Street and Co.
Butter, garlic, basil, fresh clams and pasta.
It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make a dish with staying power. The clams in white sauce with linguine at Street and Co. has been on their menu since the restaurant opened 26 years ago. As I twirl yet another forkful of strands and scoop up one more plump clam, it’s easy to understand why this this dish, and Street and Co., has maintained its popularity. It’s an alchemical magic that takes place in their beat-up sauté pans, brought to the table steaming hot and fragrant.
Today I’m lucky enough to share this pan with Dana Street, the owner of Street and Co. as well as co-owner of Fore Street and the soon-to-opened Scales on Maine Wharf. We hadn’t met before, but when two hungry people who love food get together, the conversation is easy.
He tells me the story of another favorite dish, sole française. Originally it was called sole meuniére, after the classic French preparation, finished with brown butter, parsley and lemon. Then one fine day, Julia Child came to dine at Street and Co. If you’re familiar at all with Julia Child’s story, you likely know that it was a dish of sole meuniére, tasted in Rouen, France that sparked her culinary journey. Since Street and Co.’s preparation was not a traditional meuniére, Dana Street quickly changed the name to sole française so that Child would not be mislead. We share this dish as well, and like the linguine, it’s simple and more than the sum of its few ingredients. A sole filet is dipped in flour and an egg wash, then seared in one of those well-loved skillets. The potatoes served alongside soak up some of the nutty brown butter that finishes the dish. Call it whatever you like. It’s simply delicious, and I’m pretty sure Julia Child would agree.
Street himself doesn’t cook much. King Bishop is the chef who runs the small, open kitchen at Street and Co. Bishop started making salads here ten years ago and has worked his way up to the top job. He’s a big fan of the restaurant’s signature dishes, but he’s putting his own stamp on many of the sides and specials. He’s figured out a way to added depth to the marina sauce by adding lobster shells while it simmers. Salads and vegetables are constantly evolving as Bishop experiments with seasonal ingredients and techniques. Produce comes from local farms and while we are there, two big boxes of pristine shiitake mushrooms are delivered.
On a busy night, the kitchen puts out over 300 plates to diners enjoying their food in a room full of rustic charm. Dried chili peppers and bulbs of garlic hang from wooden beams. There’s lots of exposed brick and wide-planked old pine floors. Tabletops are covered in copper so that those hot sauté pans can be set directly upon them. The bar showcases fresh oysters and offers comfortable seating for sipping a glass of Italian or French wine from the extensive list and perhaps enjoying a bite from the appealing “Tastes” menu.
Early Saturday mornings, King Bishop grabs a cup of coffee and heads down Commercial Street to Upstream Trucking, a wholesale fish seller, owned by Street and a partner. There he has
his choice of the freshest seafood available from Maine and the east coast, helping him develop the day’s specials and assure diners have the very best product. It’s this commitment to excellence that’s likely to keep Street and Co. going strong for another 26 years.
Street and Co. | 33 Wharf St. | Portland | 207.775.0887 | streetandcompany.net