Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Corner Room

The Corner Room, located appropriately on the corner of Exchange and Federal Streets, had often been recommended to me as yet another of Harding Lee Smith's fabulous restaurants (think The Front Room and The Grill Room). It took me a while to get there - particularly because of the deplorable parking conditions in the Upper Exchange area - but I finally found my way to The Corner Room back in November 2012.

It was worth the wait.

And I have been back twice since.

The first thing you notice upon entering The Corner Room is the fresh aroma of baking bread - that's because they bake their own right there on the premises in large ovens tucked in the back. Who doesn't love the scent of freshly-baked bread? A very positive first impression.

My companion (the two-legged one) and I started with the Antipasti Platter ($18). We quickly discovered that this serving was far too much food for two people, even as an appetizer. The wooden platter arrived piled with various meats and cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, shaved garlic and eggplant-pine nut tepanade. The waitress also brought along the restaurant's signature foccaccia bread served with a side of olive oil. The bread paired beautifully with the savory offerings of the Antipasti Platter. Seriously, a cup of soup, side of bread and the Antipasti would be more than enough for a meal.

However, we couldn't stop there. My companion ordered the eggplant parm sandwich ($8) sans the bread since she'd already stuffed herself with the foccaccia. And as sucker for anything made with egg - the perfect food- how could I pass up the Dopo pizza ($15), complete with a farm-fresh egg plopped right in the center of the pie?

The eggplant was thinly sliced and coated with a crisp, not-too-heavy breading and came cloaked in a tangy tomato sauce. Very tasty, according to my companion, but the portion was quite generous. The Corner Room doesn't believe in skimping!

The Dopo pizza, draped in marinara sauce, pancetta and cheese, arrived piping hot, the two over-easy eggs (not one but two!) serving as the centerpiece of the pie. Of course, I couldn't resist diving right in for the egg-covered slices - and they did not disappoint. The balance between the bright, zippy marinara and the calming protein of the egg was mouth-wateringly perfect. Once again, the Dopo pizza was a large portion, guessing at least a 14 inch although I didn't ask. After all, what did it matter?

It had eggs.

Total lunch bill was about $40 bucks without tip. A little pricier than what we usually pay for lunch, but we took home plenty of leftovers four our furry assistants waiting patiently in the car. Two thumbs and two paws up.

The Corner Room
110 Exchange St.
Portland, ME
(207)  879-4747

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