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D.O.C., Portland 

As I was preoccupied with my dinner guest, I’m not going to go course by course, as we had the 5 course tasting menu and did not receive the same dishes, therefore 10 different dishes and yes we shared them all. We also ordered the wine pairing, so another 8 different wines.

"I’ll say this, the food was well prepared and prepared in an Italian style, that is, straightforward, simple, without pretention and specifically to showcase a particular ingredient."

So when I say we had clams in their own nectar and the clams were delicious that’s pretty much the dish. Sure the nectar was enhanced with a couple other ingredients, but nothing that overpowered the main attraction, which are fresh clams. The nectar or broth was a meal in itself when you take the bread and dunk it into the broth. Simple and delicious. 

Other food highlights include the cavatelli (made on site) in pork sugo, with a hint of chili and mint, the smoked pork with lentils was outstanding, the risotto was spot on. The coffee spiked panna cotta and fruit tart were a perfect way to finish. So in terms of food preparation, portion sizes and quality all deserve very high marks.

What I had some issue with was service. There were two people covering the floor the entire evening, so they may have been short staffed. My guest arrived before me by 5 minutes and pre-ordered a cocktail. By the time I arrived, it took the better part of 8 minutes for her cocktail to arrive and mine to be ordered. So my first impressions were a bit soured as I wondered if the staff was paying attention.  As we ordered the tasting menu and wine pairing, our main server was knowledgeable about our wines, but he would literally talk through each with the speed of an auctioneer as he poured them. Same for the description of each course, talk fast…move on. He was constantly hustling off to tend to another table. The other server said next to nothing the entire evening, but did have a nice smile and came over a few times to remove soiled silverware and stemware. Not even a simple, “how was your last course” or “how was the wine”, nothing, no communication. I suppose I never felt relaxed when the servers came to the table, as the speed of the service and hustling away never stopped. I suppose if I transported myself back to Italy or France, this type of service style was something I experienced in Europe, a little less personal and a little more hustled, but then again, many Italians don’t speak English.

Kudos however to the kitchen and the pace of our meal. The kitchen scheduled our courses wonderfully, plates were served hot and clean and no course backed up or rushed the other. At the end of our meal and near the end of service, Chef Timothy came to table and asked us about our meal and any particular dishes that stuck out in our minds. He was very pleasant and gracious, not to mention a good cook. His relaxed nature and smooth operation of the fully exposed kitchen should be the tone set for the service aspect in the restaurant, relaxed, efficient yet personal, and well paced. I certainly would come back to DOC for Chef Timothy’s food. 

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