Take out places that specialize in fried seafood and are situated in tiny buildings are a hallmark of coastal living in Maine. Typically they have “shack” in the name and are situated in a Nor’easter danger zone.
The Fishermen’s Grill is a tiny building nestled behind the fishmarket, Fishermen’s Net on Forest Avenue, famous for its specials painted on plywood and strapped to a hearse parked across the street in front of Baxter Woods. While it is not located on a beach, it is subject to the changing demand that Labor Day to Memorial Day off-season for tourism brings. As such, the online menu requires an understanding that it is “subject to change without notice” in winter months.
That said, the menu is still plentiful and varied – they also have hamburgers and hotdogs in addition to the standard fried fare. The proprietor is also patient and kind. As we re-worked orders over the phone on the fly to accommodate for the lack of crab and crab-related products, he was in good spirits and wicked helpful. When I went to pick up the order, he had even carried it to my car since my arm was in a sling. He also threw in some extra stuff on a couple of the orders to make up for the unavailability of a couple of things, and had thrown a few items back in the fryer to heat them up again before I got there.
I got back to the office and unveiled the goods for my coworkers. Unilaterally, everyone who ordered from Fishermen’s Grill was happy as a deep-fried clam. Superlatives abound in the recollection of the meals.
“Best scallops I’ve ever had.”
“Best sandwich I’ve ever had.”
“Scallops … TO DIE FOR.”
The lobster-based sandwiches in particular were of note, with the innards for the lobster roll packaged separately so the bread wouldn’t get soggy, and there was so much it didn’t actually fit in the bun. The lobster Reuben was both pretty to look at and was apparently pretty life-changing.
The fried seafood was plentiful, overflowing. The seared scallops were cooked to perfection. I had a cheeseburger that tasted so fresh and unadulterated it was as though I had cooked it at home. The onion rings and coleslaw were homemade and outstanding. Some of the highest praise I’ve heard about coleslaw happened this day.
I think it can be safely articulated that the Fisherman’s Grill puts most others in the fried seafood shack genre to shame when it comes to taste, quality, and customer service.
Most-Favorited Dish: Lobster Reuben
Honorable Mention: Lobster Roll
All six of the Page One employees who ordered from the Fishermen’s Grill would enthusiastically return.
Words Used by Our Team to Describe the Experience:
Address: 849 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday – 12:00pm-6:00pm
Friday-Saturday – 12:00pm-7:30pm
Sunday – 12:00pm-6:00pm