If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that Monday was my birthday and we had a fabulous dinner at Alchemy Restaurant and Bar in Ashland, Oregon.
What amazing food! What drew me to this place was how they talk about food on their website. They equate the alchemists of old to “The mixologist in his bar pouring and concocting to find the perfect balance. The chef in his kitchen pairing ingredients to acquire a spectacular flavor profile.” They have a terrific philosophy and it absolutely comes through in their food.
We arrived a little early for dinner and went to the bar. The vibe was sort of organic-hip with a few tables outside by a small terraced garden and the inside dominated by their beautifully-displayed liquor. The three women tending bar were immediately welcoming and helped us with a Whistling Pig “Boss Hog” bourbon for Brian and a perfectly dirty vodka martini for me. Whistling Pig is a higher end bourbon that you won’t find in many restaurants, so that was a great find. You might even want to take a look at their spirits and wine lists online before you get there just to save yourself 15 minutes of reading. They’re extensive and even include a large variety of bitters!
Both of our meals were incredibly good and our server was excellent. I threw her some challenges by asking her to advise me on a couple of things, the first of which was my salad course. I opted for their Stuffed Endive – lovely light endive leaves with goat chevre, microgreens, toasted sesame seeds, grapefruit, and a light mustard vinaigrette. It was the perfect way to refresh after an afternoon in the sun and enjoy some vegetables without having a larger salad.
My second course was easily decided without help. It was my birthday after all, so the Filet Mignon was a must! The filet was perfectly mid-rare, with nicely-seasoned roasted corn, tomatoes, grilled shrimp, and a fabulous strawberry demi-glace. This course epitomized their alchemical philosophy. Some might think the strawberry would be odd, but it added just the right amount of acid and held just a hint of sweetness. It really was amazing with the filet. Oh and my lovely, very dirty martini is shown behind it.
The finale for my evening was the A-Maize-ing Cake – and it was amazing! The base was a perfectly moist, light corn cake with mixed berry purée, ricotta ice cream, and caramel sauce. The flavor layers were superb! The cake itself was so flavorful that I could have eaten a bowl of that alone and been very happy. Those who know my love of caramel might find that hard to believe, but it’s true! I included a nice glass of Cardamaro (recommended by our server) to go with it.
Brian said he felt his meal was “unbelievable”. He started with their Chef’s Soup, which was an apple and cucumber (cold) soup. He let me try a spoonful. It was so light and refreshing! Brian says “It was extraordinarily balanced. The cucumber was forward, and the apple brought the sweetness to balance it out. It was extremely refreshing on a hot summer day.”
Brian’s main course was their Duck with arpano antica cherry reduction, king trumpet mushrooms, walnuts, and kumquat. Brian says it was “Fabulous! Excellently cooked, well-seasoned, and the accompanying cherry reduction with peaches and walnuts was amazing.”
Brian chose the Brown Butter Tart for his dessert course. It was a lovely brown butter shortbread crust with seasonal fruit, brown butter custard, and vanilla bean ice cream. I again was able to try a bite. It was SO good! Brian says “Scrumptious! The brown butter crust was a great combination reminiscent of toffee or caramel and graham crackers without being any of those things. It looks dense, but is very light and delicious. The flavor layering was perfect.”
As I mentioned, our server was excellent and the people supporting her were as well. Nothing is ever 100% perfect and we had two very minor hitches that were quickly resolved. Our server came to check on us after our desserts were brought out and, before I could even pick up my spoon, said they’d forgotten the caramel and whisked it away. I think I blinked twice before it was back in front of me properly drizzled with caramel. We also never received my leftovers box and were so involved with talking about how great the restaurant was that I didn’t even think to ask for it. They actually called me and offered to refrigerate it for me to pick up the next day. That, my friends, is outstanding service!
One final note. I would definitely make reservations even on a weeknight. Nearly every table was reserved on a Monday night, likely due to it being near the Oregon Shakespeare Festival venues.
If you’re ever in the Ashland or Medford area, we highly recommend splurging for a meal at Alchemy!
Be well, friends, and Live your Journey…