Madaline’s Grill

Food: () Extensive menu may lack creativity, but food is well prepared and served in generous portions

Service: () Friendly and efficient, with orders accurately taken and quickly delivered

Atmosphere: () Ample seating in a low-lit dining room without over-the-top Mexican flair

More Info

Location: 2414 S. Highway 97, Redmond

Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 6 a.m.to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Cuisine: Mexican and American

Price range: Breakfast $8 to $14, lunch $10 to $17, dinner $10 to $40

Kids’ menu: Yes

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Entree salads, pastas, veggie fajitas.

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: No

Reservations: Large parties only

Contact: madalines.com, 541-548-9964

For more area restaurant reviews, visit www.bend bulletin.com/restaurants

To understand how long Madaline’s Grill has been a fixture in Redmond, one need only consider that its namesake is now a young woman. Madaline (ma-da-LEE-neh) Peña was a toddler when her father, Pablo, established his restaurant on South Highway 97 in 2002.

No restaurant in this highly competitive industry can survive 15 years unless it’s doing something very right. Executive chef and owner Pablo Peña, who later also opened Diego’s Spirited Kitchen in downtown Redmond, makes a bold but simple statement on his marquee and his wall: “We Know Food,” accompanied by a logo sketch of a small, Kokopelli-type figure holding a giant fork.

Madaline’s, which bills itself as a grill and steakhouse, is not just a Mexican restaurant. Peña and staff are as adept at American-style cuisine as they are south-of-the-border slants. A menu of more than 150 items includes a long and hearty breakfast section, and everything from lobster enchiladas to peppercorn steak. And more international dishes include French crepes and Italian pastas and pork osso buco.

The atmosphere is festive but not overdone. The main dining room, which seats at least 80 at booths and tables, has been repainted a dark rose hue, and without the colorful serapes and sombreros so often seen in Mexican restaurants, lends itself to low-lit romance. A smaller adjoining space accommodates groups and overflow business.

Service, on both of my recent visits, was friendly and very efficient. A friendly hostess greeted me and my dining companion, promptly showed us a table and provided menus. Orders were accurately taken and quickly delivered, and our glasses were kept filled with coffee in the morning, margaritas in the evening, water at all times — even though the dining room was nearly full.

Breakfast

We’re always on the lookout for a good breakfast spot, and Madaline’s fits the bill.

I had huevos rancheros, a solid standby in any Mexican restaurant serving “desayuno,” or breakfast. But this was a slightly different version from others I’ve had.

Two over-easy, fried eggs were laid upon a pair of warm corn tortillas, themselves nestled on a bed of refried pinto beans. Mildly spicy, red ranchero sauce and grated cheddar cheese were then poured over the top and baked.

That made it “muy caliente!” (“very hot!”), as the server warned me in presenting the plate. But it was delicious, and the portion was generous. I could have chosen a tart green tomatillo sauce instead of the ranchero, but I was pleased with my choice. I also opted for red-skinned potatoes over home fries.

My companion chose a chorizo scramble of three eggs, sauteed with green onions, tomatoes and tangy Mexican pork sausage. It was a simple dish but a tasty one, served with warm tortillas. And as it was breakfast time, it’s worth noting that the coffee was good, too.

Dinner

At a subsequent evening meal, we were greeted with a basket of warm tortilla chips and a dish of mild salsa. We also requested pico de gallo, which here was prepared mainly with chopped white cabbage, along with tomatoes, onions and chilies.

For my main course, I ordered Arroz con Camarones, literally “rice with shrimp.” Madaline’s calls it a signature item. There’s much more to it than the name would suggest, even though the dish was not as spicy as many Mexican meals.

A half-dozen plump prawns — lightly sauteed with lots of fresh mushrooms, onions and green bell peppers — were stirred in a mild sauce and presented on a bed of white rice. Monterey Jack cheese was melted over the top, and slices of avocado served as a garnish.

My companion was interested to see what Madaline’s might do with an American-style preparation, so she ordered the Spring Chicken. A tender breast of bird was perfectly grilled with bacon and sauteed mushrooms, dressed with sweet-and-tangy honey mustard sauce and smothered in melted Tillamook cheddar cheese. She was very happy.

It’s true, perhaps, that Madaline’s doesn’t offer the most creative menu in northern Deschutes County, based at least on the selections we made. But the food was invariably well prepared and served in generous portions.

What’s more, the menu is so extensive that it has appeal to a very broad clientele. On each of our visits, we saw everyone from young people to retirees enjoying their meals.

Clearly, Pablo Peña knows more than food. He also knows the people who love to eat it.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com.

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