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Keeping it Casual: Scanlon's remains on the short list 

the more things change, the more they stay the same. When someone would ask me 15 years ago what Bend's best restaurant was, I would

click to enlarge the more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • the more things change, the more they stay the same.
the more things change, the more they stay the same. When someone would ask me 15 years ago what Bend's best restaurant was, I would always say "Scanlon's." The food was consistently prepared with variety and creativity, but it was familiar and accessible. The atmosphere was subdued, but not stuffy, and it was the only place in town where I could get a proper Dirty Martini.

Of course, some things have changed over time like the staff and the chefs. The menu has also seen several overhauls, but the restaurant inside the Athletic Club of Bend still stands up to the stiff competition in the culinary hot spot that is Bend.

The dinner menu consists of standard ingredients prepared in inspired ways. On the appetizer menu is a hummus of white beans ($9), a Steelhead tart ($13), and Brie wrapped in walnuts. The calamari is hand cut and the pork shank has a Southwestern kick from the chipotle BBQ sauce, the cotija cheese and the crispy corn cake it is served on.

Entrees include brick oven pizzas ($14), a recently popular fine dining option that Scanlon's has been offering since it opened almost two decades ago; meal sized salads (ranging from $9-$14) that when ordered with an appetizer will not leave you hungry; and larger plates of pork, lamb, duck, steaks and seafood.
The Tataki Ahi ($26) is ahi tuna delicately seared in togarashi and cayenne. The interior is moist and raw juxtaposed against the exterior that has a bit of heat slightly cooled by the wasabi cream fraiche. The roasted duck leg is paired with a hazelnut fig jam and is a bright complement to the succulent fattiness of the duck meat. The rack of lamb ($30) is crusted in pesto then roasted to a perfect medium rare on Hood River cherry wood and served with a pile of sinfully rich white cheddar mashed potatoes. The steaks are locally sourced and are available in two cuts - rib eye ($35) and filet mignon ($31). I would recommend going with the "Zimmer's Special" ($34) on the filet, which adds Oregonzola from Rogue Creamery, pecans and walnuts.

But the best part of dining at Scanlon's may have nothing to do with the food. The patio is a wonderfully breezy, partly sheltered spot to sip summer drinks and watch some of the comings and goings of "the club." If you have youngsters (or are dining with adults with short attention spans) they can run over and play on the grass or jungle gym just a stone's throw away. Better yet, take those kiddies to the free, yes FREE, childcare provided by the Athletic Club of Bend while you are dining. You can order dinner for them off the children's menu, take it into the childcare area, and have the rest of the dining experience sans child. And the best perk of all? You can dine in your tennis whites and no one will give you a second look.

With older restaurants dropping like flies, it's nice to see Scanlon's holding its own. The nice patio and free childcare are great perks but the bottom line is - the food is worth the trip.

61615 Athletic Club Drive Bend, 385-3062, Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2:00pm; Dinner: Mon-Sat, 5:30-9:00pm


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