Respond to Review of CLOSED: Pepper Club
Review: We've been to Pepperclub several times in the past decade on visits to Portland, ME. We've always liked the fact that, instead of the obligatory single vegetarian dish, or even two, half the menu is veg, so we're spoiled for choices. The menu is always designed with some thought, and the execution has often been very good to excellent. We had another good dining experience, but the food felt short of great overall. The sliced bread they put out was indeed excellent. But our edamame in a pepper soy sauce turned out to be a pile of edamame (in shells) with the soy-pepper broth below, half of them immersed and the other half entirely on top, a somewhat sticky mess of an experience with too small a cup given to hold the shells. Of the entrees, my partner's risotto cakes seemed to have a strong flavor and didn't elicit any squeals of delight. My own main was corn fritters with zucchini, black bean, and quinoa. This turned out to be just that: a slice of zucchini (looking a bit like a gherkin slice), black bean, and quinoa. The sauce accompanying the risotto cakes was rather bland. So the flavor was all there, but not put together too well. I was also disappointed that they didn't have more of the local beers on tap: I think they offered only two. This is a pity in a great beer town like Portland. Beyond the food alone, either I've grown more attentive or the overall experience has gone down a little. The interior certainly has a hip and funky vibe, but the whole place just looks and feels very scruffy (especially when there's some sunlight coming in) and in need of a thorough scrubbing. In the men's room the soap dispenser was long out, and instead there were just a few pieces of soap swimming in a watery soapdish. I'd almost expect this at a hippie vegetarian place. But at a place where a main dish costs $17, and it's virtually impossible for two people to spend less than $60 for dinner? Sorry: it feels like you may be coasting a little, Pepperclub.