Restaurants & Bars

Pacific Northwest

Ashland: Alex's Bar & Grill

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Ashland: Alex's Bar & Grill

Rod Williams | Jan 9, 2005 11:55 PM

Need to start this out with a disclaimer -- I'm traveling thru Oregon, all alone , at the wrong time of the year, and just looking to find some decent vittles to sustain me on the way. Stopped in Ashland for the night -- first choice for dinner would have been Peerless, but they're closed for the month of January. Ditto Chateaulin. Amuse sounded just a bit too precious for a single diner. I walked by Cucina Biazzi, and it looked delightful, but again, not right for a single diner -- too small and intimate and romantic. I looked in the window at Quinz, but it just didn't grab me, so I wandered upstairs to Alex's Bar & Grill, right next door, and it filled the bill just fine.

Don't go there for great cuisine, but it's a very congenial place. A large, high-ceilinged room with exposed brick walls and comfy wingback chairs in front of a roaring fireplace. It's Sunday night, so the guy who's been playing piano there for the last 17 years was tinkling away very pleasantly, and a few couples were dancing. The staff are very pleasant and welcoming.

I sat at the bar and started with an excellent Tanqueray martini. Then a passable Caesar Salad (OK, it was underdressed and the croutons came out of a box some time ago, but the greens were fresh and crispy :-)). My entree was a roasted Rock Cornish Game Hen, with roasted garlic and a Balsamic vinegar glaze, mixed sauteed veggies and a yummy potato-mozzarella cake. It was really pretty good -- I ate the whole thing! The wines-by-the-glass selection was pretty disappointing -- no Oregon wines at all! So I went for the Liberty School Cabernet, at the friendly bartender's suggestion, which was at least recognizable as wine.

The night was young, and baby, it was cold outside, so I ordered a (generous!) glass of Single Malt Scotch (Laphroaig) and repaired to one of those wingback chairs by the fire for a spell. That made the whole evening worthwhile.

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