Before we drove on down to Portland, Maine, we did a bit of homework and had read that the Eventide Oyster Co. was the place to eat. As it turns out, this was one time where the hype was very well-earned.
When we arrived, the place was pretty packed, with no seats available. People were lined up out the front, and some were definitely giving up on waiting. We got in as one of these groups left, and were promptly told that the wait would be about 90 minutes. Lovely.
However, we did eye a spot right next to the fresh oyster bar that seemed unoccupied. We asked if standing and eating there were a possibility, and it was! So, in we went, beating a 90 minute wait (so, yeah, if you don’t want to wait and don’t mind eating while standing, ask for a standing spot 🙂 ).
We were then promptly served by an enthusiastic waiter who answered all our questions about the menu (we had a few, since we weren’t quite sure what to make of the available dishes). After a fair bit of thought, we got four things: A fish sandwich, deep-fried oysters, a scallop waffle-yaki, and the peekytoe crab roll.
Oh, were they ever delightful…
So let’s start with the fish sandwich. It came on its own, with no sides. But that’s more than okay! The sandwich was thick through and through. The bun was moist and soft, and it encased a thick, juicy fried battered piece of fish.
It’s one of those sandwiches that you just know is going to fall apart in the eating, but it’s worth the messiness because every bite is just chock full of flavour. The fish was tender and the batter was well-salted, and the whole thing made for a great starter for we hungry travellers!
We really weren’t sure what to expect with the scallop waffle-yaki – we just knew that the dish sounded interesting because it had Japanese elements. And it was! When the waffle arrived, we found fresh, super soft and tender scallops had been sprinkled on top of it, alongside scallions, onions, bonito flakes, bacon, and eel sauce that tasted like a cross between teriyaki and ginger. The whole ensemble was just a biiiit too salty, but still, it was really tasty! It certainly wasn’t something we’d ever had before.
The fried oysters were heavenly. Each oyster was super fresh, and its natural flavour wasn’t overcome by the batter or the deep frying. Every bite was a perfect little meld of oyster and bread crumb and seasoning. Pity we finished them so quickly…
Last but not least was the best thing we tried here: The peekytoe crab roll. Lordy, neither of us had ever, ever tasted crab this fresh or this good. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but everything about this roll was perfect:
Just the bread along was impressive – it was super fresh and soft and springy. Eating it plain would’ve been a treat! But then, spooned on top of that is flaked crab meat that’s well-drenched in lime and yuzu kosho mayo. The crab had a texture that was at once smooth and flaky, and its taste was everything we’d ever imagined crab should taste like! And then, on top of that, the sauces were an immaculate blend of tart and spicy and salty, all in perfect measure. It took effort to savour each bite slowly, and we definitely could have eaten nothing but this crab roll for days…
To conclude: If you’re visiting Portland, Maine, do make sure you pay the Eventide Oyster Co. a visit (unless, of course, you have seafood allergies). It’s worthwhile, happy eating, and we’re really not sure where else you’ll find crab or oysters this tasty!
Where to find the Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland (not in Boston!)
Address: 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Phone: +1 207-774-8538