"A gastronomic dust bowl" was the way one writer friend described the Oregon coast's restaurant scene some years ago. This may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but his point wasn't without justification; if your dining aspirations exceeded fried seafood or a barely acceptable steak, there were very few places to go that didn't disappoint.
That's no longer true. As the sophistication of today's traveling public has increased dramatically, coastal dinner houses kept pace. But the southern coast, being more remote and distant from the larger population centers, often lags behind the more well traveled areas further north.
Redfish opened a couple of years ago with considerable fanfare. We dined there on more than one occasion, and found that the execution didn't quite live up to the menu. They had interesting sounding entrees (maybe a little too interesting, as if they were trying so hard that it came off as pretentious), but the execution on the plate did not always measure up. It wasn't bad... we just didn't feel it was as good as it should have been, given the menu (and the price!)
We're happy to report that has all changed. Executive Chef Jeremy Kelly was brought in all the way from Louisville, Kentucky to turn things around, and he has done so; Redfish now holds its own with any good dinner house anywhere, not just on the Oregon Coast.
Redfish: fabulous view and excellent cuisine!
For lunch recently, we tried an appetizer of perfectly prepared Fresh Manila Clams in a "white wine with aromatics" broth that included a delightful selection of very properly roasted Oregon mushrooms - Portobellos, Lobsters, Crimini and others. A very generous serving, it had us rolling our eyes with pleasure.
Mary ordered the Crabcake Sandwich, despite my skepticism; neither of us are often pleased with restaurant crab cakes, believing as we do that we have the absolute ultimate crab cake recipe (which she prepares at home several times a year). Redfish crabcakes are a pleasant surprise, however, and although we're not tossing out our own recipe, we would definitely order them again. The side of fries with truffle oil was another great choice.
Last lunchtime visit, I ordered the Crispy Pork Carnitas Sandwich, which was different and delightful, served on Ciabatta bread with a smoked jalapeno aioli that I thought was just right, neither too spicy or mild. The pork was flavorful and juicy, not dried out as I feared. Bravo!
The dinner menu has something for everyone, with Salmon and Cioppino leading the seafood entrees, while Chicken Supreme "Oscar" and a Frenched Pork Chop face off against a New York Strip and a Filet Mignon for those who are "fished out."
The decor is bright and airy and very pleasant, the view is as good as any on the coast, the wait staff is knowledgeable and attentive without being pushy, and the bar is first rate (and, after I suggested it, now includes Benedictine, as any restaurant of this quality should!). Redfish has become an oasis on the south coast, and is well worth a stop!
Port Orford, OR 97465