When you dine at the esteemed Fore Street restaurant in Portland, the first sign of its goodness is the bread brought to the table. It is bread with character: naturally leavened country boule and pain au levain with sturdy crust, chewy crumb, and deep, full flavor; yeasty lengths of baguette and focaccia.
In order to eat this great bread, it is not necessary to make a reservation at Fore Street (which you must do if you plan to eat here), nor to spend big bucks on a deluxe meal (which is very much worth it). All you need to do is to go around the corner and down a level to the bakery underneath the restaurant. The Standard Baking Company, which makes the bread served in the restaurant upstairs, is open to the public every day of the week starting at 7am.
For bread-lovers, it’s heaven. Beyond baguettes, boules, rye, 5-grain and rustic loaves, the aromatic ovens produce feather-light croissants, luxurious little pains au chocolat, biscotti, brioches, and galettes. Among daily specials are anadama bread on Friday, black olive-onion focaccia on Saturday, and cinnamon raisin bread Sunday.
Coffee is available, and there are a few tables for sitting and enjoying bakery treasures while they’re still hot.