Jackalope Grill, Bend Oregon
Jackalope GrillThis weekend we had the opportunity to visit the Jackalope Grill which is oddly located in a strip mall off of HWY 97 by the Blockbuster near Fred Meyers. The wife and I go out to eat fairly often as you may have noticed from all the posts. But it can get rather expensive if you do appetizers, desserts, drinks or if you visit the more spendy places. We were excited to try something new and from what we could tell by the online menu, it was going to be on the fine dining side of things...a special treat for us.
After our evening at the Jackalope Grill, I will recommend it to anyone that is looking for a great meal. The food was fantastic, prepared perfectly, nice presentation, each dish served with perfect timing, and our waitress absolutely rocked. The next time we visit, we are definitely going to ask to sit in Melinda's section and I recommend you do the same. That's not to knock the rest of the staff, I'm sure they're great as well but for this great experience, Melinda sealed the deal.
I know this sounds like gushing but it was really that good. But you know I can't post about a place without saying something negative and I have two minor issues. I would like an arrow, a sign, a map, something to help me know where to go when I come through the doors. I'm used to the hostess being right up front and that's not the case here. I need my hand holded.
When you go through the front doors, your only option is to turn to your left, then right, then you're standing there with an option to go back towards the kitchen or turn to your left and enter into the dining area or go to the bar. But with the decor, we couldn't quite tell where we were supposed to go, we couldn't see the hostess station.
This wasn't that big of a deal at all as it worked out and we were promptly seated. But I noticed three other couples do the exact same thing with the exact same look of confusion. It was comical for me to watch and wonder if anyone was looking at me with the same amusement only an hour before.
When Melinda gave us our menu's she went into detail over the specials of the evening. I heard Elk and said yes. I don't get the opportunity to have Elk very often so I wanted to give it a try. The Elk was prepared in a Shiraz reduction which was infused with rosemary and topped off with blackberries served over horseradish mashed potatoes. And then some green things that I couldn't identify.
This plate left our table almost spotless. The wife and I made sure each got their share equally. We devoured this dish and even the asparagus was grubbin. Our first WT moment of the night was probably when we mopped up the reduction with the complimentary loaf of bread on the table.
While the Elk appetizer was being prepared, Melinda let us know that the day's soup was Elk barley. Well, we were both thinking of getting soup but since we just ordered the Elk starter, we decided to skip soup or salad and get another app, the steamer clams served in a garlic-tarragon broth:
Sadly, there wasn't any Chorizo added like at 38 Degrees but they were still good. Second and final complaint for Jackalope Grill was that we both found quite a substantial amount of sand or grit or whatever you want to call it in the clams. I mentioned it right off and the wife disagreed at first but shortly after said that she had bit down on a lot as well.
That didn't stop us from our second WT moment as we sopped up the garlic broth with the remainder of the bread. The broth was that good.
For our main course the wife opted for one of the specials, the trio of pork tenderloins prepared in a scrumptious cherry, balsamic vinegar reduction served with garlic mashed taters. The sauce was delicious and the pork was like butter. I'm not sure if I could have eaten a whole plate of it as the sauce was very sweet. But the wife likes the sweet stuff (that's right, just like me) so she enjoyed it immensely. No photo though, she took two photos and thought the second one came out, it didn't...rookie.
I went for the “The Cowboy Moved To Bend” New York Steak, medium rare, topped with blue cheese butter and "savory" onion jam served with regular mashed potatoes. Steak and spuds...yup. Now, I'm not sure what can be savory about onions or even what an onion jam would be but I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm generally not a big fan but I assumed the onions would be sauteed or I could just slide them off. But, as onion jam goes, it was quite good.
The steak was perfect and the wife enjoyed my veggies. I normally would ask for some horseradish to go with my steak (or ketchup "MMM mmm, nothing brings out the flavor of a steak like some ketchup" - redneck in the movie Waiting). But with the blue cheese / onion jam butter stuff on top, this steak had enough going on. I've eaten my share of good and alright steaks in town and this one is by far the best steak I've had in Bend.
So for those keeping score we had Elk, clams, pork tenderloins, steak, three different types of mashed potatoes, and grilled veggies. Yeah, that's quite the scorecard. And...quite the bill. As you can see from the online menu, the Jackalope is not the least expensive place in town. But when we were driving off we talked about it and both agreed that it was well worth it.
I can't wait to have an excuse to go back.