Long known as the fine-dining establishment at the Seventh Mountain Resort, Seasons has a new look — a casual one. And it works.
In keeping with the recent property makeover undertaken by the entire Century Drive resort, Seasons now focuses on deli-style delivery of quality breakfasts and lunches. The list of dinner entrees is down to three very moderately priced choices, plus occasional specials.
In the context of this popular family-oriented resort, it makes sense.
Executive chef O.J. Robinson and his team cater plenty of meetings in Seventh Mountain's newly expanded conference space. But their first priority is resort guests, most of whom seem to want to keep their family meals light and informal instead of stuffy.
Today, visitors to Seasons enter through an outdoor patio, framed by aspens and pines, where diners gather at tables that surround an open fire pit.
They order meals from friendly servers who attend a broad counter, then deliver the food outside, or to a handful tables and booths in the bright deli area. There's also a television den adjoining, where families may want to shepherd kids on inclement days.
After 3 p.m. daily, when the adjacent RimRock Lounge opens, diners may choose to take their meals in that library-like lounge, beside bookshelves or a stone fireplace. This is the only section of the restaurant where there is start-to-finish table service.
My first visit to the new Seasons was a morning one. My dining companion and I ordered an omelet and a breakfast hash, respectively.
Then we sat down with cups of good brewed coffee that the servers were faithful about refilling.
My country omelet ($11) was made with chunks of sausage, red onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, and was topped with melted cheddar cheese. Even better than the eggs were the coarsely chopped potatoes, sauteed with a sprinkle of fresh rosemary.
I was disappointed that I was offered no choice of toast; simple white bread was presented with a tasty huckleberry jam. Slices of orange and strawberries, along with a handful of blueberries, provided a finishing garnish.
My companion's smoked chicken hash ($10) was described on the menu as “griddled smoked chicken and potato hash with poached eggs and sage hollandaise." It was a rich and buttery hash, with generous chunks of chicken breast and peppery spices. The hollandaise sauce was not overdone; the flavor of sage was merely a pleasant suggestion.
Dinner in the bar
When we later returned for dinner, the sometimes raucous alternative rock music playing in the RimRock Bar was hardly in keeping with the stately elegance of the room. But that was one of our few complaints, as we were served an excellent meal.
My companion and I started with two Dungeness crab cakes ($12) from Oregon coastal fisheries. These were some of the best I've had in Central Oregon. They were solid crab, with no evident breading as filler; lemon aioli and chive vinaigrette added complementary flavors.
Next, we shared a house salad ($7) of fresh heirloom greens with sliced strawberries and chevre (goat) cheese. But there were some faults: The menu had promised sugar snap peas; they were nonexistent. The champagne vinaigrette was barely enough to coat the bottom of the bowl, so we requested more. Two slices of focaccia bread tasted as if they had picked up some undesired flavor from the grill on which they were heated.
My entree choice was char-grilled tri-tip ($14). Cooked medium rare as per my request, it was served with a rich, dark sauce of Northwest syrah wine and seasonal wild mushrooms. The gravy also went nicely with the coarsely mashed Yukon Gold potatoes that accompanied.
My friend had whole pan-seared rainbow trout ($16), fileted and stuffed with a blend of crab, spinach and bacon. It was delicious. Almond butter sauce accented the crispy skin of the fish, served with sliced, herb-roasted potatoes.
Both entrees were presented with seasonal vegetables, in this case perfectly cooked zucchini, yellow squash and carrots with a liberal sprinkle of fresh garden herbs.
Although the young woman who served us in the RimRock Bar displayed a laid-back personality, she was attentive and professional, delivering our food in a timely fashion and addressing all of our requests.
Meet the chef
Robinson, 39, is a native of Bend. A 1992 graduate of Mountain View High School and a graduate of the Central Oregon Community College culinary program, he has worked at many Bend eateries, including the old Beef and Brew and Honkers restaurants, the Riverhouse, the Deschutes Brewery Public House and the Widgi Creek Golf Course.
He took charge of the Seventh Mountain kitchen in April 2009.
“We serve the freshest food we can, with as many local ingredients as possible," Robinson said. “I like to make straightforward food, from scratch."
Angel Thai-Westside will officially celebrate its grand opening Saturday with a performance of Americana folk-rock by the LuckyJack Band. Cover charge is $3 for the show, slated for 7:30-10 p.m. The Thai restaurant — whose main location is at 1900 N.E. Division St., Bend — is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, dinner 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. 1444 N.W. College Way, Bend; 541-385-9191, www.angelthaicuisines.com.
The Coyote Ranch Steakhouse, its new Ranch Hall sports and events center complete, now opens for lunch as well as dinner. Happy hour in the Ranch Hall is 3 to 6 p.m.; it has shuffleboard, pool tables and big-screen TVs. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner 4:30 p.m. to close. 1368 S. Highway 97, Redmond; 541-548-7700, www.coyote-ranch.com.
China Express has opened in south Redmond, in the former location of Bento Boys. A selection of 54 chicken, beef, shrimp and other dishes are priced mostly in the $6.50 to $9.50 range. Open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day. 2498 S. U.S. Highway 97, Redmond; 541-504-8882.