When you add in pork belly, and mushrooms, the flavors just explode in your mouth. This was the perfect way to start off my meal at Sur Lie, along with their Monday night punch special.

2nd: Baked potato bites IMG_0448











For the potato fans, these were crispy, bite sized and delicious. Best way to eat them? With the leftover creamy bean sauce!

3rd: Lamb Sweetbreads in RosemaryIMG_0449

As you can imagine, picking a favorite thing from this meal, would be difficult. However, these sweetbreads managed to be succulent, tender, and frankly, irresistible! My last experience with sweetbreads was in middle school, and these just blew them out of the water. Let’s face it, after the first bite, I was in love. If these are on the menu again (and I hope they are, because this was one of the specials of the evening).

4th: Head on Shrimp on Garlic BreadIMG_0450

If the sweetbreads were my hypothetical favorite, then this head on shrimp garlic bread would have to be the next favorite. Slightly spicy, the garlic soaked bread practically melted in my mouth with the shrimp. Getting that “perfect bite” of just a little hint of spice, a bit of shrimp and the crusty bread doused in olive oil was one of my foodie heaven moments of the night. I’ve never had anything quite like this before, and I suspect I never will again.

5th: Deconstructed Carrot CakeIMG_0451

And finally, the last thing from our meal: dessert. It’s a take on a classic, twisted and remade into something light, airy and just a little bit crunchy. The cake was moist, and topped with lemon gelato, giving it just enough zing. The carrots were soft, making them an ideal complement to the nuts on the side. So when you put it all together, it was carrot cake, but so much better. Deconstructed desserts have always fascinated me, and I think this is one that people are going to enjoy, and come back for.

As for me, you can find me eating the sweetbreads, the shrimp, or trying out their happy hour during the week.