Level 2 Global Restaurant and Lounge

There are roughly eight billion great restaurants in Bend, Oregon and when there’s a new kid in town, they’ve got a lot to prove. All eyes are on Level 2 these days, the Global Restaurant and Lounge in the Old Mill District. My two favorites things about Bend’s newest hot spot are as follows:

1. Location, location, location. Level 2:

1. is located in the very hip Old Mill District

2. has a balcony overlooking the Deschutes River

3. sits on top of a JEWELRY store (yes!)

2. Small, Medium, Large and Dessert: The Four Basic Food Groups.

I don’t cook much, but I love good food. So my family and I happily gorged ourselves on Level 2’s expansive menu the other night. We shared a titillating range of selections, including small plates (spring rolls and ahi poke) to medium plates (ettoufee and BLT salad) to full-on steak and potato-esque dinners.

To Expound:

The Building: Level 2 takes up the intimate second floor the old pump house – an historic building in the Old Mill District that has been re-purposed into a very cool, mindustrial (modern industrial) retail building. With exposed brink, turquoise leather booths and splashy art throughout, revelers at Level 2 enjoy a great urban vibe.

The Balcony: Everyone loves a balcony, especially in a city like Bend, where the Deschutes River runs through the middle of it. But particularly in the Old Mill District where the buzz of shoppers, diners and recreationalists filters along the promenade next to the river. From Level 2’s deck, you can view it all, including live music in the summer months at the nearby amphitheater.

The Jewelry Store: Walking into Saxon’s Fine Jewelers http://www.saxonsfinejewelers.com/ is like walking into a splendidiforous candy store, with sparkling confections in every corner: Rolex, Waxing Poetic, Roberto Coin and Simon G, Hearts on Fire diamonds, the gems go on and on. Part and parcel of the historic building and hip vintage-to-urban vibe, Saxon’s is not a place you want to miss when you visit Bend and the Old Mill District.

The Food: Finally! With eight billion great restaurant choices in Bend, a successful restaurant has to offer more than a hoppin’ atmosphere. Which brings us to the food.

The menu at Level 2 comes in four basic food groups, small, medium, large and dessert:

The Small Plates range from $3 to $7 and the offerings include smoked salmon crostini, marinated tiger prawn gazpacho coolers, cheese steak egg rolls with gorgonzola mornay sauce and many others fit to share or savor alone.

The Medium Plates are more filling, costing $9-$10, and include steamed mussels, udon noodle soup, and the Level 2 Burger – no ordinary burger affair. For dinner, my favorite dish was the pork tenderloin medallions served with sweet potato purée, cippolini onion mango chutney, caramelized tomato, red wine jus, and dressed baby greens. Other choices include New York steak, risotto with oven-roasted chicken breast, and macadamia nut-crusted halibut. These Large Plates range from $11 to $22.

Drum roll please: it’s time for Dessert! We shared, and equally loved, house-made chocolate ice cream, pumpkin cheesecake, brownie cheesecake with chocolate ganache and a red velvet cupcake.

We rolled ourselves out of Level 2, dallied in the jewelry store, and then walked along the river to our car: completely delighted.

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