Ebb and Flow

IMG_1676100 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine

Ebb & Flow was one of a slew of new restaurants to open this past winter. It occupies the space on Commercial Street that was formerly the home of Spread, a happy hour spot were sad to see go. Yet we were excited to see what the new owners would do with the space.

Happy hour was from 4-6pm Monday through Thursday so it took us a few weeks till we could all get together, but there’s no better way to observe a Monday holiday than by checking out a new happy hour.  They recently expanded happy hour to Friday, which earns hearty cheers from us and we’ll be sure to return when the patio area is open. The specials are some of the best around with $3 off glasses of wine, $2 off drafts, and a $5 well cocktails. They also have a featured cocktail on special. Then there are the tapas. Usually with happy hour they bring out tapas or a small bite free! Our first visit we had warm cherry tomatoes with parmesan, sugar beets with goat cheese drizzled with olive oil, warm shishito peppers, and crispy prosciutto with stewed figs and balsamic. They were all amazing. The peppers in particular were a revelation. Normally I’m not a fan of peppers but I’m game to try things at least once. These were delicious! They taste fresh and green, almost a pea like flavor rather than a pepper flavor. So good and I can’t wait to get them again!

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For drinks we ordered up glasses of wine. Normally they are priced between $7 and $8 so with $3 off you can get a great glass of wine for a great price. The Albarino from Spain was particularly good. Crisp with just a hint of sour.

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One great thing we loved about Spread was the large, semi circular bar so we were really excited Ebb and Flow kept it while updating to their own style. It makes the space feel open and inviting while at the same time allowing for comfortable conversation with friends. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. They are happy to explain what’s on your plate or help you choose the best drink for you.

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We liked the happy hour at Ebb and Flow so much, that we’ve already been back before getting this review done. The second visit just proved that it was no fluke. Delicious wines and free bites, albeit not quite as plentiful as the first time, make for an enjoyable happy hour. This time we were given a bite of brie topped with compote and a small basil leaf. 

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We definitely recommend checking out happy hour at Ebb and Flow. They’ve got a special to please any palate. It’s nice to add to the places around town to be able to get a nicer glass of wine for a great price. We’ve got nothing against a good house wine, but we like to change it up. It’s a great place to meet friends or colleagues, take family, or meet up with someone special. In all seasons Commercial Street is a busy place, even more so with the coming tourist seasons so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time if you need to park.

Eve’s At The Garden

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Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore Street, Portland, Maine.

Eve’s at the Garden, the restaurant and bar of the Portland Harbor Hotel, gets a pretty good repuation as the host of the annual Ice Bar event and for having a lovely courtyard to eat and drink in the in the summer months secluded from the traffic of the Old Port. They are also a generally cozy spot to take refuge on a chilly evening so we decided to head on over for our weekly happy hour outing.

Upon arriving we discovered that the bar area was pretty busy and when we told the hostess that there would be six of us, she looked a little nervous. We ended up having to sit in the dining area as everyplace in the bar is set for a 2-4 people except the couches that face each other, which were unfortunately full. Still, we decided that happy hour in the dining area was much better than no happy hour at all.  Specials encompass $5 select martinis, $4 house wines, and $2-3 select beers. Both the wine and beer specials change regularly so calling ahead may be in order if you are particular. That evening the specials were: the house white was a chardonnay, the red a cabernet, and the featured beers were Seadog Blueberry and Shipyard Gingerbread Head. Hours for happy hour are Monday РFriday form 4-7pm which is a generous option.

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Diving into the $5 martinis I ordered up a Jim Beam Manhattan which was delicious and potent. The perfect thing to warm me up on a very cold night. After that I switched gears to try the Sugar n’ Spice White Russian which was creamy and delicious and a welcome twist on a familiar classic. ¬†I absolutely recommend you try one.

Jim Beam Martini
Jim Beam Manhattan
Sugar n' Spice Martini
Sugar n’ Spice White Russian

We took the precaution of calling earlier in the day to check on specials and were told that there were also specials on the bar food but when we got there there was no mention of them. We asked our server and was informed that they do not offer food specials for happy hour and never had. When we told them we had been told on the phone earlier that they did have them, we were told again that, no, that person was wrong. Disappointed but hungry we decided to order food anyway. The adventurous among us decided to try the Garbanzo fries, which turned out to be rectangular slices of mashed chickpeas, deep fried, and served with a tapenade aioli. The texture was interesting with a crunch outside and a creamy interior, but still, the slices were a little large and definitely bland without the accompanying dip.

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To add something a little heartier to our meal we also got the House Ground Sirloin Sliders. These were presented interestingly under an umbrella of lettuce, sheltering the pickle perched atop the slider. They were tasty, but only come two to a plate, which at a price point of $12, breaks down to $6 per slider. No sides.

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Overall, we left a bit disappointed in our time at Eve’s. We have previously enjoyed beverages there with great service but this left much to be desired. Next time we’ll stick to drinks and go elsewhere for food.