Street and Co. on Wharf St. in the heart of the Old Port is where I decided to go to treat my cousin, newly accepted into grad school, to celebrate her academic success. Since I’ve been on somewhat of a self-imposed food spending reduction lately, I’ve generally been going to less expensive restaurants, but having not been to Street in a few years and knowing that it was a special event, I decided it was reasonable to go a little outside the budget and the not-so-inexpensive seafood restaurant felt like the right choice.
We had early reservations which was good, because it started snowing and the roads were expected to get slippery. On the way there, the roads were already bad, but we made it safely. When we arrived, we were seated quickly, decided to pass on drinks, and took a good look at the menu. I considered everything an option, assuming that a starter of some sort and an entree would make sense. The menu wasn’t overly large, but still offered a fair number of items. There was a lone Soup along with Tastes, and Salads and Apps. The main courses were categorized by In the Pan, …With Linguine, Grilled or Blackened, and Broiled.
The ladies were leaning toward salads to start. I found the salads enticing, but wasn’t sold since there were other options. I asked them which ones they were going with to see if either interested me. Mrs. Portlandeater wanted the Organic Arugula and Endive Salad with orange segments, parmesan, toasted almonds, and meyer lemon vinaigrette, while the grad schooler went for the Seasonal Salad of caramelized organic squash, local apple, gruyere, organic greens, and pomegranate vinaigrette. I decided go simple with one of the tastes – Manchego with maple-apple sauce and candied citron. Manchego is one of my all-time favorite cheeses, so even though I’m not a huge fan of sweetened citron, I figured it had to be pretty good. Plus, I figured a taste would leave me plenty of room for any main course I chose.
Our apps were decided upon, and we got some bread and butter to nibble on, but there was still a lot of thinking to be done on our main courses. I really wanted the Lobster Diavolo, but that served two and I wasn’t looking to roll out of the restaurant that night, so I figured it would be too much. Something blackened or broiled also sounded like a decent option, but I was stuck on lobster and the only other available sea bug dinner was an “in the pan” Grilled Lobster on Linguine with butter and garlic. That was the solution to satisfy my craving. My wife decided on the Broiled Scallops and the cousin chose Scallops in pernod and cream. The waitress came shortly after our decisions were finalized and took our orders.
While waiting for food, we spoke about all things grad school, internships, summer jobs, and the like. It was a refresher course in being younger which I appreciated. I grew a few minutes older during our discussion, and then we all received our starters. The salads looked fresh and colorful, but I was more interested in my cheese. I had a triple wedge of the coagulated cow concoction. In addition, I had a relatively substantial amount of the citron and a little of the maple-apple. I tried it immediately, knowing the manchego wanted me to eat it. Eat it I did, first starting with a third of a wedge and nothing else. Man, that manchego was good. Next, I tried just a piece of the citron and it was exactly as I expected. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but it was okay. Then I tried all plate appointments together. Now that was the way to go! The cheese lightened the citrus flavor and the maple apple just added a hint of each. I was really pleased with the combination.
All the apps were well loved and we really enjoyed the food in front of us. I tried my wife’s salad and was thoroughly enamored with the meyer lemon vinaigrette. I’m not sure there’s a better dressing than a fresh lemon vin. There might be a few that are on par, but that one’s definitely up there. As we wound down on the apps, we were full of anticipation for our entrees. My wife suggested that my lobster might be an entire one split in half based on the pictures she saw online. That seemed pretty exciting and when I got the “super-special lobster eating package” of extra napkin and bowl, spoon, crackers, and seafood pick/forks, I knew that it was true.
Before too long, we had pans and plate headed in our direction. My wife got the plate and the others of us of the pans. My lobster was indeed split in half and wrapped in the pasta. The garlic was immediately noticeable in both sight and smell. The chunks of gorgeous kiss killer were hard to miss. It was going to be a lonely night, but I didn’t care. I dove into my meal, first trying to separate the loosely interwoven pasta from my clawed sea serpent. That wasn’t too difficult, but it was necessary to de-meat the lobster. The tail was very easy since it was split in half, so I started with that, leaving the meat behind and transferring the shell to my no-longer-empty discard bowl. Now I was actually ready to take some bites.
I started eating my meal with a piece of the tail meat. Tender, juicy, and sweet, the lobster was perfect. It didn’t hurt that I dipped it in the butter and garlic on the bottom of the pan. I was ready to go for the ropes of pasta next. I took my fork and my spoon, twisting and turning in a manner appropriate for public pasta consumption. Once I had fashioned a ball of the pasta on the end of my fork, I popped it in my pasta portal. The garlic had pleasantly invaded a third sense – taste. There was even more of the stuff in my pan than I had realized. In addition to being kiss free that night, it was clear that I would also be safe from vampires.
My wife and cousin seemed to love their dishes which both came with sides. I tried a broiled scallop or two and they were succulent and clearly as fresh as could be. However, I didn’t have a lot of time to try other meals since mine was still very much in front of me. As I broke into the claws, it started to become a very messy situation and I needed my extra napkin continuously. The cracking and picking produced buttery, garlicky, lobstery hands. As time went on, everyone else finished and I was still working hard. As I neared the end, I started sweating. It was just another day in the life of a Portland food blogger.
When all the lobster and pasta was gone, there were a few large spoonfuls of garlic left in the pan. I was certain the smell of it was already seeping through my pores, so I wasn’t going to eat any more. I also felt if would be embarrassing to ask to take it home so I could make a chicken recipe with it. The garlic was staying behind. We all were through with our food at that point and felt like champions. I was proud of our crew of three who put in a good performance that night. We considered dessert, but nothing piqued our interest and we decided to call it quits.
Street and Co. really wowed me this time. Their food is fantastic and their unapologetic use of garlic in my dish was a marker of greatness. From the first bites of my cheese taste to the last piece of pasta, the meal was outstanding in every way, and I didn’t hear any complaints from anyone else either. When it comes to seafood, Street doesn’t dabble in the deep fried stuff, but they’re masters of what they do on the stove top and in the oven. Their food isn’t cheap – our meal was about $143 prior to tip with no drinks at all, but the service is great and the food good enough to email home about. It’s the epitome of fresh seafood with rich, full flavor that doesn’t get too complex. I’m no autodidact polymath, but I do know a thing or two about a thing or two, and I know Street and Co. is worthy of your special occasion dinners or even regular visits. You choose. Just make sure you go.
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