15 Monument Square, Portland
Cobblestones has revived the lunch spot in Monument Square formerly occupied by Henry VIII, which closed last spring after a run of several years. The new eatery offers generously portioned fare — soups, salads and sandwiches — at decent prices.
The dining area is small, but much of the lunch crowd jets in for take-out on their break from an office downtown. For those with more time to linger, there are a few tall tables inside and several tables on the Square, as well.
At first I was torn between the potato leek soup and the curried cashew chicken soup, but when I heard the Chowder of the Day was haddock chowder ($2.99 cup, $3.99 bowl), my destiny was decided. The chowder was creamy and hearty; the fish flavor didn’t overpower the potatoes and veggies. I was glad I went for the bowl. To complement his grilled cheese sandwich, my brother (a man of simple tastes) got the tomato soup, which was also delightfully creamy and expertly salted.
For my sandwich, I chose the slow-roasted Angus beef with sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated horseradish, mushroom aioli, lettuce and tomato on a potato Kaiser roll ($7.99, including pickle spear). This is Cobblestones’ most popular sandwich, and it’s easy to see why. The beef was stacked high and tasted rich and fresh. The flavor of the cheese, cut in thick chunks, was powerful enough to match the volume of the beef. The highlight was a gray sauce (presumably the aioli mixed with the beef and horseradish juices) that kicked the sandwich a good ways past ordinary.
My dad went for the El Cubano, which has lime-spiced pork loin, carved ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, red pepper relish and whole grain Dijonaise, served on grilled ciabatta bread ($7.99). The taste was downright heavenly — sweet and spicy, with some unusual interplay between flavors. The lime spicing really stood out in the bite I took, as did the sweetness of the red pepper relish.
There are five specialty sandwiches to choose from, or you can build your own from a list of meats, veggies, cheeses and condiments. The four salads on the menu (Caesar, spinach, Greek and garden; $4.99-$6.99) can be had as a wrap for a buck more.
By the end of our lunch the three of us were grateful there aren’t any dessert options. We were stuffed. Cobblestones doesn’t presume to be anything more than it is, and succeeds at what it does offer. It’s perfect for the simple workday lunch.
— Anders Nielsen
Cobblestones is open Mon.-Fri. from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Sat. from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.