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Waterfront Depot delights

by David Krough


Posted on June 25, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 5:39 AM

In a rare coastal getaway this past weekend, we stumbled upon some big city sophistication-meets-old world rustisicty and charm. Trapsing around the Old Town section of Florence, Oregon was something I hadn't done for a long time, since I lived in Eugene and that was our standby coastal trip, as opposed to the easy near-hour to Seaside or Cannon Beach we usually do from the PDX.

So a weekend in dune country was a refreshing departure, and we were even blessed with sun, wandering among the art galleries, seafood hideouts and even a couple dive bars of Old Town. We were stuffed from lunch at Moe's and had seen probably our fill of antiques when we got to dinner at the Waterfront Depot.

It's right next to the east side of the bridge and happens to be the old Mapleton train depot, a nearly one room, high ceilinged chamber with thick, old fir floors in a dark monotone highlighted by some fine art and old photos of the building back in the day.

It felt kind of like a Last Thursday crowd dropped into a small town saloon circa 1890.

The music was good and servers quickly attended to our needs, pointing out the chalkboard menu on the wall and the evening's specials and cocktails.

There's of course an emphasis on local sea fare, namely the crab encrusted halibut. But among the shellfish and salmon, a surprisingly diverse offering of pasta, tapas, chicken and steak dishes. (And prices are stunningly affordable for any traveler)

Seeing no oyster or mussel shooters on the menu, I was disheartened and trying to decide on a seafood dish for a taste. After asking the server, was informed they DID indeed do shooters upon request, and was soon presented with not a shot, but a champagne glass full of about 5 oysters.

The seafood boulliabase was chock full of crab and shrimp, a bit soupy but very filling. My steak was cooked to a perfect medium rarity - but it seemed combined with the mushrooms both were very over seasoned, almost to the point of blackened, as if a whole lot of salt, garlic and pepper were added in all at once.

The service was overall terrific and looking out on the bridge and the water - even on a hopping Saturday night was a picture of calm.

Next time - I'm getting the halibut.