I live nearby and know the history of this restaurant, from the time it first opened to the place it is today. The original owner was one of the best chefs for seafood that you could ever hope for and packed his house most nights. At the top of its popularity it was sold and rather than maintain the high quality product the new owner tried to cut corners and its reputation suffered. Now we have the present owner who has recaptured not only the idea of high quality food but holds the price line at a fair level.
The interior is still a step backwards to 1950 or so with formica topped tables with chrome edges and matching chairs. And, from the outside it still presents the same face to Lombard that it did when it first opened. I suspect some folks pass it on by without a second look, but that is fine with me as it remains a hidden jewel of N. Portland cuisine and still accessible to the neighbors and those of you that read these reviews.
I doubt you will find, or order, a dish on the menu that will not totally please you. However, with that broad endorsement comes a couple of suggestions. The clam chowder has large pieces of clams so you can chew a bit on your chowder. I am a fan of dumping in lots of oyster crackers and this time I like the chowder so well I skipped the salt kick from the crackers - although they were served with the chowder and I didn't have to ask for them. (nice!) I prefer my chowder to be a bit thinner, and while very creamy and not filled with potatoes, this is a very thick version.
My only complaint was with the greens served with the scallop dinner. They were literally covered in red pepper flakes and burned. A tiny bit of those goes a long way, so ask your server to omit them from your dinner. Also, order scallops on the dinner menu. If you order ala carte you get the small scallops (nickle sized) and the dinner serving is silver dollar sized scallops and about 7 of them.
While it is a premier seafood restaurant, you can also order a hamburger, salads, and desserts.
Thinking of fish for dinner tonight? Don't miss this restaurant, but save a table for the neighbors!
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