The menu is a bevy of seemingly lowbrow dishes like cheese steak, pot pie, corn dogs and meatloaf. Once the dishes arrive it is evident that the play on words is the only lowbrow thing about this meal. The Blacksmith Cheese Steak is a melt-in-your-mouth combination of beef tenderloin strips on a crispy crostini, caramelized pearl onions, wild mushrooms, leeks and a creamy potato sauce infused with truffle essence all topped with shaved Tumalo Farms Pond Hopper cheese - not exactly the greasy deli sandwich popular on the other coast.
All the dishes are take-offs on classic Americana comfort food elevated to a unique level of creativity. The "pot pie," for example, is made with lobster - as are the corn dogs. The meatloaf is made with panko instead of regular breadcrumbs and topped with a fire-roasted tomato demi-glaze. The surf and turf arrives as a chile cured beef strip loin served with seared ahi tuna. And the list goes on. To take it one step further, General Manager and Sommelier Kevin Gilman offers expert advice on which wine to pair with your particular tastes and food. He has an adventurous way of complimenting flavors and an approach that may bring something new to your dining and sipping experience. He is overflowing with useful information, some of which he uses to run informal blind wine tastings every Monday at noon where staff and the public are encouraged to sip and share bottles they have supplied.
The Blacksmith is no stranger to culinary or critical success. When the Blacksmith Restaurant opened, it was heralded as one of the best new dining spots, and not just in Central Oregon. (Condé Nast named it one of the top 66 new restaurants in the world in 2004.)
As with any endeavor, there are highs and lows. And over the last few years the Blacksmith seemed to slip from its pedestal. Complaints about visually appealing, but flat tasting food and inconsistent service started to circulate. Never one to sit back, McMichael listened and refocused his energy and attention on the restaurant. The result is a return to top form for the Blacksmith.
With a revitalized menu featuring adventurous food, wine and a revamped atmosphere, there's nothing not to like at the new Blacksmith. It's got friendly, attentive, knowledgeable service; superb food and beautiful aesthetics - not to mention the new bar where I was compelled to spend some time. The whole experience, is just that, an experience. This isn't just fine dining - McMichael and his staff know that savvy diners need more than that - they need to have adventure within familiarity, comfort within experimentation. McMichael listened and has succeeded again.The Blacksmith Restaurant - $$$
211 NW Greenwood Ave, 318-0588