It is with great sadness that we bring our Portland Restaurant Week to a finish. We wish we had eaten at every spot in the city but alas, we only have two bellies. Rounding out our weekend of ridiculously good food we’ve got Pai men Miyake. Responsible for satisfying our cravings for Asian (once we realized Boda’s Thai kitchen was closed for a week-long vacay) this totally adorable eatery is another must try in the West End of town.
Chef Masa Miyake and his wife opened their first restaurant in Portland in 2007, and since then have opened up a second (Pai men) as well as established a farm in Freeport which currently provides both Miyake and Pai Men with organically grown and raised fowl along with pigs and produce. Talk about badass. The focus of Pai men is on noodles, Ramen noodles, but they’ve also got a selection of sushi, small plates and Yakitori grilled skewers perfect for sharing.
When we first arrived we were both borderline starving so immediately ordered the Cucumber & Wakame salad to start, served with ponzu dressing and micro radish. A unique mix of textures, it was crunchy and fresh. The perfect hold-over before more apps started to arrive.
Next up was the Nikuman Pork Buns which I could have eaten dozens of. These steamed buns came stuffed with pork belly, miso & memma. Yeah, I didn’t know what memma was either, but apparently it’s a Japanese condiment… or a strip club in Jersey depending on who you ask.
We decided to sample some skewers off the Yakitori grill, honing in on the Negima (chicken leg & scallions) and the Filet Minon. Both were juicy and flavorful, seasoned with a little bit of teriyaki sauce.
Since Pai men is known for their Ramen, we couldn’t leave without trying some. We went for the Tokyo Abura-Soba. The only broth-less option on the menu, it came topped with egg yolk instead which made for the perfect saucy subsitute. Topped with chili oil, nori and sambal, those homemade noodles were scarfed down in record timing.
By the time our sushi roll made an appearance we were both pretty stuffed, but how can one resist Maine crab while in Maine? Nope, you can’t. Crab meat broiled in a mayo glaze with spicy red pepper, tobiko & radish sprouts.
Like every other restaurant we visited in Portland, Pai men was effortlessly charming. The staff was personable and attentive, including the management who seemed to be running food and assisting employees when needed. As they brought out the food as it was ready, there was never a dull moment. If our bank accounts were bottomless we probably would have spent the entire night there sipping crispy white wines on the patio but now this just gives us every reason to get ourselves back to Portland soon.
What are some of your must-try spots in Portland??