There’s an old saying: Do few things, but do them very well.
That pretty much sums up the experience at Jory, the restaurant at the Allison Hotel in Newberg, Oregon. The Allison was recently founded on the premise that Oregon’s first class pinot noir region in the upper Willamette Valley needed a first class destination hotel.
Jory is named after one of the grape-growing soil types in the region, and the wine list is definitely a spotlight
- Oregon’s wine industry is primarily a large number of smaller wineries. Rather than an exhaustive library listing, the Jory wine staff have been somewhat selective. We chose a 2006 Belle Ponte Reserve Pinot Noir, a terrific bottle of wine from a winery with a strong reputation.
- Besides the usual list of wines by the glass and by the bottle, Jory adds a couple of innovations: wine tastes and flights. If you don’t want to commit your dinner to a totally unknown wine, they will put together a selection of tastes and pours of four different wines. A table next to ours ordered a flight, and they were served at the table in a rack of four glasses, already poured. Makes for quite a crowd of wine goblets on a small table!
- Although Oregon is strongly featured, there are a selection of European wines as well, to act as comparison.
The food menu follows this same theme of simpler is better.
- There were only four meat entrees’ on the menu: steak, lamb, pheasant and pork. Similarly only three fish selections. No bewildering array of choices.
- In spite of the simplicity of choices, it felt like a vocabulary quiz. Several of the terms used were totally unfamiliar to me. The server was quite happy to explain the various unfamiliar terms in a very non-snooty way.
- But I did catch them on one strange item: one of the salads included “kerr eggs”. What’s a kerr? Is that like a kiwi? The server blushed when I asked and admitted that “Kerr” is the name of the farm next door which supplies them their (conventional chicken) eggs. Aha!
The dinner itself was quite nice…
- We selected a salad “to share” with endive, hazelnuts, pear slices and Rogue blue cheese crumbles. Heaven! The Blue was terrific.
- We also “shared” a risotto appetizer with asparagus and prosciutto. The rice was unfortunately a little undercooked and a somewhat bland. We both agreed that we’d had better risotto.
- Deb had pheasant with a creamy polenta and greens. The saltiness of the little bird melded with the gentle taste of the polenta.
- I had a steak, which was nicely cooked. I maybe should have gone with the salmon though.
- For desert, I had a selection of three sorbets, strawberry, mango and grapefruit. The latter two were surprisingly tart and tangy, a far cry from the usual too-sweet sorbet I’m used to, and a nice change.
- Deb ordered a triple chocolate cake which was garnished with ice cream and kettle corn, which was a first for us.
In all, a beautiful evening at a nice place with a lovely gal – what could be better?