// Location555 Congress St.
Portland, ME 04101
// Hours5 to 10:30 p.m. daily. Brunch 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday
// Contact(207) 761-0555
// Price Range$$$$
// Cuisine Type Contemporary American,
// Features Brunch, Great Cocktails,
// AT A GLANCE
Open since 2003, Five Fifty-Five is among Portland’s most senior fine dining restaurants, with a superb, War-and-Peace length wine list and a focus on farm-to-table dishes that highlight seasonality. Its neutral interior, with exposed copper ductwork, interior open balcony, and pressed white tablecloths is gracefully understated, leaving co-owners Steve and Michelle Corry’s food, drink, and service to make an impression on diners. Generally, the impression is a good one, as with new cocktails like the Cucumber Rickey – a cross between a Moscow Mule and a mojito – or desserts like Yazmin Saraya’s peaches and cream with its almost op art plating, and her perfectly seasonal corn cake with cajeta ice cream. At its best, Five Fifty-Five produces sublime dishes like seared New England scallops with a grilled corn sauce and a warm vegetable accompaniment that distills everything magical about summer onto a single plate. Its steaks, like a chimichurri-sauced Pineland Farm striploin, are simple, yet superb. (Poor grill ventilation, on the other hand, is a problem, allowing an unpleasant, irritating haze to spread across the dining room when several diners order steaks simultaneously.) Other dishes, like bland spinach fettuccini, a too-ambitious grilled watermelon and baby kale salad, and a botched local blackberry salad demonstrate how conceptual and execution issues keep the menu from being as stellar as its reputation suggests. Service can also be spotty – sometimes revealing impressive competence, and sometimes neglect or a total lack of situational awareness. None of these problems in and of itself is a catastrophe, but each is a small setback, and in aggregate, they keep Five Fifty-Five from shining quite as brightly as it should.