Paper Tiger, the latest from restaurateur Mike Fraser (Bramhall, Roma), chef Nace Cohen, and manager Marcus Alcantara opens today. The restaurant in on Fore Street, in the space formerly occupied by Maine Lobster Shack. The renovation changes the look from New England seafood shack to a moody cocktail bar.
Cocktails are the focus on the bar menu here, with three pages of original drinks to choose from. Many have a tropical or tiki theme, featuring coconut, fresh juices, rum, and tiki syrups. There's also two large format choices, a scorpion bowl and party punch, meant to be shared.
My husband had the spicy cilantro swizzle which was very tart and herbal. We also enjoyed the slushie, a delicious frozen blend of lime, ginger, and tequila.
The menu at Paper Tiger is inspired by "traditional fast food, oyster bars, and late night Chinese restaurants." And there is a little bit of everything—wings, fries, and a burger, but also scallop crudo, roast oysters, stir-fried vegetables, and whole roast fish.
We started with the wings and fries. The wings ($11) are coconut sambal with pineapple and cilantro and were a great combination of spicy and sweet. We also ordered the tuna crudo ($18) and the scallop crudo ($14), each thinly sliced with different vinaigrettes.
Next, we went for a round of veggie sides, the garlic-sesame-peanut baby bok choy ($9), the Brussel sprouts with caramelized onions ($12), and the black pepper mushrooms ($10.50). The mushrooms were my favorite, as the slightly thickened sauce delivered the most unique flavors of the night, with plenty of black pepper and Szechuan peppercorns.
To finish, we shared the classic double patty burger ($16) and the monkfish tail for two ($35). The burger was delicious, with a soft bun and crispy fries. The fish came with a great chili-crisp like sauce on top and then a plate of accoutrements (herbs, kimchi, sauces) to make lettuce wraps with. We had also ordered a side of sticky rice to go with our veggies, so I added in some rice to make a nice finish to the meal.
Paper Tiger is a nice addition to the Old Port's restaurant scene. I will definitely be back to explore the very deep cocktail selection and enjoy some nice snacks.
Paper Tiger | 425 Fore St, Suite 104, Portland, Maine | (207) 613-9823