Our Rating  

Bintliff's American Café
98 Portland Street

Four Plates  
Bintliff's American Café Reviewed: Summer, 2000

  Seated beneath the canopy of a grand maple tree on the second story deck of Bintliff's American Café, dining on Sautéed Maine Crab Cakes and Lobster Bisque, my companion and I took in another gorgeous summer evening in Portland. An elegantly eclectic establishment, Bintliff's pushes to a higher level the traditional definition of Café. The space is decorated with antiques and fine wood finishing, has low ceilings, and a beautiful open kitchen on the first floor. There is seating on the first floor patio, as well as on the second floor deck, and the layout lends an intimacy to the restaurant that is definitely Café style. The wonderfully varied menu (which changes seasonally) is beyond the realm of Café and is worthy of a fine restaurant.

Vegetarian Springrolls and Toasted Peanut Sauce began my friend’s meal, and I couldn’t resist the Sautéed Maine Crab Cakes. She found the springrolls fresh and tasty, and on par with other area restaurants. My two thick crabcakes, served on a bed of fresh greens with a grilled scallion and tomato vinaigrette, were artfully arranged on the plate and so good that I barely had time to taste them as they slid from fork to mouth. We chose these starters from among a tantalizing selection that ranged from Grilled Shrimp in Tequila-Lime Marinade, Carpaccio of Beef Tenderloin, and Raviolis of the Night, to Prince Edward Island Mussels and Smoked Baby Back Ribs.

A warm evening, my friend opted for a Mesclun Greens and Garnishes salad along with Lobster Bisque, the soup du jour, for her entree.

The entrée selection proved more challenging for me. At the top of the list, I pondered the Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Tarragon Butter, until glancing midway down to notice the Grilled Peach Glazed Pork Chops. The decision mulled in my head until that very dish, heaped with mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and an enormous pork chop was delivered to the neighboring table. I took another glance across the menu: Rosemary Garlic Chicken, Pan Fried Trout with Cajun Cornmeal rust, Roasted Duck with Balsamic and Peppercorns, Grilled Marinated Lamb Loin, Farfalle with Asparagus and Shallots, Sautéed Shrimp and Mussels, Roast Rib-Eye Steak, Bouillabaisse, and Grilled Filet Mignon. And looked again at my neighbor’s plate. Grilled Peach Glazed Pork Chops—I could taste the words.

My dining companion raved about her salad for both its size and freshness. The bisque, while excellent itself, proved slightly disappointing when she found that it contained only one piece of lobster.

My pork chop arrived, glazed in peach sauce, and surrounded by smashed potatoes, two grilled peach halves, and a mixture of grilled red peppers, summer squash, and zucchini. The combination of peach and pork was new to me, and enjoyed that unique flavor. My potatoes, however, were inedible containing far too much salt, as though the cap to the salt shaker had come off during preparation. Despite this, I enjoyed the entire helping of fresh grilled vegetables, and all of my pork chop and peach.

The best was yet to come. We had decided on dessert upon first entering Bintliff's when we had spied a fresh pie plate of berry crisp on a sideboard near the kitchen. A very good decision, indeed! (Our only poor decision was sharing the crisp and not each ordering our own.) A generous serving of warm raspberries and blueberries filled the bowl, mixed with the light, crispy crust and a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side. We could have made a meal of this, by far our favorite portion of dinner.

wheelchair accessible  
vegetarian selections
vegan selections  

most credit cards accepted

Overall, we liked our experience at Bintliff's, a wonderful atmosphere in which to enjoy food. Yet, we found disparity between the food, which was good, and the prices, which were a bit high. Our two appetizers, two entrees, one dessert, and one soda, totaled $49.86.

Bintliff's American Café offers an extensive wine list, as well as several local beers on tap. The appetizers range in price from $5.95 to $7.95. Salads are reasonably priced between $4.95 and 6.95. Entrees are between $12.95 and $22.95.   back to the top


Matt O'Donnell is a poet and freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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