sonny’s in portland made me put half the menu in my face.

So, I’m not a food critic. This isn’t a food review or a restaurant critique. It’s just pure excitement, oozing from my veins, while sitting here the morning after feeling a little fat and happy. It’s almost like I went on a first date and all my expectations were exceeded. (Even though I don’t date anymore, because I’m married, thank God.)

My husband and I always have difficulty finding a place to eat that we both agree on. And I will take full responsibility for that. I cook a lot of really wonderful food right here in my home and not to sound like a snob but I think most of the time, I do it better. For me, eating out should be a full circle experience. Not only should the food be great but the service and atmosphere should also make you feel wonderful. We are still in the beginning phases of discovering Portland, we have two young kids and that makes it difficult, but there have been some really fantastic hits and some really terrible misses. Last night, was beyond a hit, it was an orchestra.

When I walked into Sonny’s I was terribly excited. Just the feel of the place was correct. The hostess greeted us with a smile and directly in front of me I saw two very hip parents having a beer on the couches with their child. It made me feel instantly welcome because I could tell this place, as hip as it was, catered to everyone. The bar, which is on the right, had an antique but trendy feel to it with pieces still remaining from the bank it once was. The vaulted doors in the wall, opened up to a wine room that I would love to move into. The bartender was immediate in his response, friendly and quite charming with his white apron. He served us the most incredible drinks I have had in a long time which were hard to choose considering how extensive and creative their cocktail menu actually is. Behind the bar were six to eight jars housing all sorts of different infusions. Grilled pineapple vodka. jalapeno and strawberry vodka. Yum. We had arrived an hour before our reservation but were more than happy to hang out. The vibe was great, even with the slightly annoying guy drinking beer out of someone’s shoe. Yea, that happened.

Once we sat down we were greeted by a waitress who is not only passionate about this place but had the best demeanor with the fastest service. She took our order and before we knew it, food was arriving on the table.

We ordered the following (don’t judge): shredded pork tacos with homemade “nacho cheese”, the empanada of the day, a caesar salad with anchovies, the tamal, island curry lamb pot pie and the braised brisket enchilada, oh and for dessert, two cappuccinos and this chocolate anglaise thing with a coconut like boat which I am clearly not describing well.

I could describe all the food in detail but I am not going to, I don’t have that kind of time, but I will say this, it was the most incredible meal I have enjoyed in a long time. Everything was spot on: juicy, flavorful, interesting, decadent, just so good. Every dish surpassed the next and I can honestly say that there was not one thing on any of these plates that I did not want to eat. Some of the accents were things like pickled cabbage which added a little crunch and fresh tomatoes which lightened the load of some nicely spiced items. We didn’t even have room for dessert but we had to and with that first bite, we knew it was right. It was creamy and thick and delicious, the little coconut basket was a heavenly contrast.

Then, the tab came and I almost did a jumping jack. I have never had this much food with this kind of experience at that price. It felt so nice to not feel taken advantage of, the tab was completely reasonable for our experience.

I had a great night there, for the few times that Josh and I get to go out alone, it was everything we needed and more.

We will be long time patrons and I suggest, you do the same.

Sonny’s

83 Exchange St.

Portland, Maine

(207) 772-7774

http://www.sonnysportland.com

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