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All photos by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography
With little advance fanfare, chef Chris Gould opened his destined for super-stardom Portland restaurant, Central Provisions, on Tuesday night, pulling in a packed house. The completely redone interior of the brick building, at 414 Fore Street, has a straightforward, rustic look, with a wide-open, gleaming stainless steel kitchen, exposed brick walls and chairs upholstered with burlap from grain sacks.
I was pleasantly surprised to see cocktail meister Patrick McDonald, formerly of Gingko Blue, behind the bar on the Wharf Street level, shaking up his versions of “pre-Prohibition era” libations and having fun with a well-stocked toolbox of mixology gadgets.
Upstairs, on the Fore Street level, manager Paige Gould and sommelier Chris Peterman kept things organized, while chef Gould and his crew served a steady stream of creative small plates to first-night customers, including Leslie Oster of Aurora Provisions and Anestes Fotiades of Portland Food Map, seated at the kitchen bar, as well as Alysia Zoidis of neighboring East End Cupcakes and Kate McCarty of The Blueberry Files blog at a window table.