Saturday, March 6, 2010

Restaurant Week / Friday / Back Bay Grill

Back Bay Grill, one of the most praised, longest running high end eateries in the city and one of the tightest most frenetic kitchens I have ever tried to shoot in!  Chef Larry Matthews was accordingly reluctant to let me into his very limited space. At first frustrated at my peripheral location in relation to the food (action!) and dazzled by the speed and ballet like motion of not only the 3 person kitchen but also of the wait staff and even the dish washer, who had to constantly whisk away each fry pan as it had served its purpose, only to be returned minutes later to be used again; I hung back waiting my way in.  After observing the natural flow of things for 25 minutes I asked if it was possible to move to the far side of the work area, where I would be next to the salad and dessert prep station, but still some way from the center of action.

However I had noticed a dead spot by the support pole that stood in the middle of this tiny space and as nature abhors a vacuum, I thought I might fill it. Biding my time I spent another 20 minutes or so focusing on the salad/dessert station and eyeing the movements of its master, who with a half step or at most a step all the while moving in a continuous 360 degree circle between mini cooler and shelf,  produced plate after plate of mouth watering courses. But my main target was of course the GRILL and Chef Larry Matthews, so seeing his back turned I ventured closer and when the ever increasing volume of orders consumed his full attention ( and away from myself)  I moved in! And then would dart away,  only to return for a longer visit.
Finally standing as if one with the pole (dead spot) in the middle of the action, he spoke to me, but not shoe me away.  Now I was getting somewhere...

I've eaten several meals at the Back Bay Grill with never a bad experience and Restaurant Week offers the perfect opportunity to try fine dining at a great price. But hurry as it ends on March 10th.
I'm coming back with and without my camera!

The Back Bay Grill
65 Portland Street
Portland, Maine
tel. 207-772-8833

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up, I love your story of creepin' up on the chef!