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EXPLORER'S CHOICE: Tasting Menu at Restaurant Beck
Published: 09/10/2012
 
Try the Tasting Menu at Restaurant Beck, just south of Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Try the Tasting Menu at Restaurant Beck, just south of Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Gary Hayes

On a little curve in the road south of tiny Depoe Bay, Oregon, you'll find some of the most artistically prepared food anywhere on the Oregon Coast. Chef Justin Wills has operated Restaurant Beck since 2009. The cozy, upscale dining room is located in a spectacular location perched on the cliff-side high above beautiful Whale Cove inside the modern boutique hotel, Whale Cove Inn. Chef Wills creates a short menu that can change daily to take advantage of the freshest regional ingredients from the sea, forest and farm. You can order starters and entrees from the menu, but adventurous diners will want to consider the chef's tasting menus, available in five, seven and nine courses. On my visit, items on the tasting menu included a study of heirloom tomatoes from a nearby farm. Three varieties of tomatoes rest on a bed of diced green tomato dressed in a citrus vinaigrette, alongside spoonfuls of tomato sorbet and a tomato sponge made from tomato water and gelatin. The offering is finished with sea salt, basil and coriander flowers. Next a gazpacho inspired broth featured artfully placed cucumber, pluot (a plum and apricot hybrid) and oxalis (wood sorrel) in a delicate broth of tomato water and green tea with drops of yogurt and ancho chile puree. Foie gras is featured in another dish, spinning off the traditional au torchon style. The resulting creamy foie is molded with a layer of blueberry gelee and the dish is dressed with blueberries, crushed walnut, smoked cocoa nibs and nasturtium flowers and leaves. Locally caught Ling Cod is served on a smear of black sesame puree and bright drops of an heirloom melon and shallot coulis. It's accompanied by a small salad of compressed fennel bulb with sassafras and a delicate Thai long peppercorn glass. The tasting menus begin at $70 and wine pairings can be added at an additional cost. The farms and foragers who provided the ingredients for the evening's offerings are listed on the menu. The hotel and restaurant are located at 2345 South Highway 101 and reservations can be made at (541) 765-3220. - By Gary Hayes

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