Having carved out its own elegantly understated space inside the Red Lion Hotel, Willamette Valley Grill recently restyled its menu to feature appetizers, entrees, and salads beaming with the bravado of classic American bistro fare. Inspired by local and seasonal ingredients, chefs entice palates with starter dishes of steamer clams sauteed with pancetta, leeks, tomato, garlic, and wine. Velvety bowls of butternut squash and gorgonzola ravioli create a symphony of spring flavors while aromas pan-roasted halibut and chimichurri ribeye mingle through the dining room. After dining and sipping on a range of Pacific Northwest wines, guests can trade the restaurant's tasteful ambiance for the colorful hues of the adjacent 3301 Ultra Lounge.
Friendly servers at J's Teriyaki and Pub, reinvigorated by new management, top tables with a roster of stir-fried, simmered, and hand-rolled entrees. Steamed rice and a side of salad accompany the spicy beef teriyaki ($8.45), and a serving of soba noodles ensnares a choice of meat or veggies in its starchy tendrils ($6.55–$7.95). Chopsticks clamp onto cross sections of the chicken-teriyaki roll, filled with its namesake poultry and asparagus ($5.95), or the tiger roll with crabmeat, avocado, and a crown of shrimp to grant it sovereignty over all neighboring dishware ($7.95). The menu's color photographs and a blackboard hawking specials help diners decide on which dish to invite to dinner.
The welcoming staff of Rack N Cue sate patrons with savory appetizers, cocktails, and beer served beneath several TV screens or beside one of the bar's many full-size pool tables. Egg rolls perform culinary somersaults over tickled taste buds, and a spicy jolt tumbles forth from the bar's hot wings. Mini tacos stand ready to curb snack cravings or fill the stomachs of Lilliputians. A crunchy coating ensconces the chicken wings, onion rings, and deep-fried pool cues. Friendly bartenders deftly mix cocktails or pour libations over ice, whetting whistles weary from describing how electricity works. The glow of several large television screens mingles with the soft overhead lighting of the bar's numerous pool tables, where tabletop-sports rivalries form.
The menu at MacGregor's Public House reads like an atlas of the Scottish highlands. The burgers—such as the Pentland with cool tzatziki—are each named for a region of the little nation. Composed of lamb and beef, the juicy patties are hormone- and antibiotic-free and carry inventive toppings such as pan-fried pastrami and Granny Smith coleslaw. Shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips further the sensation that one has stepped into a public house in the Scottish countryside, and pies made from scratch cool, their golden crusts covered with melting ice cream like a bad magician at third grader’s birthday.
When Honeywood Winery first began in 1933, it wasn't a winery at all, but rather a distillery that produced fruit cordials and brandies. Today, it's one of Oregon’s oldest operating wineries, producing a wide variety of fruit wines and a handful of reds and whites. In all, 50 different housemade wines are available, enough to float a battleship or a houseboat owned by a Rockefeller. And the winery's location in Salem isn't random—its proximity to Willamette Valley grants it easy access to many stalwart vineyards of the area. Visitors can peruse the marketplace for bottles, edibles, and gifts, or head to the tasting room for a complimentary sampling of wines.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).