Ebb & Flow brings a rush of Mediterranean excitement to Commercial Street.
So is the food. Who doesn’t savor Mediterranean flair, including some old favorite meze like taramasalata (whipped roe, almond milk, $7) and melitzanosalata (a Greek dip of roasted eggplant, $7)?
And what could be more appropriate than the specialty cocktail of the evening, the Ananas Xini? It’s a brilliant mix of ouzo, vodka, fresh pineapple, honey, and rosemary.
Lamb keftedakia ($10) makes a good beginning. Perfectly seared, house-ground lamb is shaped into three patties that display a pleasant pinkness within and sing with flavors of fresh herbs and the tender meat. The secret is “our custom, 1,000-degree Beech hearth oven,” chef William D’Auvray later says. He also makes Greek loukaniko sausage with the excellent lamb.
We relish the zucchini fritters, three mounds of ground vegetable and herbs fried to a perfect golden crunch and served on a tasty yogurt, mint, and olive oil sauce.
Then there’s the house-made pita bread. “I make the dough, and it’s rolled to order and baked in the Beech oven. Each one takes about 60 seconds to puff up,” says D’Auvray. Superb even in its scent–topped with olive oil and a dusting of zataar–its flavors delight, blending well with our Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon ($38). The bread alone is worth a visit.
We’re excited to order Cioppino, a dish fea-turing “Northeast coast catch” ($28), since co-owner Angelo Ciocci has owned Nova Seafood for over 20 years. Here it’s served with a huge shrimp–a Spanish interloper among the natives–towering over a pretty white bowl filled to the brim with littleneck clams, mussels, scallops, and tasty hake. The saffron-scented broth we find a tad salty, but all the ingredients are of top quality.
A special of tomato-braised veal short ribs follows ($18). The fork-tender meat, melt-in-your-mouth cippoline onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and parsnips are splendid.
Next time, we’ll save room for the galaktaboureko, my favorite Greek dessert and another delightful surprise from chef D’Auvray.
>> Ebb & Flow, 100 Commercial Street, Portland. 5-10 p.m.,
Mon.-Thurs.; 5-11 p.m., Sat. 780-0227. ebbandflowme.com