Last Saturday, the lights were back on at the former location of Massimo’s Cucina Italiana. Around the familiar marble topped bar, a few patrons sat with drinks perusing the menu. Slowly, folks began to trickle in, filling many of the tables inside the newly opened Brahma Grill at 96 Hammond Street.
Brahma Grill soft opened on Friday, March 11, with only word-of-mouth announcements. There wasn’t a Facebook Page or website to look at yet (though there is now).
If you hadn’t heard that it was opening, you might have missed it. And if you happened to walk by, you might not have been sure what was happening there. There wasn’t even a sign yet.
But that’s okay. It was easing in.
Inside, not much has changed. The trees with cascading lights are gone from the windows, and a bull’s skull now adorns a wall. But the intimate, dark interior is very much the same as it was when Massimo’s closed after its last night. Even some of the faces are the same.
What has changed is the ownership, cuisine and a few details. It’s now a steakhouse owned by Giacomo’s Brett Settle.
On Saturday night, we dropped in for a drink and an appetizer. It was friendly and comfortable as we checked out the menu, and ordered. I went with a pecan-infused bourbon drink with a cute name that I don’t recall. It suggested by a waitress we knew — and it was delicious. Like pecan pie in a glass.
The menu features a selection of grilled steaks, offered both ala cart and as a meal. There are also pasta dishes featuring the unique bucatini, a long noodle that’s thicker than spaghetti but has a hole down the center. There’s also a selection of salads, BBQ and appetizers to round out the offerings.
The drink menu includes a lengthy wine list and several creative cocktails with fun names. Try the “All My Exes Live in Bangor,” which is a refreshing whiskey-based drink.
We noshed on Corn Fritters, crispy at the edges and soft in the middle — a good choice for sharing. They’re served with a Maine maple bacon glaze and honey dijon dipping sauce.
Still, it’s too soon to talk too much about the food at Brahma Grill — it’s simply too soon. As with any restaurant opening, it needs time to work out the kinks. Still, the menu looks promising, with creative sauces, a variety of meaty options and an appetizers list that has me intrigued. If our cocktails and appetizer (corn fritters) were any indication, they’re off to a good start.