* Click here for rating key
Bistro Marquee Restaurant Review: Portland's downtown area is not large, but its Southeast corner, where Keller Auditorium stands, still feels distant. Now there's a new dining option on these quiet streets, for both before a show or as a destination on its own merits. While Bistro Marquee advertises itself as French, having Rick Widmayer (formerly of Screen Door) in the kitchen ensures an equal emphasis on American comfort food. An airy, large space with a lovely outdoor patio, Bistro Marquee caters to theatre-goers with an extended happy hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) and a prix-fixe three-course meal on show nights. A typical version of the latter might include a butter lettuce salad with apples and blue cheese, beef bourguignon, and vanilla panna cotta. Fried foods tend to shine: try the nicely crisped fried oysters with rémoulade, the potato croquettes with harissa or, when it's on the menu, the generous fried chicken plate. Or dig into the light, fresh diver scallops topped with salsa verde and paired with fennel and apple slaw. For heartier appetites, order the tender, rich duck confit with potatoes, escarole and truffle butter. As a sweet finale, butterscotch pot de crème makes a first-rate Southern/French fusion dessert. Service can be speedy when you need it (at lunch and before a show) but relaxed when you have time to linger.