FOOD — TASTE APLENTY Pom’s Noodle House’s duck soup.
BEST UPSCALE DISH
The refry got a bad reputation due to its effect on beans (and due to the beans' effect on you). But in other contexts a second dip in the grease is advisable. This is the secret behind Duckfat's french fries, as well as our city's best upscale dish of the decade, the SOLE FRANCAISE AT STREET AND CO. It is one of the strengths of Portland's upscale restaurants that dishes tend to come and go with the season, but thank god this entrée is always available. Breaded and egged, the fish is seared in oil, then re-seared in butter for a lovely color and texture, and served on its hot platter with a vegetable. The result, somehow both light and delicate while butter-rich, is transcendent. Honorable mention: Emilitsa's lamb three ways.
BEST AFFORDABLE DISH
It is winter, and soup is starting to look pretty good. But some soups are good enough to transcend mere seasonal appeal. One is the creamy, yolky, silky, rich-red tofu "stew" at Happy Teriyaki. Even better is the dark and complex DUCK SOUP AT POM'S NOODLE HOUSE. It should be ordered with the tangy-hot five-spice broth, with its flavors of cinnamon and anise, and the toothsome fat noodles. There is more sliced duck — broth-soaked but still crispy — than you get with most entrées at upscale restaurants. The huge fried won-ton offers a fun way to fish out some green vegetables and bean sprouts.
DEARLY DEPARTED DISH
FRIED CLAMS AND SCALLOPS AT SCALES. The toughest part of seeing the old Portland Public Market go under was the passing of Scales. It was Fore Street-level expertise applied to lobster-shack cuisine. The result was tender, juicy seafood in gorgeous brown breading with just the right amount of grease. With local beer on tap, a casual and elegant space, and great people-watching at the market, it was one of Portland's best spots.
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