NORTH BEND — It took 10 years, but we have now come full circle.
We started Cuisine a decade ago with a series on Dungeness crab. Chef Joseph Zamora from the Hilltop House was one of our first interviews and went along with the concept of this new section and more than willingly helped us out.
After finalizing my list of the restaurants I wanted to feature in this 10-week series, I thought it was only appropriate to finish with Hilltop House.
I have been to literally scores of restaurants in Coos, western Douglas and western Lane counties as part of my features for this section. The best dish I have had was a "special" at Hilltop House. Chef Zamora created a seafood roulade that was amazing.
Autumn and I had taken clients of hers there on one of their trips from Texas. The seafood roulade included a scallop, surrounded by two strips of salmon. Between the two strips of salmon was lump crab meat.
Robert told me it was one of the best things he'd ever had and I had to agree with him.
This dish is not on the menu, but Chef Zamora told me that if he had all the ingredients, that I could order it when I came in. I had several times in a row.
So this trip I decided I was going to try something different.
I blitzed through the menu and had pretty much made up my mind to try the seafood combo. After Matt, Donna and Frank arrived, our server Kerri read off the specials, and now I was perplexed again. The diced steak in a burgundy sauce over country fried potatoes sounded great. I'm sure this is what I would have ordered if Donna hadn't.
I got a small forkful later, and it was as good as it smelled.
You have free articles remaining.
Frank and I ordered the seafood combo, Autumn had the vegetable linguine and Matt ordered the giant prawns.
The seafood combo is a battered and deep fried creation that includes calamari, shrimp, scallops and halibut. The thing that struck me most about this dish was that despite being battered and fried that the seafood was still the star of the plate.
The calamari was tender. The scallops were tender and moist. The fish was also tender and flaky. The breading is light and definitely doesn't take away from the taste of the seafood. All too often when you get something breaded, there is either too much breading, or it is overly seasoned and you lose the flavor of the items you ordered.
I ordered it with mashed potatoes and gravy and the vegetables.
Autumn's dish was also very good. She took a good portion of it home and we split it the next evening. Donna gave everyone a small taste of her dish, and the steak was so tender and the potatoes were a great complement. I never would have thought of making a base out of the potatoes. Rice, maybe, but the potatoes really worked great.
One of my favorite things about Hilltop House is the waitstaff. Man, do they take care of you. From the time you walk in the door, until the time you leave, they make sure you have what you need. Kerri was just starting at Hilltop House the last time this group had dinner there, but after we all arrived, she looked around and remembered that we had been seated at the opposite end of the dining room the time before. Then she started repeating what we had ordered the last time.
Great memory. And that is what I have of Hilltop House — great memories. If you can get there at sunset, it is really nice. The vantage point gives you a view of the Haynes Inlet as well as the dunes in the distance.
I remember that for the first few years, I never ate in the restaurant — I would go the lounge in back and have a beer with friends and order off the bar menu. Now I find myself enjoying the view and dining in the restaurant more often.
It has been a really nice 10 years of doing this section. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.
Now we can start on another 10 years ...