// Location140 Main St.
Biddeford, ME 04005
// Hours5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
// Price Range$$$
// Cuisine Type Japanese, Seafood,
// AT A GLANCE
No mincing words: Elda is a fantastic addition to the southern Maine dining scene, and the Biddeford 50-seater might very well be the best new restaurant to open in the Portland metropolitan area in the past two years. Chef/owner Bowman Brown’s resume probably should have tipped all of us off to what was in store; as chef at Forage in Salt Lake City, he was widely celebrated for a cooking style that linked place to plates. At Elda, he’s up to many of the same tricks, but with a different palette of ingredients, most coastal, as well as a newfound interest in exploring ways to combine modern and traditional techniques into his small-plates menu. The results are stunning. In one dish, he combines raw black bass with a subtle, verdant watercress soup and sprouted wheat berries that pop in your mouth like fat caviar pearls. In another, he barely scrambles egg yolks in crab-and-Thai-chili-infused butter, then emulsifies them into a froth and dishes them into in a deep, black bowl (reminiscent of a Korean dolsot) along with picked crab meat and faintly pickled carrots. You’ll also find thoughtfully chosen wines from around the world to pair with your meal, along with creative, beautifully executed cocktails, including a Negroni that manages to tame the mordant bitterness of Suze. It, like nearly everything at Elda, is magical.