Nehalem River Inn was closed when we were at the coast this weekend so we asked Nicole where to go. She said the best place (other than theirs of course ;o) was Yummy in Seaside. Having been to just about every restaurant recommended restaurant near Manzanita, we went with very little in the way of expectations. We've been disappointed in many places over the years and it often seems that this part of the coast is a culinary wasteland. Well, this time it was different...
The place is easy to find on Broadway - if you're going north on 101, make a left at the second light you hit in Seaside (the one right near Safeway) and it is a half block down on your left. This time of year there is plenty of free street parking.
It's a casual place with concrete floors, some comfy couches and chairs near a fireplace and some tables in the front and the back, some 2-tops, some 4-tops. The 60s/70s lighting (including a lava lamp here and there and few plastic pendants) is present, but doesn't take over an otherwise comfortable space. The art on the walls and the menu changes every few months.
The menu has a lot of nice choices on it and includes about 6 apps, 4-6 salads/soups, and around 6-8 entrees (none over $19). In addition, they offer a $25 three course special menu and a happy hour menu. The wine list is really good, some local OR/WA choices, some from CA, some from Europe, some from New Zealand/Australia. Many very reasonable ($20-40/bottle) choices and many available by the glass AND by the taste (about a 2oz. pour). When trying to decide on a wine to go with my main course, I was brought two small tastes (a few sips each) of 2 wines (one an albarino from Spain I had not had before, one a Sylvan Ridge (Rogue Valley) viognier) to help me decide.
The food was really good. I started with the seafood chowder which was creamy, herby, and bacony and had a lot of nice seafood (salmon, clams, bay shrimp) in it. I was especially impressed that the bay shrimp were tender and not overcooked. It was one of the best bowls of chowder that I have had in a long time. My SO had the spinach and bacon salad with blue cheese, a caesar-y dressing, croutons and a ring of balsamic glaze around it. It was a very tasty salad and a generous portion.
I ordered the prosciutto-wrapped scallops with parsnip puree and shaved fennel salad. It was delicious with the scallops perfectly cooked and buttery, bright and creamy parsnips, crisped and salty proscuitto, crunchy and cool fennel and lightly dressed bitter greens cutting through the richness of the dish. The soy, caper raisin brown butter sauce was on the side between the scallops and added a lot to dish without overpowering it. Great combo of flavors and textures and great quality of ingredients on the plate. Three large scallops with plenty of other things for $17 for the plate - a great value. SO had the lamb loin with mashed sweet potatoes in a cherry/port demiglace. Lovely sauce, nice serving of lamb that looked perfectly cooked and all for under $20 (it was $19).
I was really full after two rich courses and a couple of glasses of wine, so we shared an interesting dessert wine - a local Willamette Valley chardonnay ice wine. Nice sweetness but not cloying and a nice end to a great meal. We had terrific service, great food (2 courses each), great wine (4 glasses plus a couple of small tastes) and it all came to around $83. I would think that this would be a great deal here in Portland, but on the coast, it seemed almost crazy.