Nosh Kitchen Bar’s menu has everything customers with an affection for rich food could wish to encounter, from yolk dripping from a fried egg on a blue-cheese-and-bacon burger to a swirl of jalapeno cumin creme here and herb ricotta there.

Expecting and nursing mothers can indulge themselves knowing this kind of diet is exactly what Mother Nature calls for, so happy Mother’s Day to them! The rest of us can assuage guilt by guessing that such little parcels of buttery foie gras can’t stick around long.

God knows they disappear quicky enough from the plate.

Chef Jason Loring, who owns Nosh with manager Matt Moran and factotum Tom Barr, said he got the idea for Nosh when he saw a lack of sandwiches made with house-cured ingredients in town. The space “fell in our lap,” he said, offering a chance to run a bigger business than he had intended.

“We’re not really a bar, and we’re not a restaurant. We’re somewhere in between,” Loring said.

Nosh prices its small plates low enough that indulging in multiple shared items won’t bankrupt you. “The way things have been lately with the economy, people thought we were crazy to open a restaurant,” Loring said. “It was definitely a goal to make it as affordable as possible.”


However, you might want to add something to drink to the food bill. Nosh offers an excellent assortment of craft beers. Maine Beer Co. Zoe ($8), an amber ale, and Peeper Ale ($7), which is ranked No. 9 among American pale ales on, are dry-hopped, bottle-conditioned and wonderful to drink. The dry-hopping accounts for their delicious aroma, said David Kleban, who owns the Portland company with his brother Daniel Kleban, and bottle-conditioning — natural carbonation created by yeast after the ale is bottled — creates fine bubbles.

Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche ($7 a glass, $26 a bottle) is one of the eight red and six white wines served by the glass. But poured in a short straight-sided glass, the wine lost some of its charm, perhaps because its own aroma dissipated instead of concentrating as it would have in a traditional wine glass.

The food menu is inscribed on the wall over an open kitchen. Exposed brick and a beechwood bench create a casual atmosphere. The high ceiling, made of molded plaster and installed when the space was Portland’s first movie theater with sound, is as lovely as it gets.

Foie gras on toasted brioche with short rib jam ($8) worked wonders of flavor and texture with the savory sweetness of the meaty jam, the rich cool goose liver and the crunch of toast.

Smoked salmon ($6) is actually arctic char cured in-house — Loring never uses farm-raised salmon. Set on herby ricotta spread across a toasted piece of baguette, it was tender and fresh. Blue fin tuna carpaccio ($7) made a clean contrast to pickled fiddleheads.

Tempura scallops ($6) might have been better with a thinner batter, but the oily crunch of their coating still magnified their sweetness, and the cumin-scented jalapeno creme touched both off like a little firecracker.


Fried cod ($7) came in a tailored suit of golden-brown crunch that was moist and tastefully decorated with red pepper and almond puree.

A devotee of natural and fresh foods, Loring said, “People should stop eating things out of plastic bags.” He worked at Portland’s Cinque Terre and made connections with farmers he still relies on. Nosh cures its own bacon, using shallots and thyme this spring.

We tried the Nosh burger ($8), allured by the blue cheese, the bacon, the fried egg and the roast garlic jam. All of Nosh’s burgers are reasonably sized and excessive only in their accompaniments. This burger was overshadowed by the other actors inside that bun, but sometimes that’s just as it should be. The plain cheeseburger with American cheese answers a hankering for something straightforward.

New York City’s Salumeria Biellese is the source of all the salami, mortadella and other cured meats, which can be ordered alone or assembled on a platter with cheese and vegetables like pepperonata ($4).

The poutine ($10) is made with crisp lardons or thick strips of pork belly and crunchy fries that survive the turkey gravy without wilting. It was alluring, even as my appetite faded away — and how could it not, with all this to indulge in?

Bacon-dusted fries dipped in chipotle mayo had already elicited repeat tastings. Other sauces to try with the fries are romesco, horseradish mayonnaise, cheddar cheese sauce made with bechamel, and homemade blue cheese sauce made with sour cream.


Duck leg confit ($10) with spicy candied orange and cherries turned out to be tender and moist with crisp skin.

Phew. Even recounting these dishes makes me full. It’s incredible that we managed to scarf up most of a wedge of flourless chocolate torte, made by Portland’s Bar of Chocolate Cafe. Maker’s Mark bourbon heated up the silky chocolate, and whipped cream soothed the over-stimulated palate.

We didn’t try it, but Loring said he serves Wicked Joe’s coffee. 

N.L. English is a Portland freelance writer and the author of “Chow Maine: The Best Restaurants, Cafes, Lobster Shacks and Markets on the Coast.” Visit English’s Web site,


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