The Right Recipe: Third Thyme's a charm at FivePine | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Right Recipe: Third Thyme's a charm at FivePine

With its warm hearth-like interior, Thyme's setting parallels its menu - bistro food that's comforting, rustic and modern.

With its warm hearth-like interior, Thyme's setting parallels its menu - bistro food that's comforting, rustic and modern. While the menu is not overly ambitious, it is creative enough to remind us of Thyme's lineage; the McCrystals, owners of Jen's Garden, aren't building a fine-dining empire, they are responding to the needs of the town that has spawned their success. Chef Caryl Hosler came over from Jen's Garden to command the stoves at Thyme, setting expectations high.

The restaurant was busy when we arrived on a Thursday evening although thoughtfully placed partitions kept noise levels down. The centerpiece of the dining room is a rustic fireplace that leads the eye to the well-stocked bar. A few leather couches, tables, and bar seats are perfect for a quick drink after work or for watching a game. The dining room combines round banquettes and tables. The wait staff supports one another and is very knowledgeable about the menu and food preparation.

We were seated in a modern banquette and began our meal with two glasses of Prosecco, bread and butter. The warm baguette pieces tasted freshly baked; the butter was soft and easy to spread. Our Spanish chorizo and red pepper flatbread ($9) arrived shortly after. The flatbread was fairly pedestrian, but the chorizo, packed full of flavor, improved the taste and texture.

Entrees were reasonably priced between $13-18. The featured special, a New Zealand Salmon ($18) with corn and black bean salad seemed to fly out of the kitchen almost as fast as the Bistro Burger ($13). The Chimichurri Marinated Flat Iron Steak ($18) was perfectly cooked and tender, laid over a white bean cassoulet with peppercorn sauce. While the dish was executed properly, my companion would have liked more texture, such as something crunchy to compliment the soft food on the plate. The Stuffed Roasted Portobello over Braised Greens ($15) was spot-on in terms of flavor. The beefy portobello was stuffed with wild rice and topped with Japanese breadcrumbs, and the greens were tasty and light. Bright color and texture from fresh vegetables would have added to the plate. While the mushrooms were delicious, the portion may have seemed small for hungrier appetites. The Bistro Burger ($13) was flavorful with gooey Greyere cheese and grilled onion. Mushroom demi-glace added to the flavor of the well-seasoned bison and beef burger, but it was probably the reason the thin, flaky bun turned soft quickly. The portion was generous and a side salad added a healthy vegetable component.

Of course no meal is complete without dessert and Thyme offers three choices for diners, a chocolate option, a fruit option, and a crème brulee option, the specifics of which change daily. Our party chose the strawberry-blueberry crisp and a chocolate tart to share among the three of us. The crisp disappeared quickly, but the tart lingered a bit longer. Although the layer of chocolate ganache was set slightly too thick, the chocolate mousse was light and fluffy.

During our meal, Chef Caryl moved around the dining room to greet guests. The talented chef said how much she has enjoyed working with the McCrystals, and how different the experience is at Thyme from Jen's Garden, where she had worked for the past several years.

Thyme has been consistently busy since changing over from Chloe, and the casual bistro style setting seems to be right on track with what Sisters residents and visitors want from a restaurant.

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