Nosh: Porky Goodness
Nosh Kitchen Bar, 551 Congress St., Portland, ME.
You're going to love or hate this place - I don't see much of an in between. Me? I love it. Nosh may have what has become my favorite sandwich in Maine: The Pig Belly Reuben. The pork belly was slow cooked and had "Sunday afternoon comfort food" written all over it. There was enough meat on the sandwich to feed a small family. The pork is smothered with carmelized onions, a perfectly melted cheddar "glue" and a slather of Russian dressing all piled between perfectly grilled rye. I could instantly see this enormous was going to be one beautiful mess to eat and as I had an appointment shortly aterwards opted to go the knife and fork route rather than risk wearing half of it home. The first bite had my leg shaking like an excited dog and I couldn't stop smiling. The combination of flavors all complimented the pork in the best of all possible ways.
The bacon dusted fries (served in a cool little galvanized bucket) were perfection, but also too enormous a portion for one for one (of all things to complain about, too much good food makes almost no sense). The "dust" giving a strong bacon flavor that made the accompanying dipping sauce (several options are offered) almost unnecessary. I chose the Romesco sauce and it was tasty enough to coax me into dipping more than a few of the perfectly crisped fries into its pumpkin-hued deliciousness. They should somehow figure out how to deliver these bits of heaven late night to bars and midnight movie parties. I don't want to complicate things for Nosh, but for only a couple of bucks less, I would have gladly have had HALF the portion I received - and maybe splurged on another "bite" or two from the tapas-like menu.
I have heard stories about the unfriendliness/inattentiveness of the staff and can only scratch my head and wonder why. I was graciously met almost as soon as I walked through the door. Dining alone, I opted for the bar (a great selection of beer specials - as well as well stocked liquor choices) and chatted nicely with the bartender and the waitress on duty (it was crowded, but not packed). My food arrived quickly, and after a few bites, the chef approached me to see how everything was (he could tell I was happy since I was probably glowing) and offered that the pig belly is his favorite thing on the menu. It shows. I look forward to returning. Often.