New hook for Fore Street owners: Scales opens in Portland this winter

scalesjpg

Windows on the working waterfront

In gestation for a year and a half, the return of Scales is now just weeks away. “February,” confirmed owner Dana Street on a tour of his brand spanking-new restaurant Monday.

Located on Maine Wharf, flanked by the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal and the Porthole Pub, the 8,000-square-foot restaurant is a marquee location built from the ground up. Street and co-owner Victor Leon, who also own Street and Company and Fore Street in the Old Port, are reimagining the restaurant by the same name that anchored the Portland Public Market in the early 2000’s. Sam Hayward chef/owner of Fore Street is also a partner.

“It’s new American cooking, it’s not fusion, it’s not California style … it’s not trendy,” said Street, who has hired Michael Smith from Portland’s Hugo’s, Duckfat and Ken Oringer’s Toro in Boston as his chef de cuisine. “It’s an old fashioned restaurant with an edge to it,” said Street.

scales 2 (1)

The bar where “New England’s best oysters” will be served

That edge will come in the form of remade classics.

“People want seafood harvested in New England waters and cooked in a New England style,” said Street, and he is ready to give it to us.

But not just seafood, “vegetables, meat, fish and fowl,” will strike Scales’ balance.

Fans of old Boston institutions like Durgin Park are sure to be hooked. Pot roast, brown bread, corn bread, Parker House rolls, even oyster crackers will all be made in house. Street, a Brookline, MA native, wants to restore the “peasant style,” anything goes, community dining he grew up with at rowdy places like Durgin Park. “It’s an American brasserie,” said Street, with a “19th, 20th century Boston Seaport,” vibe.

scales 4

Custom booths and giant windows anchor Scale’s open dining room.

Built with reclaimed wood, huge water-facing windows, ceramic drop lights and modern touches, the 145-seater is an urban fish house 3.0. There will also be a fish store (not built yet) and outdoor seating for another 50 diners in season. Its marine history is part of the attraction.

Street owns the rights to the boat dockage. And as owner of Upstream Trucking, a seafood wholesaler, he is keeping it real. No pleasure cruises a la Miami. Lobstermen will unload cargo as you crack claws and sip wine in this windows on the working waterfront.

Throw in bread from Standard Baking Co., which Street also owns, and it’s hard to imagine this newcomer not tipping the scales in Maine’s foodiest city.

Though much smaller than DiMillo’s, a few piers away, Scales feels ready to send a ripple in the floating restaurant’s direction.

Should you not have your sea legs, there will be valet parking. Got Valentine’s Day plans yet? See you at Scales, 68-72 Commercial St., Portland.

 

 

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.