PORTSMOUTH - Street: the humble name doesn’t give this neighborhood noshery the credit it deserves. On the numerous occasions I’ve dined at this Portsmouth restaurant I’ve never been let down. My most recent visit was not different, with their reimagined, worldly inspired flavors. Scanning the menu, crossing off dishes I’ve had in the past like the operations manager of gustation, I am once again caught in the middle of a difficult decision: a toss-up between pozolé or the miso healthy salad? This time around, salad won. To be fair, it’s much easier to toss a salad than it is a hot bowl of soup.
The food arrives, #foodporn worthy on instagram. Some of the most popular dishes are staples at our table: a pile of spicy and addictive fries, seasoned with a blend of curry, drizzled with curry-infused mayo, and garnished with tangles of green onion. But the essence of Street’s cuisine shines through with their fried chicken cemita. Stacked on a toasted cemita bun, the Pueblan-inspired sandwich with a slab of chewy, fried queso fresco immersed in creamy chipotle mayo combines the umami flavor of chicken with the sprightly flavor of cilantro. The crispy cheese and chicken is an unparalleled foil to the satiny texture of avocado and pickled red onion.
That same umami flavor is applied to the Korean BBQ beef. A dish so many restaurants have a tendency to ruin with overly sweetened, syrupy marinades that the beef flavor is lost, was thankfully avoided. Yet with all these highs, this visit to Street did not come without a few misses. The forgettable, miso healthy salad, served in a bowl and when taken to with a fork overflowed with a dense amount of kale, and a few spare, white beans. The rest of the salad’s ingredients - fennel, napa cabbage, celery, spinach, scallions, snow peas and sunflower seeds - had me questioning whether I ordered a salad or just a pound of cabbage. Lesson learned? Stick to the recommendations and regular favorites.
Like its eclectic staff, Street’s cuisine is a hybridization of multiple cultures. The food pairs prominent influences from Korean, Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes with popular favorites of the Great American Melting Pot.