Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro
Where to Eat in Portland, Maine Right Now
The gist: The talent behind this chic oyster bar and bistro newcomer is impressive: owner Lizzie Legere, who previously did stints at More & Co. and Drifter’s Wife; GM, James Rose, who worked at Boston’s Neptune Oyster; chef Billy Hager, who came to Portland byway of San Francisco, where he was chef-partner at Homestead; and sous chef, Dana Woodward, formerly of Dobb’s Ferry in San Francisco.
The food: Hager’s seasonal sensibility—paired with influences from live-work stays in Germany, France, and Italy—translate to dishes like chicory salad with fresh horseradish dressing, glazed short ribs with Swiss chard and braised beans, and Parsnip cake with cream cheese frosting and salt-kissed toasted walnuts. The prix-fixe comes with tender rolls and salty butter plus optional adds like raw oysters from up and down Maine’s coast, served with a weekly mignonette. Couple these with bubbles from a beguiling list of Champagne, or stunning cocktails. There are Maine-centric craft beers and a full wine list, too.
The cost: Three-course prix fixe menu is $50, fresh oysters and caviar with fixins’ run, $24-65, beer and cocktails are $8-14; wines by the bottle range from $20-68. Look for an expanded à la carte menu later this year.
How to order: Order takeout on Toast.