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Ashland restaurant makes top 50 list

Chef Josh Dorcak shaves black truffle over sea scallops at Ashland’s MÄS. [Photo by Lindsey Bolling]
Josh Dorcak’s MÄS singled out by New York Times for its 10-course dinner at fixed price

Ashland’s MÄS has been named one of the top 50 restaurants in the U.S. on The New York Times’ recently released 2022 Restaurant List, one of just two Oregon restaurants to make the cut.

The restaurant, owned and operated by chef Josh Dorcak, has been serving a fixed-course, seafood-focused menu since starting as a pop-up more than five years ago. Dorcak’s Japanese techniques expressed through Pacific Northwest ingredients — including items the chef forages — earned MÄS a spot in the top “50 Places in America.”

“I’m just in shock,” said Dorcak, 36, who said he heard the news Monday from a friend. “It’s just such a rarity and such a privilege.”

New York Times food writer Brett Anderson dined at MÄS less than a month ago, said Dorcak. The other Oregon restaurant on the top 50 list, published Monday, is Portland’s Kann, a Haitian-inspired establishment conceived in 2018 by James Beard Award-winning chef Gregory Gourdet.

Winner of Oregon’s “Iron Chef” title at the 2017 Bite of Oregon in Portland, Dorcak also took top honors at the 2015 and 2016 Ashland Culinary Festival. He trained at San Francisco’s Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated California Culinary Academy and progressed through restaurants in Seattle, Berkeley, California, and Phoenix-Scottsdale, Arizona.

Interest in MÄS, predictably, has ballooned in just a couple of days, said Dorcak, who serves customers at 5:30 and 8:15 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with a Friday lunch service in its low-key digs on Will Dodge Way. Reservations are available online through March, he said. See masashland.com.

MÄS’s 10 fixed courses far outnumber any other multicourse meals at Southern Oregon restaurants. And the cost of $185 per person easily identifies it as the region’s most expensive dining destination. Lunch features four courses for $85.