Monday, September 17, 2018

McMenamins at Cedar Hills Crossing - Stepping It Up

As I've said in past blogs, Cedar Hills Crossing is undergoing a major renovation. For, at least, 30 years Mcmenamins (a local chain of brew houses) has had a restaurant within the parking lot, across from the end of the main mall. While it was never a dive bar by any means, I'd always found it to be cramped and noisy. The food was OK, but one usually went there for the selection of whiskeys and exclusive beers.

The old restaurant has been torn down, and replaced by a new larger establishment across the street at 2885 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR 97005. The new place opened this summer. Since my friend had just finished her surgical rotation for medical school, and was about to leave town for her infectious diseases rotation, I used the occasion as an excuse to check out the new Mcmenamins.

| Subject: Ale-Battered Alaskan Cod, Fresh-Cut Fries, Tartar Sauce, Ranch Dressing, and Buttermilk Coleslaw | Date: 09/12/2018 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell |
We arrived at 11:30 on a Wednesday for an early lunch.  The place had only been open for half an hour, so it wasn't crowded yet.  As I went in, the first things I noticed were the high ceiling and the roomier dining room which surrounded the well stocked bar. The highlight of the dining room is gorgeous brick wood burning fire place resting just under a big screen TV. The decor alone was a definite step up, and made me anxious to try their food.

I started with a pint of McMenamins' Ruby Ale.   The ale is slightly sweet with a hint of raspberry, without being cloying or jammy.  I found it to be refreshing and easy to drink.

For lunch I ordered the two-piece Ale-Battered Fish & Chips meal (wild Alaskan cod, fresh-cut fries, tartar sauce & buttermilk coleslaw) for three-piece meal is also available for $16.50.

I've found that deep fried fish can easily be soggy and greasy when coming the kitchen of a bar.  This wasn't the case this time.  My fish was perfectly crispy, well seasoned, and hot.   I'm not sure if the accompanying tartar sauce was made in-house or was from a jar, but was creamy, tangy, and sweet complimenting the flaky white cod superbly.  Likewise, the skin-on fries were piping hot and delightfully salty.

My only disappointment was in the "Buttermilk" Coleslaw.  To be fair, I'm a fan of slaws on the creamy side of the spectrum.  This was a vinegar-based coleslaw with little, if any, mayonnaise or other creamy element to speak of.  While buttermilk is in the name of salad, I only tasted the vinegar and a weird hint of horseradish.

My friend, Kara, began with the house Kölsch.   Having had bad experiences with Kölsch style beers, I passed up the opportunity to try a sip of hers.  However, she said it wasn't overly hoppy and was easy to drink.

To eat, she ordered the Mai Thai Crab Roll (red curry crab salad, lettuce, cucumber, onion, cilantro, jalapeño & fried shallots with Sriracha mayo on a butter-grilled lobster roll) for $12.00.  Kara let me try a few bites of her sandwich, and I'm glad she did.

The thick-cut toast was crispy and noticeably buttery; it would have been delicious on its own next to some eggs and bacon.  As a vehicle for a sandwich, it sheathed a delectable crab salad. The seafood rich filling was creamy, salty, and just spicy enough to be tasty without being tongue searingly hot.  It was a very well balanced sandwich, which I'll be going back for.

The new facility is unquestionably a step up from what they had been.  Not only is the atmosphere more inviting and comfortable, but the food is of a superior quality.  McMenamins at Cedar Hills Crossing has earned 8 out of 10 stars, only losing points for the coleslaw.  I will be back.

No comments:

Post a Comment