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Bohemian rhapsody

A Tuesday at any restaurant typically has only a few diners quietly enjoying their meals.

On a recent Tuesday at Bohemian Bar & Bistro in Grants Pass, however, the restaurant was booming with diners and music.

The wood floors and exposed brick walls create a laid-back atmosphere. Several large groups of people were enjoying dinner together, while the bar in the back was never empty during our meal. There were plenty of tables inside and a few outside, and by the time we were finished, people were waiting for an open table.

My sister and I started our meal off with an Italian White Bean Dip with Pita Bread ($9). The white bean dip comprised mashed cannellini beans, olive oil, lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley, and was served atop mixed greens. Its consistency was identical to hummus, but the flavors were fresher and less intense. Along with the pita bread, there were charred bell peppers, kalamata olives, sliced cucumbers and grape tomatoes. The vegetables were fresh, the olives especially tart to go along with the mildness of the dip. The dip made the mixed greens soggy by the time we got to them, but we were still able to enjoy them with a slice of pita bread.

I ordered a Basil Cooler ($7) from the vast cocktail menu. It was served in a tall glass with a large basil leaf floating on top. Despite the freshness from the basil, the vodka mixed with the sparkling soda added a spicy punch at the end of each sip, slightly burning the back of my throat. Between the dip and the drink, it was a nice palette cleanser.

For dinner, my sister ordered The BadBoy ($13), a half-pound burger of Northwest Wagyu beef without a bun. Atop the burger was bacon, one fried egg, pepper Jack cheese, lettuce and red onions. The burger was cooked medium and had hints of black pepper. The fried egg and cheese made the meal creamy, while the fresh vegetables were crisp. The sweet potato fries were crunchy and served with a side of ranch.

I ordered The Contradiction ($13), also dubbed “Veggiewannabe” on the menu. Between a brioche bun sits a rice-based veggie patty brought to life with cumin and paprika. A fried egg and bacon rest on top, held together by pepper Jack cheese and finished with fresh lettuce and red onions. Like with The BadBoy, the egg’s yoke added the creamy component while the vegetables added crispiness. While both meals share many similarities, what sets The Contradiction apart is the warm flavors in the veggie patty. The meal was served with a side of over-salted fries, yet their crunchiness balanced out the texture of the tender sandwich.

Our server gave us plenty of time to decide what we wanted to eat. She even allowed us to switch tables since the first one we chose was under one of the loud speakers. Her patience and knowledge of the menu made our dining experience as laid-back as the atmosphere boasts. Even on a Tuesday evening, everyone working at Bohemian Bar & Bistro had a smile on his or her face, which in turn put a smile on all the diners’ faces as well.

The lunch menu is composed of BoHo Burgers ($10 to 12), ranging from burgers with brie and blue cheese to wild mushroom and thyme. I noticed several people ordering a culinary display of rice and fish on a large white plate called the Seared Ahi Tower ($13). The dish is served with rice, avocado, pickled ginger and wasabi aioli.

For those eating on a budget, there’s more than a few things to find on the menu. The entrées section, however, bears the heavy hitters, including Tender Steak with Creamy Mashed Potatoes ($21) and halibut ($24) served with sautéed veggies and creamy mashed potatoes. The restaurant doesn’t hold to any one type of cuisine, specializing simply in tasty flatbreads, sandwiches and cooked meats.

Bohemian Bar & Bistro is located at 233 S.W. G St., Grants Pass. It’s open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. For reservations, call 541-471-7158.

Italian White Bean Dip with Pita Bread at Bohemian Bar & Bistro in Grants Pass. (Photo by Jordan Marie McCaw)