555, restaurant week, trying new restaurants

33 dishes, 5 restaurants, 3 days, 2 people–Day Two pt. 2

March 5,2010–late reservation

Five Fifty-Five: Our 1st trip to this much lauded Portland restaurant.
3 courses for $40.10

First Impression: Very loud, very chaotic and very crowded. Space seemed about 3x bigger than restaurants we’re use to dining at. Menu on the door, save for the entree and soup app. choice, was very different from the one listed on the RW website. Items listed below lack the most detail of all the reviews because I didn’t write down the information from the menu and, again, am working from fuzzy memory.
This review will be a bit different because the experience was different then the ones previous and the ones ahead.

1st Course
The Mrs.: Citrus Salad
fresh goat cheese, seasonal citrus, pistachios, baby greens, champagne-pomegranate vinaigrette
Me: Veal Carpaccio: Mache, vinaigrette, pickled shallot

The Mrs: Steak, brioche and great hill blue bread pudding, Brussel Sprouts
Me:
seared pepper-crusted local diver scallops… aromatic fennel-potato puree, glazed pearl onions, organic baby carrot-vanilla emulsion

Dessert:
Almond Financier
Dark Chocolate Tart

I’ve really tried to figure out what went wrong during this meal. It started on an off foot, with reservation issues and just never got better. So, to simplify things, I’m going to start and end the review with the ‘Breakdown.’

Breakdown:
Ambiance: The layout of 555 is beautiful. Dark, rich woods and we were lucky enough to be seated at the upper tier, lending us a great view of the open kitchen and the odd placement of the women’s room right outside of the open kitchen. Very odd indeed. We were happy when we were seated far from the house-style bass music that was thumping in the lounge. We were deep in a line of people that seemed to have been waiting a bit for their tables and we found ourselves awkwardly getting pushed closer and closer to tables in the lounge as people came in and out.

Service: As I mentioned, it’s definitely a larger setting and crowd than we’re use to, so the frantic energy that seemed to be emanating from the waitstaff made us feel kind of edgey. Yet, while it seemed like the waitstaff was a bit in the weeds, I did see a flawless setting of apps and entrees to a table of 14+ next to us. Kudos to their waitress and the rest of the staff as it was executed like a ballet. Our waiter was fine, but definitely seemed more pleasant when he would take a moment to relax at our table side. We felt bad for him and can’t really blame him for a forgotten glass of wine.

Food: So, this is why we were here, right? From coworkers and friends I had heard mixed things about their experiences with the food here: Under seasoned, overcooked, decadent and creative. I didn’t know what to expect, but whatever expectations I lightly held I can easily say that they were not equaled. Our biggest problem was over seasoned, which plagued both the apps and the entrees. The desserts were odd, mine weirdly textured and hers “off” in flavor.

In the end our experience left us highly unimpressed.

5/10

Five Fifty-Five on Urbanspoon

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