Posts tagged Aja

Beacon Bar & Grill

There once was a place called the Lantern Cafe. Half smoky bar, half cafe. The food was cheap and so-so and the cafe was always filled with smoke from the bar. If you went in for lunch and asked what the special was, the standard answer is “.50 cents off anything on the menu”. Okay then. After years and years someone bought the Lantern Cafe and refurbished the inside. Gallons and gallons of special paint were used to cover the thick smoke stained walls. They opened the wall that divided the cafe and bar which made it nice and bright. The new owners are the owners of one of my favorite restaurants, Aja. I was very excited to try this new place. If Aja was good, then surely Beacon Bar and Grill would be the same!

I have tried Beacon Bar and Grill four times now. I really wanted to like it. I tried to like it.

First time was the Cobb Salad. HUGE. Way to huge. When I am presented with a plate that could seriously feed three people, I’m not as impressed as I am concerned. First thing that came to my mind was waste. After I got over that feeling, I dug in. Or tried to. I had to ask for a separate plate as this enormous salad toppled all over the place.

The plate was a huge pile of romaine lettuce. The kind from a bag. I can handle that and I know if helps to cut the cost of cleaning and tearing your own lettuce, but I always feel that you get “seconds” in bags. Most all of the romaine lettuce pieces were the spine or rib of the leaf. Rarely a nice piece of actual green. On top of the lettuce riblets sat huge slices of red onion. The slices were way to big to fit in the mouth. Next to that chicken, again in large pieces, chunks of chopped boiled eggs, and tomatoes, UNDERCOOKED bacon, crumbled blue cheese topped with avocado slices. I chose the homemade blue cheese dressing. I’m a big fan of the Cobb, but that bacon was very undercooked and the veggie pieces cute too large. The dressing was decent and the crumble of blue good.

Next trip, my acquaintance wanted to share the Cobb again. I agreed to give it a try as long as we shared a plate of Onion Rings with roasted garlic ketchup. I was really looking forward to that garlic ketchup. It was ketchup, nothing garlic about it. Sad because the Onion rings were decent.

Then came the salad. Yep it was the same. Huge chunks of veggies and undercooked bacon. I kicked myself for not asking ahead of time to have them crisp it up. Not only that, but the avocado was so under ripe you could not eat it.

Ok one more chance. I played it safe. Ordered the veggie sandwich. This was a nice sandwich. Nothing to write home about, but tasted good. Served on Rye bread with cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado, sprouts, mushrooms and ranch dressing. The bread seemed a tad dry but the fries were good.

Back again. I really wanted this place to work for me. I ordered the house salad and a bowl of clam chowder. The salad was fair, again standard Fancy greens in a bag. The soup was surprisingly good. Hot, creamy, nice tender clams and oyster crackers to top it off. Then off to sit at the bar. I ordered a Bloody Mary. WOW, this thing was a piece of art and a meal in it’s own right. Good amount of vodka to mix. Nice and spicy with Tabasco and horseradish, a bit too much acid (juice of lemon, lime and olive juice). Then the garnish. Pickled Asparagus, celery, green olives, pickled onions all place strategically on a rim of salt.

At this point they are moving up my taste bud scale.

New night. Ordered the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Lightly coated in Panko bread crumbs, with portabella mushroom slices, Swiss cheese, fried onion rings and a smoked bbq sauce on Ciabatta. This was a bit of a disappointment. The bbq sauce tasted vaguely of bbq and more like marinara. The cook must have dunked the breaded chicken breast in the sauce. The chicken was very soggy. I only ate half of this and all the fries. The fries here are great. Hot, crispy and salted just right.

The service has been great each time and the place was nice and clean. I commend the owners for cleaning up the old Lantern.

I’ll most likely try again, but further down the line. I had high hopes but so far my hopes are dashed.

Beacon Bar & Grill

2030 NE Vine St
Grants Pass, OR 97526
(541) 472-9375

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