Sushi with miso soup at DeepSince Deep opened I have heard everything from rave reviews to bitter complaints about the downtown restaurant. Rarely were the complaints about the food or the atmosphere, but rather the price and the service. It was time I quit dabbling in the occasional appetizer and mixed drink and took the plunge - go hungry, thirsty and with time there's money to spare.
When we arrived, our reserved table was ready for us and artfully set with chopsticks resting on shiny stone pillows next to frosted glass soy dishes and crisp white napkins.
We started with some edamame, which was stir-fried with garlic and togarashi clinging to the warm, velvety skins; the flavors were salty, spicy and nutty. We ordered five more things off every part of the menu to start our meal. That sounds like a lot of food, but all the orders at Deep, regardless of price, are small and meant to be only part of a meal.
Our beverage of choice was sake - but which sake was the question. To help with our decision, we ordered the sake flight - three small portions of different types of rice wine. We settled on a lush and rich unfiltered sake called Sayuri that was creamy on the tongue with hints of cherry blossom, housed in a frosted pink bottle.
In my experience, Deep's attention to detail, presentation and overall quality of food have been superb. The standouts are the Kunomoto Fire and Ice, four tiny Japanese oysters balanced on shaped cubes of crushed ice and topped with two different sauces - a cool lime and cilantro and a hot habenero and pepper. The Chili Crusted Squid and Scallions are not the fried calamari so many restaurants serve, but a lighter more flavorful rendition with super tender tempura squid and sweet hot dipping sauce.
We also sampled several dishes, including the Kobacha fritters, a textured treat with a crunchy crust over creamy pumpkin filling; the Golden Dragon, a special roll comprised of soft-shell crab, mango, peanuts and Thai chili sauce; the lacquered spare ribs, a dish that arrived tender with a unique, slightly Asian flavor. We finished off with a fabulous dessert that changed my rather negative opinion of tapioca - the Coconut Soup.
Eating at Deep is unlike any other dining experience you're going to have in Central Oregon, but you do have to be willing to pay for it. Special rolls range from $7 to $19 and it's easy to run up a large tab with dinner and drinks.
But if we're going to continue to foster a culinary revolution, there must be room for all levels and kinds of dining experiences. Diversity is always good, and Deep, along with many other local restaurants, is doing something that will further Bend's reputation as a burgeoning foodie destination.Deep - $$$$
821 NW Wall Street. 323-9841. Open daily @ 5pm