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Sunday, May 31, 2015

SOPO Bar & Grill Review ~ South Portland, Maine

This past Friday, I had a Groupon burning a hole in my pocket (well technically it was on my iPhone App and I just bought it on Thursday so I am not quite sure what the rush was). I had been eying this Groupon deal for awhile now and on Thursday it was National Burger Day and they were offering an extra 39% off this deal so how could I not buy it? For $46 I was able to get the deal for 4 people which included 4 cocktails, 2 appetizers, and 4 entrees at SOPO Bar and Grill (since it was Tenney and I bringing the two boys, guess which people in the group got to enjoy those cocktails!).

We arrived later than we normally would take the boys to dinner but they were champs throughout the whole meal. The parking lot was hopping so we were pretty excited heading in. It's always a good indication you are about to have a tasty meal when a parking lot is full.

There are 3 entrances into the restaurant although each seems to serve it's own function. The door furthest to the left is serving deli sandwiches and while it has tables it looks like they have a pretty good to go business going on. The door in the middle is their bar/pub area. The last door to the right is the restaurant which also houses their second bar. The pub and restaurant offer a walk-thru so if you go into the wrong door, no worries you can easily get to the other section.

The waiting area is large and offers plenty of benches to sit on while waiting (there is nothing worse than waiting 20 minutes for a table while you are awkwardly trying to not have your but in another patrons face while standing there). We put our names in and our wait was just long enough to allow people to use the restroom (rumor is there is a television in the bathroom...I don't have documented proof but it is from a reliable source...aka Tenney). The hostess working was super sweet and chatted up the boys while we were waiting.

We were brought to our table and we settled into our wait for the waitress to come out and greet us. It turned out to be about a 15-20 minute wait until the waitress made it to us. In fact, I had to go check with the hostess stand to make sure someone knew we were sitting there. We found out later that it was our waitress's first day alone serving and she was as nice as can be. She more than made up for us having a longish wait to be greeted. She went above an beyond to make sure we were taken care of and would make sure all of our questions were answered. She was wonderfully engaging with the boys and she made our visit there pretty awesome!

We got our drink orders in and they were out lickety-split (I love that saying...I need to start using it more).

The boys went with Root Beer (it's got the word beer in it, so its like a cocktail for kids!). We had water all around (did you see those fancy glasses? We were slightly nervous when the boys even looked at the glasses. We survived the dinner with no tears (from the boys...I can't promise anything from the mothers) and no broken glasses. Tenney went with a Sauvignon Blanc (New Harbor from Australia...$8). She absolutely loved this wine and in fact she ordered a second glass of this for her second cocktail. I started with the Lemon Drop Martini ($8). It is everything I ask for in a Lemon Drop. It was sweet with a little tartness and just enough alcohol to leave me feeling pretty good after drinking it.

This bread was delicious and we loved the butter spread that was served with it (too bad there were other people at my table and other patrons because I may or may not have contemplated sticking my finger in the little butter pot and scraping the remainder right into my mouth....oh well there will always be a next time). The bread was crusty and served piping hot. I think we inhaled that bread before the waitress had a chance to fully finish placing it on the table. We also were impressed about the fake newspaper it was served in (it's all about the little details, you know?).

Our first appetizer choice were the Mussels ($8.95) what was served in a white wine, tomato, and garlic bread along with bread. Gabrian is a huge fan of mussels and I think that Tenney and I were able to get one each before Gabrian had wolfed down the rest of those bad boys (that's ok because I am all about the delicious sea infused broth. We asked for extra bread so we could soak up all that goodness). If you like seafood than this is the dish for you!

Our second appetizer was the Calamari ($7.95) which is tossed in shaved Parmesan and pickled peppers, with a lemon remoulade. Tenney and I even got a few bites of this one before Emmett discovered it and we lost out again (I like to think the boys know I am doing Weight Watchers and want to help me out on my point more points for cocktails!). This was perfectly seasoned (nothing worse when they forget to salt the batter) and the sauce was perfect to dip those wonderfully tender baby octopuses (Don't tell Emmett...we may have passed it off as chicken...just kidding we would never lie to him, we just ignored all his questions and once he started eating this deliciousness he could care less what he had in his mouth).

For my second cocktail I decided to shake it up and went for the Prickly Pear Margarita ($9). Another glass of tastiness for my taste buds. It was sweeter than I was expecting but when I licked the glass (oops...I mean sipped from the glass), the salt balanced out the sweetness. Plus it is such a fun color, who wouldn't want to drink this?

The boys were good at entertaining themselves in between the courses. Smart move SOPO Bar & Grill...putting battery operated candles on the table. The boys could have easily spent hours trying to blow out those candles. Do you think we should have told them they weren't real? Nah...than Tenney and I wouldn't have had any entertainment! 

Emmett's meal was by and far the most impressive looking meal that was ordered (geez...these kids are never going to accept kid's meal after this night). He had the Braised Short Rib ($21.95) with roasted onions and beef au jus. It also came with fingerling potatoes and green beans. This became known at our table as the dinosaur bone meal (Emmett actually brought that bone home with him and I think Gabrian was burning up with jealousy over that). We can't sing this dish enough praises. Everything on that plate was just plain awesome. It was garlicky and tender and just a party in Emmett's mouth (and the mouths of Tenney and myself whenever something may have fallen in). I feel like angels are singing to me when I am looking at this plate.

Gabrian had the Grilled 12-oz Sirloin ($22.95) with a bourbon roasted garlic demi-glace. This also came with fingerling potatoes and green beans. This was another winner in our books. The steak was cooked perfectly (we had requested it medium-well...I know the true steak lovers are slowly dying inside when they hear about this...what can I say, we like our cow to be dead). Gabrian, who if you remember just polished off an entire bowl of mussels, was also able to eat about 3/4 of this steak. He is a true carnivore and couldn't shovel this in fast enough. If you like steak, you need to order this dish.

Tenney and I couldn't help ourselves and we had to order the same dish. We both went with Cider Broiled Scallops ($21.95) served with shallots, pork belly, roasted potatoes, and asparagus. We totally made the right decision to get this. We are scallops #1 fans (we are thinking about starting a fan club...want to join? There will be a super secret password and everything....password is SCALLOPS. Oops, I'm not so great with the secret thing). We couldn't decide what we loved more on this dish. Obviously we loved the scallops, but then you have the plate lick worthy cider glaze and that is competing with the bigger, better version of bacon...aka pork belly. The asparagus and potatoes weren't too shabby either. The chef here clearly loves garlic, which is super fortunate for me because I also love to eat garlic (we should probably get married...two garlic lovers unite over our love of garlic! I kid...significant other of the chef please do not hurt me, I promise no moves will be made on the chef!).

While Emmett attempted to put a dent in his Dinosaur Bone (Short you see Tenney secretly hoping that some of that short rib falls into her mouth by accidentally on purpose). Gabrian fell into a deep food coma and decided that my purse would work for a pillow (desperate times call for desperate measures).

On our way out, I snapped a few more pictures. We are totally going to suck up to the hostess next time to get that Hollywood Table (we like to pretend we are important).

We absolutely loved every last bite of our meal. We are excited to try out those delicious sounding sandwiches on their menu (which falls more into line with our normal budget when eating out). I think you would be absolutely foolish to not give them a chance if you are in the South Portland area (in fact if you are in Maine or New Hampshire area you should try to make a trip here). If you would like to try SOPO Bar & Grill out for yourself, they are located at 740 Broadway, South Portland, Maine.