If I had never been told by a friend about the Oregon Club (http://theoregonclub.com/Home_Page.html), I might never have had the pleasure of dining there.
Nestled on a country road in Ashland, the Oregon Club is a quaint destination that should not be overlooked. According to their website:
The Oregon Club was born as “The Briasco Inn” in 1922, founded by Giuseppe Briasco. At first glance, the Briasco Inn was a popular local rooming house that served just spaghetti and steaks to the neighborhood, but the Inn also functioned as a speakeasy. When prohibition ended in 1933, the Briascos renamed their restaurant The Oregon Club and made it members-only to continue offering their guests the privacy they enjoyed. Giuseppe turned over the business to his son John and wife Rena in the 50’s. Word continued to spread about the odd little farmhouse with such great food, and eventually the once private club was opened to the public. John and Rena retired in 1994 and handed over their much-loved restaurant to a new generation. Chef Chris Scanlon and Judy MacLeod, owners of the Oregon Club since 2009, met at the Oregon Club many years ago. Both were enamored by the history and the potential in this funky little spot. When the opportunity came to take over, they jumped at the chance and have not looked back since.
We have visited twice now and each visit has been spectacular. Paying homage to the Club’s speakeasy past, we of course started with a brace of classic cocktails, each well-prepared.
The Negroni was perfectly balanced and refreshing, as was the Martini.
The appetizer list is plentiful, but we stuck with a pair of Caesar Salads. Both were crisp and fresh with a tangy dressing and for those who like “hairy fish,” the anchovies were plentiful.
Because the restaurant is known for steaks, we stuck with the special – Grilled Marinated Flank Steak, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans, and the 12-oz. New York Sirloin. The steaks were cooked perfectly to order and were tender and flavorful. On prior visits, we did have the Oregon “Club Steak,” which is an 8-oz. sirloin, smothered with wonderful sherry-caramelized onions. We can also vouch for the Pan-seared Duck Breast when it is available, as well as the Mushroom Pasta, which is Campanelle pasta tossed with wild mushrooms, crispy pancetta, Cippolini onion and sun-dried tomatoes all finished with white wine, olive oil, herbs and Romano cheese.
Desserts are all house made and are excellent – we had the Mousse and the Crème Brûlée, as well as a nice snifter of Eau de Vie, in this case, Grappa.
In fairness to some of the other restaurants I have reviewed, I need to take the Oregon Club to task for their wine list… The list is brief, but does contain some very nice selections that are both appropriate for the cuisine and reasonably priced. As I have noted in the past, I am a stickler for accuracy on a wine list, especially for a modest list that is managed as an insert on a clipboard-style drinks list. For starters, not all the wines are up-to-date. Case in point, we ordered a favorite, the 2012 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret which we had on a prior visit and was still listed. The server brought a CDP, but it was the 2014 Domaine de Châteaumar. When I asked why the change, the server appeared confused, until I showed that what was listed was in fact not what was brought. A return to the kitchen with questions, elicited the answer – the listed wine is no longer available, the one brought to table is the CDP on offer. We were told we could taste it and if we found it unsatisfactory we could return it, no charge. We plowed forward and the wine was fine. While this episode did not diminish our enjoyment and all worked out in the end, I do raise it as an issue given my focus on beverage service and especially given that the list is easily managed.
Table service was excellent. Our server was cheerful, helpful, professional and attentive. She was a joy and took very good care of us. Overall, our experiences have been exceptional and we give the Oregon Club our highest recommendation!