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Oregon Coast: Nehalem River Inn

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Oregon Coast: Nehalem River Inn

Amanda | Dec 12, 2004 10:40 AM

Last weekend my man and I were in Nehalem and we ended up having one of the most memorable dinners I've eaten in years. Rates right up there with Cafe Brio in Victoria, BC.The place is in Nehalem, Oregon, or Mohler, if that can be called a town. It is off the beaten path on Hwy 53, but well worth finding and it is called The Nehalem River Inn. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but looks are deceiving. Certainly, bring a fat wallet or a credit card. You're going to need it, but I think you'll find it well worth it!My mate started off with the Organic Mixed Field Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Olives and Roquefort Cheese. I had the Roast Quail and Pears, Organic greens with a Pomegranate Vinaigrette. These salads were unbelievably fresh and delicious and were only the beginning of a remarkable meal. I was very impressed. My mate loved his salad! As for myself, the flavors of my dish were well-married and just heavenly to the palate. For entrees my mate ordered the Filet Mignon, which came with Truffled Macaroni, Roast Asparagus, Roquefort Cheese and a balsamic reduction glaze. I had a taste of it and it was wonderful! We thought mac n cheese kind of an oddity next to a steak, but this rich classy side dish was a delightful accompaniment. The asparagus was cooked just right and, even though I don't care for blue cheese, it's flavor melted with the balsamic reduction gave it a special taste unlike any other. The meat was already sliced. It was a unique dish.I had the Sauteed Halibut with Sweet Potato Puree, Onion Marmalade and Fried Leeks. It was to die for. My halibut was expertly sauteed and it had a little crispness to the outside and the center was moist with a nice firm texture. Nothing dry about it. It was damn near perfect. Some might think the onion marmalade would seem overwhelming on the fish, but I found it worked well together, the two taken together in small bites. The fried leeks were light and crunchy. The sweet potato puree was WONDERFUL! I wish I knew what they did so I can make it at home. It was savory and I could have eaten dish after dish of it. For a simple starch I found it quite amazing.For dessert we had a Panna Cotta with fresh berries and it was terrific! The Panna Cotta was custardy. It was exactly like a Creme Brulee without the carmelization and char. The berries were FRESH! Soft, velvety and firm.Even though Nehalem is not most people's usual stop on the Coast, it is hiding quite the gem of a restaurant. We went as a special occasion since we were celebrating John's birthday. I REALLY, REALLY hope this place makes it. The food is fantastic. I think I'd drive all the way down there JUST to eat at that restaurant again (let alone the wonderful kayaking that can be had there), as long as I happened to have a spare $100 on me or my visa card. The chef is a young fellow named Ryan Hamic and he came out and talked with us since we were just ooohing and aaaahhhing over the food and asked the waitress to let him know our immense pleasure at the meal! He said they plan on renovating the space in the dead time of winter, so you may want to call ahead to make sure they are open when you go down there. The phone # is 503/360-7708. The Nehalem River Inn is now my #1 place to eat on the Coast. It is definitely worth the drive and the money. To have the chance to eat there is a meal not to be missed.Best regards,Amanda

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