Tina’s Restaurant Review – Dundee OR
Travelling south from Portland we have headed into Pinot Noir country for some wine tastings. Visiting wineries is a bit like gambling. The house always wins. You put your money down, try some wines and if they are really good they take more money from you. I mean you get the wine but you leave with a lighter wallet. After an afternoon of this game with the local vineyards it was time to relax a bit and then go out. We had been given some recommendations for Tina’s restaurant in Dundee which was not far from the Brookside Inn where we were perched for the evening. The menu online looked gourmet and very interesting. We drove by the unassuming restaurant earlier in the day wondering if we had found the right website, but the address matched. Just reminds you to not judge the book by its cover.
We enter Tina’s to find a warm welcome and inviting environment. There is no hauteness with this gourmet menu which is very refreshing. We are promptly seated and are presented the current menu. The selections are balanced but it does not include a chicken/hen selection. Perhaps the duck took the place of the chicken. We selected the salmon spring rolls to start and two of us chose from the wine list. We flipped the menu to read an interesting story on the beginnings of the sourdough bread we were served. The bread is clearly something they could sell at the local wineries with wine tastings it is that good. I wish they sold part of their starter as I watch my wife and Alison stare each other down for the last slice of bread.
The salmon spring rolls arrive with crisp outer crusts, perfectly cooked salmon and complimentary greens. The side of chutney that we drizzled onto the roll finalize an excellent combination of flavors. I am not a big fan of fish or salmon but this is done remarkably well.
Each entree comes with a house salad or soup of the day. We ordered a mix at our table. The corn soup was rich, creamy but remained true to the main ingredient without any overpowering additions. The salad has wonderfully crisp fresh greens, a touch of parmesean, roasted hazenuts and a shallot vinaigrette. We appreciated the effort to incorporate the local hazelnut (filbert) produce into the menu. Oregon grows 98% of the US production (which is only 3% of the world’s production) and these roasted nuts were a welcome addition to this salad.
Our main entree selections were the beef tenderloin, lamb, and herb chevre soufflé. I was tempted to try some wild boar but perhaps another time. Timing throughout this dinner was orchestrated very well between the kitchen staff and waiter. Our entrees arrived beautifully plated with inviting aromas. The soufflé did not arrive in the expected soufflé dish but was a slab that appeared to be from a deep dish casserole pan served on a rich tomato base. The crust had a thin crisp texture followed by a light and airy center. The herbs and chevre were present but not overpowering which was wonderful by itself or with tomato sauce.
The rack of lamb (chops) were served with tasty fig sauce and vegetables. Cooking lamb can be a challenge for anyone and we found our center just a bit undercooked. Trying to get the perfect temperature gradient so that the center is 125F requires constant monitoring of the temperature and calibrated equipment. While the center was a bit rare for our tastes, the remainder was fine and matched well with the fig sauce. A classic mint sauce could not compare to this choice by the chef.
The beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked to our desired temperature. The port garlic veal stock reduction was another great choice instead of a classic bearnaise offering. Again the chef has clearly taken the time to bring something special to the table here and we were appreciative of the efforts. The young fingerling potatoes and mushrooms were prepared perfectly.
The meal portions were acceptable (although the soufflé was larger than expected) making the option for dessert troublesome to fit in, but we had to try at least one. The dessert selection was intriguing and perfect in length but we finalized on a blackberry sorbet. This was served in a fairly large dish that was enough for the three of us to share and still have some leftover. The sorbet was rich, had great texture but I found it a bit sweet. Two cookies garnished the sorbet and were equally tasty.
The wine selections offered were very good. After our wine tasting throughout the afternoon we were a bit shy on ordering much wine. We did try a Boedecker Grenache and a Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and we found both very satisfying. We were served a complimentary dessert wine at the end which was appreciated and a thoughtful finish for guests.
Our overall experience was excellent with good service and food that had acceptable value. This is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. We would return again. Our rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 stars for the overall experience. The lamb could have been prepared slightly better. My only recommendations would be to consider serving a very small amount of their excellent sorbets between the salad and the entrees to cleanse the palate. The other would be to not be so obvious with your attention to your regular locals while ignoring your unknown visitors; talk to every table. I am not sure if that was one of the owners/managers or not. Our waiter was excellent and refreshingly pleseant.