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Apr
2

The Meadows at the Lodge recently received a great restaurant review from the Bend Bulletin. Here is what they had to say:

The Meadows is fine dining

The Sunriver Lodge restaurant is among the region's best

By John Gottberg Anderson / For The Bulletin / Last modified: March 31. 2013 8:42PM PST

Try not to be surprised when I tell you that I recently enjoyed one of my finest meals of the past year in The Meadows dining room at the Sunriver Lodge.

Sunriver doesn't often get the consideration it deserves from Central Oregon diners. Bend-area foodies might not have an issue with driving 22 miles to Sisters for dinner, but the thought of a 15-mile trudge to the Sunriver Resort may cause them to think twice.

Think again. The combination of a great atmosphere, superb service and well-prepared food from a veteran French chef is worthy of patronage far beyond the bounds of this resort community.

First, the ambience: There may be no more inviting place to watch the sun set over the Cascades than from the dining-room windows of The Meadows, looking west across golf fairways to Mount Bachelor. Low track lighting from high cathedral ceilings accents a carpeted room filled with dark-wood furniture, upholstered in leather with brass trim. Classical music sets the background tone.

Although service is not technically white tablecloth, it just as easily could be, right down to the napkin rings. (How often do you see those anymore?) Few Oregon restaurants, even in Portland, have a staff that is as universally efficient and attentive as the Meadows, a credit to Sunriver's director of restaurants, Maury Kepley. Empowered to assure patrons the best possible dining experience, their attitude is refreshing.

And then there's the food — Northwest regional cuisine prepared with the deft French culinary sensibility of executive chef Fabrice Beaudoin. A native of France, Beaudoin studied and trained with top-name chefs in Europe before establishing a longtime career at American resorts.

He spent 15 years at Colorado's Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, and two more years at Bend's Pronghorn Club, before taking the kitchen reins at Sunriver in early 2009.

Great dinner

The Meadows is currently on an abbreviated seasonal schedule, open for dinner only Friday and Saturday nights, as well as daily breakfasts. Other meals are served in the adjacent Owl's Nest lounge. In another month, according to Kepley, hours will expand, eventually reaching their daily full schedule by Memorial Day weekend.

But when my dining companion and I visited on a recent Saturday night, we felt that we got a fine preview of what The Meadows has to offer.

Warm dinner rolls and ice water — refilled with regularity over the course of our meal — were served within moments after we were seated and our orders taken.

I started with a cup of the restaurant's trademark “five onion soup." This version of traditional French onion soup combines red and yellow onions with shallots, scallions and leeks. Topped with French bread and a thick layer of melted gruyere cheese, it is served in a small tureen. I liked that the Meadows' soup was less salty than many I have had.

My companion began with chicken liver mousse, and she loved it. The paté was served like rillettes in a small jar, topped with a balsamic gel and served with toasted French bread from DiLusso Bakery. It was presented with cornichons, a wedge of tomato and a generous scoop of stone-ground mustard.

As an entree, I had a New York steak. It was perfect: 12 ounces, juicy, cooked medium rare with very little fat. My medium-size baked potato was served with all the trimmings: sour cream, chives, real bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese.

And it came with a nice medley of winter vegetables, Brussels sprouts and carrots tossed with parsnips and squash.

My friend's salmon entree was less pleasing to her despite a nice accompanying cranberry chutney. She found it to be unevenly cooked — not bad in the middle, but dry around the edges. Our server noticed her wince, and immediately asked, “What can I get you instead?"

Seeing how much I was enjoying my steak, she requested a flat-iron steak, cooked rare. It came with a delicious house-made Worcestershire sauce, and she was delighted.

For dessert, we shared silky-smooth, sour-cream cheesecake. It was outstanding.

Breakfast return

We returned a few days later for breakfast. Although the restaurant was much busier than it had been for our weekend dinner, and the kitchen as a result was not as speedy at preparing orders, the servers were every bit as attentive as on our evening visit.

The first order of breakfast business for us is always coffee, and here The Meadows let us down. The coffee was very, very bitter. I sipped my way slowly through a single cup. My companion immediately put it aside and had a latte delivered in its place.

Everything else was good. I opted for the “build-your-own" omelet, which offered a choice of a dozen ingredients. I requested every available vegetable — spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and onions — along with white cheddar cheese and sausage. The eggs were very good. So, too, were two slices of hazelnut-whole wheat toast.

I couldn't say the same for the breakfast potatoes, however. Sliced and fried, probably in vegetable oil, they were not properly drained before being placed on the plate. I found that anything but appealing.

My companion ordered a breakfast combination called the “Three Sisters." The peaks, I suppose, were her two eggs (overeasy, on request), two buttermilk pancakes and a choice of ham, bacon or mildly peppery sausage patties.

The pancakes came with a choice of candied walnuts, fresh bananas or chocolate chips, which I'm sure is a favorite with children. She asked that bananas be cooked into the cakes — which she enjoyed but might have liked even more had they been spread through the pancakes rather than being bunched in the center.

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