Friday, February 27, 2009

Review: Portland's Novares Res

It's not a restaurant. It's a beer bar that's billed as a bier café, and judging by the aloof demeanor of the too-cool bartenders, I don't think the pretension is tongue-in-cheek. They've got a great selection of Belgian and American craft beer, though, and a small but impressive snack menu.

We tried the Mediterranean Plate, which consisted of mellow hummus, olive tapenade, tangy sun-dried tomato spread, a salad of cucumbers and tomato in a lemony vinaigrette, and warm triangles of flatbread. It was colorful and delicious, and there was plenty to share. We also ordered the olive plate, which came with sweet, tiny cornichon pickles, assorted black and kalamata olives in herbed vinegar, and firm, bright green Castelvatrano olives, which tasted rich and milky, like ice cream.

These and an Allagash black ale made a satisfying dinner. For vegetarians, Novares Res also has a vegetable sandwich and a selection of cheeses. There are only two vegan options, but these are outstanding, and they account for a respectable portion of the small menu. It's worth stopping in for a nibble.

I give Novares Res a three on the chickpea scale for quality, not quantity.

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