August 18, 2006

Red Star Roast House & Tavern

509 SW Washington (corner of 5th and Washington)
(503) 222-0005
redstartavern.com
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Red Star TavernOkay, so I didn't eat in the dining room. I had a catered lunch at a meeting.

When I think of catered meals, even from nice places, I think of premade sandwiches wrapped in saranwrap and steamtable fare. My expectations are lowered. I'm happy if anything tastes at all like the original foodstuff.

But I was much impressed with the Red Star. I'm writing this from the standpoint of if I had eaten in the dining room: those were my expectations. And they were met, ably.

Much to my surprise, we were offered a smaller version of the lunch menu. Appetizers range from $6-13, and we tried a clam chowder, crab-salmon cakes, a beet soup, grilled asparagus salad, a caesar, and a roasted beet salad. The presentation was gorgeous, and everything I tried was excellent and nuanced.

For the entree, there were a range of choices: salmon, cheeseburger, fish and chips, quesadilla, chicken breast sandwich, prime rib french dip, new york steak, and mac-n-cheese ($10.50-$24)—we tried all but the first two. Again, beautiful. The mac-n-cheese was as good as a homemade version, with a nice crust. The steaks were thick and grilled to order, and so flavorful. Everyone else raved about their food, and everything looked so good, enough to make you think, maybe I should have ordered that.

We also had dessert—also lovely and tasty.

My lunch, if I had paid for it, would have been $30. Was it worth it? Yeah, I think so. The atmosphere of the place is definitely business lunch, but the food was good. And was beautiful. I don't know that I'd be going there every month, but once every year or so? Why not?

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