(Photos by WAVEjourney.com)
If you haven’t tried Chops, you’re missing out. For starters, the Sisters restaurant, which features live entertainment Friday, Saturdayand Sunday evenings, is downright beautiful, with its high ceiling, rustic beamsand posts,and wood-burning, floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace. Even better, the food lives up to its surroundings in a monster way. Every dish we tried showcased Chef Grant Dixson’s masterful hand when it comes not only to taste but to texture.
My food posseand I started out with a round of first-rate craft cocktails, hot bread studded with caraway seedsand served with roasted garlic, thymeand shallot butter,and one of the best scallop dishes we can remember. Wrapped in bacon, the scallops were beautifully searedand still creamy inside. Crispy meets satinyand salt meets sweet brininess, topped with a lick-the-plate citrus, vermouth butter sauce.
Next we moved to the silky, house-smoked steelhead. Piled on a toast point with the accompanying cranberryand serrano chile remouladeand you not only got the chef’s signature play of textures, but a subtle note of back-end heat that would be re-echoed throughout the meal.
That suggestion of spiciness perfectly countered the sweetness in the scratch-made butternut squash soup.
The Autumn salad, with fennel, pecans, apple, gold raisins in a tart sageand oregano brown butter vinaigrette was just as good. We all remarked that during Happy Hour, one of the best salads I’ve had in any restaurant can be topped with the steelhead for just $7.
All too often, entrées don’t live up to an eatery’s creative starters. That was definitely not the case here.
The Pescatore, billed as bouillabaisse but more of a cioppino, featured enormous, head-on shrimp, diver scallops, mussels, clamsand calamari—all as tender as can be—in a pernod-laced, ever-so-slightly piquant tomato sauce. As flavorsome as this seafood stew was, the entrées just got better from there.
The melt-in-your-mouth, farm-raised boar tenderloin tasted like a cross of porkand beef. “This is my new favorite,” said Leah, who’s not a particular pork fan. The meat’s brandy-and-cider glaze along with the accompanying yams, sautéed asparagusand thin slices of persimmon provided the perfect foil to the boar.
The delectable Anderson Ranches rack of lamb was served medium rare with a nutand red pepper-based Romesco sauce, sautéed beech mushroomsand tomato,and a crispy, rich risotto cake. Yum.
I was already imagining ordering the duck breast—which I knew would feature crackling skinand succulent meat—upon my return when dessert hit. And that sealed the deal. All three showcased that now-familiar, scrumptious composition of tasteand texture.
The decadent chocolate mousse was layered with roasted strawberries, chocolate crumble made from almost caramelized sugar mixed with sixty percent dark chocolateand an espresso sabayon.
A tang of citrus imparted freshness to the rich key limeand avocado cheesecake, while a pecan crust added a nutty crunch.
The number one hit on the dessert parade, however, had to be the warm fig bread pudding served with caramel sauceand rum-raisin ice cream. Serious wow! I wish I had some right now.
“We are dedicated to making Chops one of the best restaurants in the area,” owners Tracy Syavovitzand Chef Grant Dixson write on their website. I would say they’ve absolutely succeeded.
370 E Cascade Ave., Sisters
Hours: Open Daily
Happy Hour: 3-5 pm, dinner: 5pm-close