900 Wall - An Old Friend, But Now Divorced and Sexier | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

900 Wall - An Old Friend, But Now Divorced and Sexier

You know a restaurant has rediscovered its soul when "Miller High Life, 'The Champagne of Beers,' Milwaukie WI' appears on its sparkling wines list. So it is at 900 Wall, which has been liberated finally from the "M" word. While comparisons will no doubt linger, the new restaurant is charting its own course with a modest makeover and a pared-down menu from Executive Chef Cliff Eslinger. The pizzas still rule but a rotisserie chicken at downtown Bend's higher-end eatery? Yes. Start with the potato and chorizo fritters and forewarn your palate of the grilled shrimp ceviche - a zing of spice, like every time VP Joe Biden steps to a microphone.

Washing it all down is no problem here. Bar Manager Marcus Egge (a Norwegian name, FYI) has brought the best cocktails from the former Deep, led by a fine sampling of mojitos and the choice "Sexy Niner" (habanero pepper vodka and passionfruit liqueur sure to cure any local Swine Flu outbreaks). "Huckleberry Hound" is pure trouble for anyone trying to study or focus later on, and what I will take in a big plastic jug the next time I go cow-tipping. The Thai Bloody Mary will set you straight - giving any hangover the lecture it so desperately needs.

Grilled pork shoulder, fried green beans, oysters and a New York Steak, there is little wonder why the friendly staff at 900 Wall had to hurl me out. "Soft opening" or not, 900 Wall is back, but not. It's better - A lovely addition to downtown that has learned a lesson, and returned ready to serve all of Bend, even my kind.

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