Street Cred

Portland has been all over the national food press lately — the October issue of Bon Appetit calls it America's Foodiest Small Town, and the word on the street is that Julia Moskin of The New York Times will also do a writeup.

Our own late-breaking Portland food story is far less prestigious and completely embarrassing.

You've gotta love family.

A few weeks ago, at The Maven's sister's wedding, Auntie Marie came up to us with a big grin on her face and a sly look in her eye.

"I did a little name-dropping last night," she told us, conspirationally.

"Huh?" we said in unison, totally clueless.

"Yeah, thanks to Maine Maven, we got a table at Street and Co." she said. "I told them I just had to come because my niece, The Maine Maven, gave them such a glowing review. Hadn't they read it?"

The answer, of course, was no, because we have never reviewed Street and Co. And either way, we were totally mortified. Hell, we don't even drop our own names (even if we did, we're not sure it would do much good). But they got the table — we're guessing this has more to do with the fact that we have friends who work there and that they really did, in fact, have a two-top free at 5:30 on a Friday in August.

Auntie Marie and Uncle Mike live in Massachusetts. They love Portland. To be fair, we did talk up Street and Co., the city's seafood stalwart, when they asked for a restaurant recommendation a few years back. We thought the cozy atmosphere, outdoor seating and sizzling pans of whole fish would knock their socks off.

Clearly, we were right.

We're much more fond of the tastes, cold plates and appetizers than we are of the whole fish meals, in part because we have regular access to a mind-boggling array of just-caught seafood. Simply prepared fresh fish isn't a novelty for us, but we totally understand the allure of blackened salmon over fresh gazpacho or a grilled lobster over linguine with garlic.

Still, we crave the shaved fennel salad, which we can't seem to replicate at home. We dream of crab-stuffed piquillo peppers. We can still taste roasted beets with romesco. We could easily drop $100 on appetizers alone and be content. And full.

No, Street and Co. isn't the newest player on Portland's food stage. Nor is it the hippest or the showiest. But it remains one of the city's most beloved restaurants and — as Marie and Mike will tell you — one of the best for seafood.

Just don't tell them we sent you.

Street and Co. is located at 33 Wharf St. in Portland's Old Port. For information, click here.


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