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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Abilene Restaurant Review ~ Portland, Maine

Full disclosure, I am about to rave about Abilene like no other. Besides their food being absolutely amazing, I had the perfect storm happen for me. Tenney invited me to visit Abilene so that she could view the space for artwork for her students. We were able to sucker ask Riley to watch the boys for us. And on top of all this goodness, Tenney drove so cocktails would be happening for me! What I am trying to say is don't think that this perfect storm had anything to do with my raving of our almost perfect meal!

We entered into an almost empty restaurant. It was a Wednesday so that probably played into the low turnout. I almost didn't want to write this review because then other people will find out about their greatness and I may have to compete for a table.

Wine and cocktails were a great start to our meal. My cocktail involved bourbon, melon, and shrub. Don't feel bad if you were wondering if there was a bushy plant in my drink like I did. I was advised that no branches were making their way into my drink but instead shrub is a mixture of fruit and vinegar. I am not sure of the exact process of making shrub but it sure was delicious.

The space was so light and airy (I know that Tenney was quite excited to display her art there). I liked that they had space between the tables so you didn't feel like you were on top of your neighbor.

Tenney started with Sherry Bacon Mussels  which had garlic, shallots, reduced sherry broth and grilled focaccia ($8). The mussels were tender and so flavorful. The bacon was plentiful and the broth was the star of this dish. I don't think Tenney would have turned down a spoon when she got to the bottom of that bowl to finish off the broth.

I started with Manchego Toast  with mushrooms, garlic, shallots and reduced sherry butter ($7). It is difficult for me to look at these pictures. I get ghost tastes of that toast in my mouth and I am tempted to jump in the car (in my pajamas) and get myself another order lickety split (stupid budget kills all my foodie dreams). I almost want to say this may be my favorite dish ever (it is a little scary to make such a bold statement). Again, it was the sauce that was the star of the dish. I am going to be dreaming of this until I can get another bite.

I really wish that licking plates in restaurants was socially acceptable in life. I tried to sop up as much sauce as I could without drawing stares of the other patrons as I scraped my fork along the plate.

For my main meal I went with Pork Belly L.T. which was crispy pork belly, shredded romaine, tomato and roasted garlic mayo on “Big Sky” old fashioned white ($9) and I also had a side of Papas Bravas which was crispy potatoes with roasted pepper aioli ($5, but I was only charged a $2 upcharge to have it as a side to my sandwich). The sandwich was the only thing that I would say was not my absolute favorite. It's not fair to the sandwich because I had just come off the Manchego Toast and the flavor couldn't just quite compete. The potatoes were fantastic and the were paired with a spicy aioli (which is a fancy way of saying I had mayo on top of my potatoes).
Tenney chose the Chicken Cutlet Marsala which was mushrooms, garlic, shallots and reduced wine sauce over fresh spinach and homemade pasta ($15). This was fabulous and I was so jealous of her choice. Next time I am there I will definitely be picking this. The sauce again was fantastic. Along with the flavorful chicken and homemade pasta this was the winner of the night (well for main dishes, my Manchego Toast was still my favorite item ordered for the night!).

Because I wasn't driving, I got to order a Bourbon Hot Chocolate served with orange flavored whip cream (which makes it extra grownup like). This was good but it was really rich and I only made it halfway through before having to give up on it. I am thinking this will be great some really cold morning when I try them out for their brunch!

Tenney and I finished off our amazing meal with their Blueberry Crumble that was served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Besides being in love with the mason jar it was served in, the taste was out of this world. I had such a difficult time stopping even though I knew I was getting past my danger point of fullness. I think next time I come I am going to eat toast and dessert!
Overall, we absolutely loved this restaurant and can't wait to find a reason to get back. I think if you are visiting Southern Maine, Abilene needs to be on your must try list (they also have an awesome happy hour Wednesday - Friday which involves drink specials and appetizers!). If you would like to try them out for yourself, they are located at 539 Deering Ave., Portland, Maine.