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Pacific Northwest

Lincoln City, OR, a report and update (avoid Oceanus in Depoe Bay!) - long

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Lincoln City, OR, a report and update (avoid Oceanus in Depoe Bay!) - long

Jill-O | Jan 18, 2005 01:51 PM

OK, since the Blackfish Cafe was closed, I went armed with some new recs from y'all and here's what we found this past weekend...

Drove up on Friday and tried to stop at the Otis Cafe for a slice of pie and cup of coffee, but at 3pm (yup, not lunch, not dinner!) there were no seats at either tables or the counter...ok, then... We headed to the motel instead of waiting.

Had dinner at the Wildflower Grill on Friday night, at the north end of Lincoln City on 101 just before the Road's End turnoff near the BiMart shopping center. I had a great stuffed pork chop with apples and raisins, my dining partner had an amazing marionberry and hazelnut duck. Mashed potatoes were good, too. HUGE portions for the price (the pork chop was massive) and too full for dessert. They are open for dinner every night but Sunday from 4-7pm (the are open for breakfast at 7am, but the close down from 3-4pm to prepare for dinner service). This place is very popular with local folks as well as visitors.

Breakfast was at the Otis Cafe on 18 just a few miles east of where it meets 101 at the Otis Junction. A great and huge cinnamon roll, eggs and bacon cooked as ordered and their yummy homemade whole wheat bread - very good, as usual. My dining partner's bacon waffle wasn't as good as some other things I have had there. I like my waffles light and thick and crispy and this wasn't.

Dinner Sat. night was at Oceanus in Depoe Bay. It's right on the water just north of all the shops and the harbor on 101. It's a tiny place, only about 11 tables - 8 of them for 4, 3 of them for 2. As the sun set and it got dark, it was very dark in the restaurant. I'd say you have to make reservations, but please, don't do that, avoid this place. The small menu is absurdly overpriced for what you get, even by coast standards (where meals are generally more costly because you are in a high tourist area). My dining companion and I started with a bowl of steamer clams appetizer. They were overpriced at $12.95. They were seriously overcooked and rubbery. They came with two small barely toasted (though an attempt was made) slices of sourdough baguette. And because we shared this appetizer, THEY CHARGED US AN EXTRA $2. It does say on the menu that there is a $2 charge to share a plate...but they do not only mean entrees. Note to these idiots: if you are going to charge an extra $2 for an already overpriced appetizer, at least have the good sense to provide an extra crust of lousy bread or two, instead of just an extra bowl. When the server cleared the bowl away, she commented, "Wow, so much good juice left over!" which my dining companion and I took to be a push for us to order a $2 plate of bread (and the bread wasn't even good enough to justify that, although we were not going to do it anyway - and then they probably would have charged us $4 - $2 for the bread, and $2 to share it! ;o). My dining companion had a bowl of onion soup which was OK, but topped with a thin piece of that mediocre bread which had a tiny bit of grated parmesan that had been melted (and which was now hard) on the top. Lousy presentation for a mediocre soup. I had the clam chowder. They charged an extra $1 for me to have the clam chowder with my meal instead of the onion soup or a salad. May I say that on the menu, if I ordered the onion soup, as opposed to the clam chowder, that there was a price difference of LESS than $1. Why would they charge MORE than that to someone who was actually paying for an entree? As chowder goes (it came with a small bag of FREE oyster crackers!) it was mediocre - too heavily flavored by bacon, not enough by the clams and too salty. For our main courses, we ordered cioppino and a hazelnut crusted halibut with mashed and spinach. The cioppino ($21) was terrible. More rubbery clams, disgustingly overcooked fish and shrimp, and a not too bad claw and body piece of crab. Messy, as the crab was not shelled (or even partially cracked...but the crab was the only really edible part of this). The tomato-based broth/sauce was too thick, tasted too heavy and sweet and burnt - yuk. The halibut was OK, but not great. The potatoes were watery, the sauce tasted like the constarch that was used to thicken it wasn't cooked enough, and the piece of fish that came (on top of the potatoes instead of the spinach - we think to make it look bigger) was absurdly small for the $18 price. Couldn't wait to get out of here, didn't want to be disapppinted by dessert and had absolutely no intention of giving them an extra $2 to share one. What a disappointing meal. Also, we spent the night and part of the next day feeling less than good...and those clams were the only thing we shared that night that could have done that...

Next day was breakfast at the Wildflower Grill. I had my standby of eggs over easy, crispy bacon and very crispy hashbrowns and it came as ordered. The thick cut bacon here is really good. Although the Wildflower bread that comes with is tasty, I don't like the fact that they grill it as it doesn't get toasted enough for me and it is too greasy. Partner had the eggs benedict and she was happy - I tasted the hollandaise and thought it was bright and nicely flavored. Breakfast for 2 was about $15-20. This place has a nice atmosphere and great service. We also had breakfast here on Monday morning and tried the blueberry pancakes and french toast. We agreed that we liked the egg breakfasts better...

Dinner Sunday night was at the Side Door Cafe (next to Eden Hall) in Gleneden, about 1/2 mile south of Salishan, off of 101 on the Gleneden Beach Loop. This is a nice space - big, yet warm and comfortable and inviting. (Ladies room has chalk boards on just about every wall, including in the stalls...very amusing.)Best wine list of all the places we went all weeekend, though we didn't drink all weekend. We started with pan-fried oysters (around $8) and they were great - crispy yet light coating with wonderful rich oysters within. I liked the spinach they came on, which had a bit of beer in the finish, but the dining partner didn't. We had the hazelnut crusted pork medallions in cherry-mango sauce and the crab cakes for entrees (both under $20)- both came with mashed and veggie mix of carrots, parsnips (yay! love em! why don't more places use 'em?), and onions. Crab cakes were very, very good - creamy and crabby with not too much filler...and 3 on the plate. Pork itself was good, though the sauce was a bit too sweet for my taste. Too full for dessert, unfortunately (some nice selections), and we didn't want to push it since we were still 'recovering' a bit from the previous nights' dinner. Looks like they have a nice lunch menu, too. Like Arnold, I'll be back...

To recap, good experiences at the Wildflower Cafe in Lincoln City for breakfast and dinner, at the Otis Cafe for breakfast, and at the Side Door Cafe in Gleneden for dinner; really bad experience at Oceanus in Depoe Bay for dinner. (And, as a bonus, the alternate names we came up with for this place are: "Oh sh*t, it's heinous!," "Oh sh*t, please save us!," and, of course..."Ocean's Anus")

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