Ask anyone what they like about Ashland, Oregon and “great food” is likely to be high on the list. That’s because there’s usually a restaurant round-robin or two underway that competes mightily for the tastebuds of locals and visitors alike. Across Oregon, farmers, food artisans and chefs make magic by sourcing from each other, and collaboratively find their way onto some pretty darn creative and flavor-packed plates at local restaurants. This recipe for success is playing out daily and is one of the reasons why you should eat at Ashland’s Brickroom.
Don’t just put Brickroom on your to-do list. Go there! According to Chef Skye Elder, it’s fresh produce is uber local and estate grown at their Rascalville Farm right in Ashland. What is ripe each week he picks himself and it serves as the creative juice for his menu and evening specials. Owners Eli Katkin and his mother, Gina Katkin, chose well when they tapped Chef Elder for the top spot in the kitchen at Brickroom. It was a natural step for this self-described native Ashlander. Following stints at numerous high end restaurants across the state, Chef Elder’s deep familiarity with Oregon’s bounty continues to be the perfect pairing with this artisanal-focused hometown restaurant that strives to source the best locally and from around the region.
For example, the Northwest Salad, a menu regular, pairs sweet paper-thin slices of pear with soft baby leaves of rosy butter lettuce, crunchy toasted hazelnut (from Willamette Valley) brittle, and a pungent gorgonzola, all drizzled with a sweet-tangy balsamic vinaigrette. It gives the mouth what it wants, non-stop texture and flavor.
As mentioned last month, I’m just an occasional meat eater, so when it crosses my lips it must be downright outstanding. The slow roasted, Noble Espresso-rubbed, Carlton Farms pork shoulder, with housemade BBQ sauce is hands down THE best pulled pork in Southern Oregon. This melt-in-your-mouth sandwich is crunchy, sweet, and smoky, layered with sweet fried onions and cooling coleslaw all wrapped up in a perfectly soft brioche bun. And like the iconic French pomme frites, the Brickroom fries come pencil-thin and crisp. The paper “plate” keeps it all humble. It’s a winning combination served up on hardwood “trays” made by an Oregon woodcrafter.
Ashland’s Brickroom and Chef Elder get high fives at The Local Dish! It’s hands down a true “taste of place” and that’s the best reason of all to put this fun, local-leaning restaurant high on your list.
If you prefer music with your meal, check out their Facebook page for updates about upcoming performances so you can time your visit just right.