Elevation, the student operated restaurant at the Cascade Culinary Institute, is a fun experience for a great price. I would not recommend trying Elevation if you are a picky eater who likes to sub this for that. Substitutions are politely declined as our menu read.
The $21 Prix fixe dinner menu for the Spring Term of 2012 consisted of 4 appetizers and 4 entrees to choose from. Normally with prix fixe menu’s, the Wife and I will choose something different and share in order to get a little of everything. Of the appetizer options, we both couldn’t say no to the Charcuterie – handmade cured meats and accompaniments. It was the best option when compared to a salad, kale, and onion souffle.
My apologies for the camera phone picks, I’ve been lazy about bringing a better camera with me but at least I’m writing.
What’s not to like about 3 types of pork, mustard, and candied apricot?
For our main courses, I picked the Sous Vide Heritage Pork Loin – juniper, sage, spruce notes, rhubarb-shallot confit, fava beans, wheat berries, garlic pilaf.
I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember another time I’ve had anything Sous Vide and can’t come up with one. It is not for me. I thought it was quite pink and it was served to me cold (it was not supposed to be cold). I swear it was under cooked. I couldn’t wait to swap it out with the Wife. She sent it back to get grilled….apparently Sous Vide pork is not for either of us. The staff was super nice about it and threw it on the grill for a few. Being grilled and heated through totally changed everything. So much better warmed up.
The Wife selected the Steamed Northwest Sturgeon – forbidden Thai rice and spring vegetable sushi, Oregon wasabi, trio of dipping sauces.
The sturgeon and especially the tempura green beans were amazing. The Wife liked the veggie sushi but I didn’t try it. The trio of dipping sauces were nice to play with different combos but we would have liked to know what was what. They were all good but the green one was excellent.
Dessert had two options so we took one of each and both were awesome.
I rarely discuss service as it changes so quickly in most restaurants, and at Elevation, there is obvious turn over as a new batch of students come through with each term. Plus they are students, give them a little break. Our waitress was fine although very shy. It was tough to get info about our dishes out of her but the floor manager (not sure what his real title is) was ‘Johnny on the spot’ and quick to follow up on anything.
All in all, the entire meal, laid back experience, people / staff watching, and of course having excellent company is worth dropping the meager $21. Its fun especially if you’re patient and not a douche bag customer that expects the world to jump at every request when you go out to eat (or if you are the type to return pork that is probably perfectly cooked since your untrained ass doesn’t know what Sous Vide is really supposed to look/feel/taste like just because you feel it is under cooked!)
TIP – bring your own wine ($10 corkage fee). The wine was poured very light for us, it looked like a half pour. I’d gladly bring my own bottle or two next time.
c/o Cascade Culinary Institute
2555 NW Campus Village Way
Bend, OR 97701