I love the new Walter‘s, and I’m not alone. When I met a friend there on a Wednesday evening in early May, I didn’t expect to need reservations, but I should have made them. The place was mobbed. We were fortunate when a table opened in the lounge area, and we were able to snag it.
The old Walter’s feasted on the Old Port’s retro 1980s brick-walled fern bar meets urban Victorian vibe; the new Walter’s redefines urban chic in Portland. It’s sleek, casual, comfortable, and decorated with contemporary flair; for once, brick is not the defining element.
What hasn’t changed is the food. Walter’s still turns out excellent fusion fare, melding Mediterranean, Asian, and Caribbean flavors with a Maine accent, and presenting them with flair. (You nonfoodies need that translated? Damn good food crafted from eclectic ingredients you might not be familiar with but will come together in a happy dance on your tastebuds; not only that, but when it arrives, it looks too good to eat).
On Thursday, June 3, Walter’s is teaming with Cold River Vodka on a multi-course affair. It opens with a cocktail hour featuring Cold River drinks paired with passed appetizers, then continues with a four-course dinner ($75 per person, plus tax/gratuity).
Jeff Buerhaus, Walter’s owner and executive chef, is designing the evening’s menu to feature Cold River Vodka in select dishes, while Walter’s Bar Manager Steve Lovenguth will present attendees with a specially created array of Cold River cocktails. One guest, drawn at random during the evening, will win a gift basket full of items from Maine Distilleries and Walter’s.
Menu highlights include:
• pastrami-cured duck breast appetizer
• roasted spring lamb chop
• vodka-based pasta dish with crumbled Greek farm cheese
• blueberry vodka cheesecake for dessert.
Cold River specialty cocktails include the Nor’easter, featuring Cold River’s Blueberry Vodka and HoneyMaker Blueberry Mead, and the Far East River, made with lemongrass-infused Cold River vodka and ginger liqueur.
In a nod to the evening’s culinary focus, Walter’s and Cold River Vodka will make a joint donation to the Maine Restaurant Association Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to deserving students pursuing post-secondary degrees in Culinary Arts or Hospitality Management programs. Nice touch.
And take it from me, when you go, whether for this event or on another night, do make a reservation.