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Cafe Rosemary

Coast Mountains along the Torres Channel

Located well away from the hordes of new chic restaurants in Bend's thriving downtown, Cafe Rosemary is still the classiest and most outstanding restaurant in town.  Located now at 11th and Newport, it's unassuming location in an old house with a dimly lit sign on the ground doesn't catch your eye, nor does the pitch dark parking lot in the back.  However, as we approached the door, wondering what we had got ourselves into, the server opened the door for us and the chef greeted us personally. 

It was a Sunday night, and we were the only people there at 7:00 PM, but we figured that all the tourists had gone home earlier that day, and that locals were at home watching the AFC Championship game, rather than looking for a fine dining experience.  Our server showed us to our table in the back, next to the fireplace, which was lovely on a cold winter night in the desert.

The place settings were all eloquent, with smooth jazz like Louis Armstrong setting the mood.  The server took our coats, and returned promptly with two glasses of champagne.  He set up an easel at our table to explain to us the hand-written fixed price menu (no ala carte available).  It clearly listed the price at the top which we appreciated ($49.00), and he went over each selection in detail as we sipped our champagne, listened to jazz, and were warmed by the fireplace.

We had a choice of soups, entrees, and desserts - we took one of each of the Squash and Cream of Spinach soups, and selected the Rack of Lamb and Rack of Caribou.  Also on the menu was a Russian salmon dish (the server called it the best you'll ever have), and Pork filet with Rattlesnake Sausage.  I asked for a piece of the rattlesnake sausage to try, and he happily obliged, and gave me a full serving of the sausage with my entree at no extra charge.

The first course was a complimentary mussels appetizer - absolutely amazing - a great surprise.  Next came the soup, not the best we'd ever had but truly excellent.  Sandra liked the Squash soup the best, while I preferred the Spinach.  The salad course was out of this world - I would come back just for that.  After a Rosemary-Lime sorbet to cleanse our pallets, came the main course. 

The caribou was nothing short of phenomenal.  So tender, so astoundingly delicious, my mouth may have had an orgasm.  It was served with mashed potatoes which were a bit too thick and fairly average, a berry sauce that was above average but not outstanding, and delicious local vegetables, as well as my rattlesnake sausage that was delightful.  It would have gone well with the pork on the menu.

The lamb was prepared almost identically to the caribou, but Sandra ordered medium instead of medium rare, so it was not quite to the same level, but still exceptional.  It was salt-cured and a few crystals were still whole inside the meat, so she didn't like that, but it was only here and there.  The sides were the same as with the caribou.

After dinner, came the dessert (we were totally stuffed at this point).  Sandra opted for the bread pudding and I chose the berry cobbler with home made ice cream.  Both were to die for.  The bread pudding may have been the best we'd ever tasted, and perhaps the cobbler as well.  As we packed up to leave, the server and chef both thanked us, and saw us off.  We thanked them heartily as well - what a great dining experience from start to finish!  We raved about it all the way back to Redmond that evening.  We had a new favorite restaurant in Bend.

What we liked:  Fireplace, Jazz Ambience, Personally met by chef, Exceptional food, Introductory Glass of Champagne, unusual offerings, excellent service, open on Sundays and Mondays when nobody else in town is, place settings and tables, four entrees to choose from, friendly and knowledgeable server, complimentary appetizer.

What we didn't:  The sauces didn't stand out, and the mashed potatoes were too thick.  It would have been nicer if our two entrees weren't prepared the same way with the same sides.

Our Recommendation:  Our favorite restaurant in Bend - and that's saying something!  Great place for a special occasion.  Go on Mondays to hear live Jazz.  A real treasure.

Reservations:  Recommended on the weekends.

Entree Prices: Four course fixed price menu $49.00 per person.  With three glasses of wine between us, appetizer, soup, salad, champagne, entree and dessert, the total damage was $122.00 for two.

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Questions about Cafe Rosemary, or comments you want to share?  Let us know, we're happy to hear from you.

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