Last time I reviewed Scales on Commercial St. was right after they opened. I was impressed by their food, but slightly underwhelmed by their value. Much like many of the newer restaurants in Portland, especially those in the high-rent, waterfront area, Scales was pricy, and I left with mixed feelings about the seafood purveyor. However, the quality of their offerings and beautiful location convinced me to return and give them another shot.
We called for a reservation and took one that was only 20 minutes into the future, though we did arrive a couple minutes late. We were seated right away and got down to choosing drinks. After a few moments of careful consideration, I went with a John Henry Nitro Milk Stout from Fore River Brewing in South Portland. She chose a sparkling Gruet Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Albuquerque.
My frothy stout looked heavy but drank light and had notes of chocolate and coffee. It provided the optimum food picking flavor as my wife and I worked to determine what would serve our hunger the best. We were both interested in the Fried Cauliflower – cucumber yogurt sauce, crispy shallots – so we decided to share it.
With the app picked, we both were looking at the same two main courses. The first was the Fish and Chips – beer battered cod, tartar sauce, smoked jalapeno aioli – and the second the Scales Warm Buttered Lobster Roll – mayonnaise and chives. After some discussion, I went with the lobster roll and she the fish and chips .
The cauliflower came out quickly. The fried vegetable was situated atop the sauce and the shallots scattered about. I tried a piece with a little of the yogurt concoction and was impressed. I particularly loved the lemon flavor I found. The balance of citrus and cucumber was perfect and reminded me of a cucumber lemon water in that it was particularly refreshing.
After the app was done, we had an opportunity to enjoy the scenery as lots of beautiful seafood came out and the sun bounced off the water on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Soon our food made its way to us and we were ready to eat. My plate came with fries, coleslaw, and a pickle spear. We both had lemon and a preemptively provided cup of ketchup.
Served in the traditional Maine fashion, my lobster sat on a grilled hot dog roll. The mayo was strewn across the top and the butter mixed into the lobster itself. There was enough meat in it, I felt. I took my first bite and was quite pleased. The combination of butter and mayo was a little on the decadent side, but neither was excessive, so it felt right. I prefer my lobster rolls a little different than most foods I eat; I like them simple, because I want to experience the seafood flavor as much as possible. This one allowed that to happen.
Once I tried a couple glorious bites of roll, I moved on to the slaw. It had some mild purple onion flavor, and though it was more onion tinged than any I’d had before, but I thought it was great. Next, I worked on the fries which I found to be very crisp and tasty. I was pleasantly surprised by my sandwich sides. Both hit the mark.
As Mrs. Portlandeater ate her food, I had the good fortune to snag a piece from her. The battered white fish was excellent and the sauces were quite good too. I favored the tartar sauce for the sea creature, but felt confident that the aioli would have gone well with many other seafood dishes too. It was a solid offering to be sure.
Our main courses were done and I was in for dessert if anything piqued my interest. Our plates were taken away and then the dessert menu provided to us moments later. I didn’t remember any in recent memory that looked so appealing. There was hardly one I didn’t want to try, including a number of frappes that looked worthy of an order.
While the entire menu of sweets looked promising, I finally decided on two that had me drooling at just the thought of sending a bite in the direction of my dessert hole. I thought the Fromage Blanc Cheesecake – rhubarb, lemon curd, honeycomb, graham crust – was a sure winner since rhubarb and cheese are two of my faves. Unfortunately for the cheesecake, peanut butter is my main squeeze and the menu offered Peanut Butter Semifreddo – flourless chocolate cake caramel, vanilla whip. Semifreddo it was.
When my grand finale arrived, I was excited to investigate its level of true peanut butteryness. The semifreddo sat in a smear of caramel and next to the vanilla whip. Both were topped with some candied nuts. I cut into the partially frozen, chocolate covered treat which revealed both the cake and semifreddo portions. The flavors took me on a ride with a little chocolate first and then a blast of peanut butter providing just what I was looking for.
A few bites into our last course, we agreed that it was one of the best peanut butter desserts we’d had. And since it’s my favorite, it’s safe to say I could be considered a connoisseur of such decadent delicacies. We finished it and sat back in our seats as satisfied customers. Our final tab came to about 90 bucks before tip. We paid and made our way out.
This trip to Scales made me a believer. I left feeling full and like I got my money’s worth. Not only that, but the food was really, really good. The app was excellent, the lobster roll delivered everything I expected, and the dessert was deadly delicious. I can’t wait to go back now, knowing that I can go very hungry and still leave happy. Definitely stop by this summer when their water views will create some of the best eating scenery available anywhere.
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