If you’re thinking this is an “inspirational” post, surprise! It’s not. It’s a restaurant review.
Grace. Yes, that’s the name of the restaurant I visited last weekend in Portland, ME. And it’s appropriate since the venue is a circa 1856 Methodist church. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few surviving examples of work by the architect Charles Alexander, who was very popular in Portland in the 1850s and 1860s.
The goal, according to the restaurant’s website, was to keep the integrity of the church’s design and history. They did it with original pews along each side of the downstairs seating, the pulpit transformed into the host stand, grates from the floor mounted to the upstairs bar and coal chutes converted into wine cellars.
Both the logo and bar design were inspired by the triquerta shaped stained glass windows at the top of each staircase. The bar’s concept was developed in Colorado by Tivi Design and shipped to Maine for final construction.
Grace Restaurant offers a first rate menu in an intimate yet wide open atmosphere featuring high ceilings and stained glass windows streaming in the fall light. It truly blended the restoration of the historic church to it’s original beauty while creating a modern interior that both complemented the sculptural details of the church and reflected the innovative cuisine.
The focal point downstairs is the spacious bar and, although you can’t see the food being prepared, the elevated kitchen adds an interesting element. You can’t help but wait for the delicacies to come out.
I chose the Bresaola appetizer served with sweet and hearty dollops of fig sauce and horseradish surrounded by mini pickled delicate veggies on a literal piece of slate. I followed with an ample serving of Grilled Short Ribs with a side of a Twice Baked Maine Potato. I capped off the meal with an Apple Turnover bathed in aged cheddar cheese and cider infused ice cream.
Grace is definitely costlier than your neighborhood restaurant, but not obscenely costly … especially considering the portion size and ambiance. So, if you’re in Portland and looking for that “special” place, try Grace. You won’t be disappointed.
Details are at https://www.restaurantgrace.com/
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. — Chinese Proverb