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The Rogue Regency Grill

Countless friends, including my golfing buddy, Norm, have encouraged a trip to The Rogue Regency Grill.

The wife and I finally made it out for a weekend dinner and I recently did a solo meal there.

The restaurant's role needs description.

It serves as both a popular venue for Southern Oregon residents as well as the dining anchor for the Rogue Regency Inn, a large motel near a busy freeway and airport.

Thus, it must be all things to all people and this influences how it performs. With that in mind, here is a list of a few items of interest to the dedicated diner.

The dining room is pleasant and well-staffed. There are no strange odors and the noise level is low. Perhaps the background music could move away from the periodic blues shouters and Springsteen songs, but the volume is tolerable.

Both menu and wine list are professional both in presentation and in conception.

For example, one can choose a Seared Ahi Tuna slice wrapped in cracked pepper from the appetizer selection at $14 or a Baked Cheese Mushroom Gratin for $8 as well as Steamed Clams or a Prawn Cocktail at $11.

Another choice diners may go for would be the Grilled Chicken Salad with avocado, cashew, egg, artichoke, and tomatoes on fresh greens at $14.

There is a noticeable emphasis on beef with much-heralded Prime Rib in an 8-ounce cut for $20 and the "Chef's Cut" for $24.

All dinners include a soup or salad, a choice of mashed potatoes, linguine, or French fries and mixed vegetables.

The Gumbo is zippy and tasty. A Black Bean Chili is also good. Their Beef-Vegetable soup is made with the house prime rib.

There is a special menu every evening and this always includes a big draw, the full dinner Senior Special at $10.

On our first visit is was chicken and the other night it was Chicken Fried Steak. Dinner choices don't end there. One can select from London Broil, Chicken Breast, Fish and Chips, and a Cashew Chicken stir fry in the $12-$14 range.

There are also three pasta plates from $13 to $15.

For the truly adventurous, the chef will stuff a beef tenderloin with Dungeness crab and bake this with Oregon Bleu Cheese. And he'll do it for just $29.

The Regency advertises that all of its seafood is flown in fresh daily from Hawaii. Thus encouraged, I had Tasman Sea Trout on a bed of Spinach Florentine topped with a Tomato and Herb Butter Compound.

This last item turned out to be a small lump riding atop the trout. The fish, a sea-run brown trout, was cooked perfectly. However, the Spinach Florentine beneath the fish and the Compound simply made the dish overly fussy and unfocused.

I have to admire the chef and management for running what is, essentially, a café yet infusing it with aspirations toward distinctive dining experiences.

Do I think they have pulled it off? No, I don't.

However, I'd be the last to discourage them from carving out their position among Southern Oregon restaurants.

— Hubert Smith