By Laurel Brauns
If you are down in the Old Mill District, Greg’s Grill with its monumental architecture and prominent address is hard to miss. But to Bend Restaurant connoisseurs, Greg’s Grill is considered a not to be missed destination with the best steaks in town and priceless views of the Cascade Mountains.
Imagine sitting on a patio table by the Deschutes River as kayakers splash by and the sky changes from pink to peach to purple before your eyes. You order a “Hayley’s Pomopolitin,” made with real pomegranate juice and sugar rim. After a long day out on the river, a few appetizers are in order, and Greg’s has a large enough selection to create a whole meal for those who like to try a little bit of everything. Take, for instance, the Mediterranean Plate with Greg’s homemade hummus. It sounds simple enough, but when paired with Greek olives and sweet yellow and red peppers that have only a hint of smoke, this is the kind of dish that will keep the whole family satiated as you ponder Greg’s Grill selection of grilled specialties.
While you are ordering appetizers, also consider the Zesty Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Unlike countless other versions of this side I’ve tried at area restaurants, Greg’s is made lighter by generous chucks of tomatoes and onions so the experience is more like tasting a savory salsa than a warmed bowl of cheese and spinach. Other notables include the Semolina Crusted Calamari that will disappear from the table before it has made complete contact, and the Sesame Seared Ahi, which is sashimi-grade and lightly seared, with a sake-soy and wasabi glaze is as fresh as it should be.
For starters, I would recommend the Simple Greens with Goat Cheese salad. A simple mix of mesclun, romaine and spinach leaves; the red wine vinaigrette is prepared with a perfect balance of sweet and tart with a hint of creaminess enhanced by the fresh goat cheese. Another favorite is the Blue Grill Salad with a to-die-for house-made dressing.
As you ruminate over the plethora of entrée selections, consider these recommendations from our Visit Bend staff and volunteers, who enjoyed a wonderful night out at our new favorite restaurant in Bend.
Lynnette Braillard, Visit Bend’s Marketing Director, recommends the Prime Rib. “It was phenomenal, and I’m not even a meat lover.” She was won over by Greg’s delicate seasoning and slow roasting of the rib and its perfect pairing with au jus, seasonal vegetables and red jacket, garlic, mashed potatoes.
Valerie Warren, Visit Bend’s Volunteer Coordinator, was particularly impressed with the wine list which featured an exceptional collection of Pacific Northwest gems. She was surprised to see a Carménère, a special varietal of Chile. (Greg’s Grill Wine selection can be accredited to Greg’s recently promoted General Manager, Kirby Banta who was a wine purveyor in Napa Valley for years before moving to Bend, and Greg’s Food & Beverage Manager Albie Bjornborg who grew up tasting the fruits of the Pacific Northwest.)
Karen Sherman, Visit Bend’s Volunteer, was a huge fan of the Grilled Salmon. “I loved the chili-honey glaze and grilled pineapple; even the lemon-chive basmati rice was a real treat!”
Laurel Brauns, Visit Bend’s Welcome Center Manager, is a vegetarian and was happy to find that Greg’s served scrumptious Pesto Pasta topped with a generous portion of artichokes, sweet peppers and Greek Olives. “The added vegetables really made this dish and the pesto was nice and light, but a big enough portion so I could have some for lunch tomorrow too!”
And don’t even think about leaving before trying Greg’s Grill selection of deserts. On the light and sweet side, the sorbet - specially made by Goody’s just for Greg’s Grill - provides the perfect finishing touch. Or crack into the Crème Brulee, or dive into the lava flow chocolate volcano cake. The Willamette Valley Four Berry Cobbler topped with its poppy seed cake is baked to perfection and adorned with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.