Beautiful views aren’t hard to find in Central Oregon, given the stunning mountains and other natural treasures that call this place home. Black Butte Ranch, however, surprised me in the best way, with views that couldn’t even properly be captured by my camera lens or by words alone. While there are multiple spots at Black Butte Ranch where visitors and residents can dine, my particular experience was at the Lodge Restaurant. On a warm autumn afternoon, my friend and I got out of the car after a thirty minute drive from Bend and were instantly wowed by the scene that was before us. The Lodge Restaurant looks out onto a pristine pond that is regularly used by residents for fishing and also does a marvelous job of reflecting the variety of mountains that are part of the Cascades. After admiring the ambiance, we made our way inside of the restaurant itself, which has a cozy lodge interior, with rich wood staircases that almost give the feel of an upscale treehouse.
But enough about the aesthetics...on to the flavors. Since the weather was still pleasant, we opted for a seat on the patio upstairs, which looks out to the mountains. I ordered a classic Lemon Drop, and my friend got a grapefruit cocktail. Both were absolutely delicious, with the prime amount of tartness that one comes to expect from citrus drinks. We sipped our beverages and surveyed the menu carefully, puzzled by all the appetizing options. After much deliberation and a few sips of our cocktails, we decided to split the Calamari appetizer and the Fish and Chips. The Calamari arrived first, and I was delighted by its different appearance. This particular appetizer elevated typical calamari with a garbanzo crust tossed with fresh arugula, spinach, quinoa and a hint of lemon. The unique combination of flavors was exciting to the palate and did an excellent job with bold textures and wholesome ingredients. Needless to say, we practically licked the plate.
Still basking the in the euphoria of the calamari dish, our Fish and Chips arrived and proved to be just as delicious as we had hoped, with flaky, golden breading on the cod, and crisp French fries, served with tartar sauce and lemon. In addition to the yummy food, however, was the singular joy of watching the sun set behind the mountains in the distance, creating stunning silhouettes and a watercolor sky in its wake. A plate of complementary fudge and a food coma later, we walked back to the car, dazzled by the views, the food, and the privilege it is to be in the midst of nature’s untamed splendor.
The Lodge Restaurant at Black Butte Ranch is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 pm-close for dinner (Be sure to check online, as the hours change seasonally).