Saturday up north and back for Portland play again. We escaped Old Port to do a late din up atop the hill (it’s all downhill from here). A ramen place with a kickin’ tap list, ‘cause that happens all the time. I must admit this is a first for me. Every time I think I’ve seen it all...
Long narrow place with a sea of seating up front and a bar piece greeting you seating 4, and then seating for 9 more on a spur further down fronting the kitchen space. I’m sure it’s that way; we’re seated down there and I’m pretty much nose to nose with a guy cooking or doing prep or something. We’re looking in on kitchenings animated, I can see things on burners being shuffled around.
12 tap tower with non descript handles on the bar up front. The barback wall of fitted brickings holds 3 rows of shelved booze & glassware, and the far wall’s of brick, as well. Slab floor and a dark ceiling with ductwork and wide giant aluminum ribbons crisscrossing and winding the length. Drop single spots over the barback & kitchen; more of the same but lower over the bar and adjacent seating. Large single window up front. Jars with spices lining the back sill, lightest to darkest. A dozen+ shorty tables up front on shared benchings and not, and then a half dozen 2-seat hightops running the far wall all the way to the rear.
Tonight is a winter solstice ‘Blackout’ event (black beer for the darkest day of the year), very aptly named. 12 taps, 7 of them Maine offerings (Oxbow Freestyle #18 Spelt Porter, Marshall Wharf Pemaquid Oyster Stout, Maine Mean Old Tom, Rising Tide Polaris, Gneiss Cenozoic, In’Finiti Barrel Aged Imperial Porter, Bunker Trashmaster), the remainder mostly American craft (Founders Porter, Stillwater Existent, Sierra Nevada Narwhal, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout), and a single import (Thornbridge St Petersburg Imperial Stout). I drank the Oxbow Freestyle #18 Spelt Porter & Marshall Wharf Pemaquid Oyster Stout.
+ a baker’s dozen bottles & cans; imports (2 vintages of lovely Orval, the 2013 for $8 & 2012 for $9, Tilquin Gueuze, Saison Dupont, Ayinger Celebrator, Carnegie Porter), craft (Marshall Wharf Sexy Chaos, Maine Peeper, Oxbow BA Farmhouse Pale Ale & Stillbow Oxtisanal, Stillwater Premium), this (Narragansett Lager), a cider (Uff Dry Cidah), and an N/A (St Pauli N/A).
And there was food. We split the pork gyoza (dumplings) ‘cause sooomebody doesn’t go shrimp or seafood proper (Witzel fun fact #23), and then I had the paitan ramen (mmm, pork belly), while Witz went with beef ramen, which he deemed ‘lovely’.
Revisited 4 months out, in the rain with a primer next door… 12 taps in the light of darkness day, 8 of them Maine offerings (Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale & Bandolier, Maine Mo, Allagash Confluence & Odyssey, Marshall Wharf Phil Brown Ale, In’Finiti Wolf Neck Rye, Banded Horn Pepperell Pilsner), the remainder a split of American craft (Lagunitas Sucks, Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial), and imports (Kirin Ichiban, St. Bernardus Witbier). I drank the Oxbow Bandolier & Marshall Wharf Phil Brown Ale.
I am sooo due a good meal on the heels of way too much BBQ in Vermont. We be fooding crazy. Started with both the shrimp & pork gyoza. Tough one, I mean the shrimp was really good but do you know where pork comes from? Fo’ real. And then the Kimchee beef ramen (as in short rib, and excellent) and a tuna sushi roll for the hell of it.
This was Fava’s recommendation, and look who just showed; it’s Oxbow, yo! Excellent drink (as in, one of the best tap lists in town), great food, and server Sarah was bubbly, fun, & giggly. Crazy! We got good tunes, too. It helps, you know, it really does (New Order, George Michael, The Cure, The Smiths). This place is good shit.