The sausage came on a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes blended with plenty of butter and garlic. Even better was a creamy risotto that available as a side with many entrées. The rice had been cooked with restraint so that the risotto offered a bit of chew amid the richness of cream and cheese. Portions are generous but not so large you won't be tempted by desserts. A big blueberry tart was bursting with fresh little Maine berries. A silky crème brûlée was expertly executed.
As it should be at a neighborhood restaurant, the service was pleasantly casual in tone and professional in execution. Most important of all, the bill is reasonable. Thanks to the affordable wine and the many entrees $20 and under, you can get out of a nice meal at Pat's for about $50 less than what we spent at Grace recently (a place I still recommend for a splurge). Nothing disperses the heady magic of charisma, as Obama is learning, than worrying about spending and the bottom line. But such matters are central to the sustainability of institutions, and to the persistence of Pat's appeal.
Brian Duff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAFÉ AT PAT'S | 484 Stevens Ave, Portland | Tues-Sat 5:30 pm on | Visa/MC/Amex | 207.874.0706
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