Oregon Coast Dining Moment: Fathoms Restaurant in Lincoln City
By Andre Hagestedt
(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Fathoms Restaurant, at the southern end of Lincoln City, is a bit of a secret hiding in plain sight. As part of the well-known Inn at Spanish Head hotel, for some reason you don't seem to hear a lot about the restaurant. Perhaps it's happy with its built-in clientele from those staying there, but Fathoms is also a must-see for anyone visiting Lincoln City, along with the kite festivals, beaches and the bay – even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
It has more of an upscale vibe, but it’s certainly not adverse conditions for beachy casual. While the food is awesome, it's the view that may be the biggest attraction, as the restaurant sits some ten floors up off the beach, with massive windows all around that show off the Pacific with an almost 180-degree view.
My first visit here was during the day, on a gorgeous winter afternoon, with a glaring sun beating down on the waves and injecting them with a good dose of blue, even with the waves in a fairly wild state. It was cold – but absolutely beautiful. And all this was easily visible from a window seat, a panoramic view that beat the pants off any big screen TV. You're looking down on a set of rocks in this normally sandy, flat beach, and this can add to the oceanic drama if the waves are feeling a little bit squirrelly.
It’s undoubtedly a perfect place to sit and stuff your face during those legendary winter storms of the Oregon coast.
On this visit I had a simple grilled tuna sandwich, on their lunch menu, which was a small avalanche of flavors from the tuna, herbs and the cheese. Deceptively simple, really – and absolutely filling.
My second sojourn here was after dark, after long hours spent photographing the coastline from Depoe Bay to Pacific City (about 40 miles up and down), and working up quite the hunger. This time, you couldn’t see as much below in the dark, but it was still riveting. Some lights from the facility helped.
This time I had the stuffed chicken breast, which came crammed with cheeses like aged Machego, some arugula, and then spiced nicely with fennel and a leek ragu. This creamy creation was crusty on the outside, baked to a splendid, perfect hardness, and then velvety and gleefully gooey on the inside with all the goodies. The chicken was quite juicy – which is always a pleasant surprise to the palate.
These dinners come with their own baked bread, which is flaky to a fault – as I appeared to get in a fight with the numerous flakes and they seemed to win. I managed to cover the entire table with them. Perhaps I was carelessly sloppy because I was simply having an ecstatic time and quite possibly lost my sense of being part of a civilization. There are few pleasures like an exceptional bread recipe that is baked on the premises. This, when combined with the real butter, had me ravenously attacking the bread slices – probably part of my problem here. I couldn’t contain myself.
Dinner comes in the $17 - $25 territory for most meat, chicken and seafood dishes.
A Moroccan Spiced Snapper comes with cinnamon, preserved lemon, and white wine. The Coconut and Macadamia Nut Pan Roasted Cod has a coconut curry sauce. A variety of gourmet mushrooms are added to the pesto sauce for the Cedar Wrapped Salmon.
Pacific Rockfish has romesco and garlic, tomato, and Brandy sauce. Shrimp are sautéed in tomatoes, onions, garlic, brandy, Chardonnay and various herbs. Heavenly crab cakes come with a mustard sauce. And then there’s Alaskan King Crab, seared scallops with chorizo and local oysters galore.Large entrees include soup or salad, that scrumptious bread and seasonal vegetables, along with a choice of baked potato, wild rice, fries or garlic crushed Yukon potatoes. With these come extravagant creations like certified Angus prime rib, filet mignon, top sirloin with a Zinfandel reduction, pork chops and other hearty goodies. 4009 SW Highway 101. Lincoln City, Oregon. 541-994-1601 or 800-452-8127. www.spanishhead.com/site/restaurant.html
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