Portland is home to the 6th best restaurant in the country (No, not Fore Street)

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Photo by Kari Herer

Take a bow Central Provisions. You’ve only been open six months and Bon Appetit just declared you the sixth best bistro in the country. We like the symmetry this Old Port restaurant imparts and are kicking ourselves that our plans to dine here last week fell through.

The foodie publication singled out the newcomer for chef Christopher Gould’s crudo. The raw fish dish that’s caressing national palates is the new steak tartare. “Nowhere did I see a more inspired embodiment of this trend than at Central Provisions,” wrote Bon Appetit writer Andrew Knowlton. “Yellowfin tuna with radish, sesame seeds, tangy mustard-soy vinaigrette, and slivers of fried shallots in what eats like a spicy tuna roll (minus the rice). Paper-thin slices of fluke get a boost of heat from peppery piri-piri sauce, micro-cilantro, and a hint of lime.”

You want scallops? He waxed on, calling Gould’s “barely warmed in rich brown butter and then showered with toasted hazelnuts for crunch — an unforgettable ode to trout amandine.”

Did someone say orgasmic? Gould’s creative plating reflects his Ken Oringer training (see Boston’s Clio) and belongs behind glass at the Portland Museum of Art.

Central Provisions, Portland, Maine

Sea bream ceviche with kumquat, rhubarb, and puffed rice.

Reached by telephone this morning his wife and Central Provisions co-owner Paige Gould was buoyed by making The Hot 10.

“We are happy to be where we are; all we ever wanted to do is make some good food and strong drink,” said Paige. “It’s fantastic that a national publication honored us with such accolades. But we are getting the same response right here in Portland.”

Located on foodie row, Fore Street, is Central Provisions the new Portland must-dine?

Though we heart chef Sam Hayward, it would be refreshing if another stalwart rose to his Fore Street star-studded status. Central Provisions, you are it. (Their no reservations policy means it will be SRO from now until the snow flies).

central prov

Central Provision owners Christopher and Paige Gould. Photo by Troy Bennett.

While in town, the scribe enjoyed a Fernet Branca, “an intensely bitter Italian digestive,” at the ultra stylish Portland Hunt and Alpine Club a few blocks away. It was intense enough to make his Five Best New Cocktail Bars in America List. This Market Street drink shop is not even a year old and is kicking ass and taking names. Cheers all!

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.