Ghostlight Grille Presents Show Menu at New Venue – Ashland Tidings
Eggs Benedict can be ordered on a crab cake or the traditional English muffin at Ghostlight Grille in Medford. Photo by Sarah Citron.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken is served on cookies or waffles at Ghostlight Grille in Medford. Photo by Sarah Citron.
French toast challah bread comes with compote of seasonal fruits and whipped cream at Ghostlight Grille in Medford. Photo courtesy of Ghostlight Playhouse.
Brunch is served Friday through Sunday at the Ghostlight Grille inside the Ghostlight Playhouse in downtown Medford. Photo courtesy of Ghostlight Playhouse.
La Michelada combines beer and Bloody Mary at the Ghostlight Grille in Medford. Photo by Sarah Citron.
The Randall Theater Company’s new performance venue in Medford serves as a moonlit restaurant.
The Ghostlight Playhouse on Front Street launched the Ghostlight Grille in mid-August. Made to create a show menu of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and snacks, Chef Nic Lanier began by highlighting the weekend brunch for the smooth opening of the Grille.
Given downtown’s appeal for brunches at the nearby Downtown Market Co. and Over Easy, the move looks like a solid repeat to add lunch and dinner later this fall. And the meals ordered from Ghostlight support the non-profit theater’s attempt to bring more live entertainment downtown and financially withdraw from the pandemic.
Randall moved into the old Howiee’s on Front a year ago and is still renovating and modernizing. Ghostlight has suffered months of setbacks, including staff shortages, equipment repairs and pandemic-related restrictions that have postponed its scheduled opening in May. Yet the organization remains committed, according to artistic director Kathy Wing, to reviving the iconic restaurant space that was a downtown staple for about a quarter of a century.
The paneled interior of 16 N. Front St. looks a lot like it was during Howiee’s tenure, minus the posters of rock ‘n’ roll icons that lined the walls. Rustic wooden bars and bar-height tables provide most of the seating, with more limited outdoor accommodation in the building’s driveway courtyard.
My friend preferred to sit inside on a sunny Saturday afternoon, perhaps out of nostalgia. Working for decades combined with a stone’s throw from the old Howiee has given us plenty of opportunities to hang out with colleagues.
All-American dishes define the Grille’s menus, simplified with 10 show items, not including popcorn and cookies, and eight brunch dishes. Lanier judiciously doubles burgers and fried chicken for meals, and seasons the range with southern influences, like chicken and cookies, chicken and waffles, and a chicken or shrimp po’boy.
I probably would have picked the last one on this list if it had been offered for brunch. But the Grille limits morning to afternoon choices to a hamburger and club sandwich to complement its breakfast dishes. Because my friend and I were both drawn to the Chicken and the Cookie ($ 13), I had to guard against duplicates and gave in to the Benedict Crab Cake ($ 15).
Brunch dishes also include chicken and waffles, cookies and gravy, a breakfast burrito and challah bread, French toast, from $ 12 to $ 13. Priced at $ 13 and served with fries, the aforementioned burger features bacon, a fried egg, and a drizzle of maple syrup on a chewy “waffle bun”. Also served with fries, the $ 12 chicken-bacon club all ranch aioli.
A bar menu is available in the morning, afternoon and evening. Given the suggestion of a mimosa or a Michelada at this time, I asked for the latter, skipping the version with bacon toppings, a tender and a chicken slider in favor of a mixture of plain beer and Bloody Mary edged with chili-lime salt. My friend asked for iced tea.
Placing our orders at the counter, we crept into padded stools across the dining room. Our drinks arrived quickly followed by food about 10 minutes later.
It was immediately obvious which of the unfilled plates represented better value. My friend’s open face buttermilk cookie had a whole fried chicken thigh on each half. Grabbing my question to the staff about whether I could substitute the country sauce for the eggs in the dish, he asked for his order this way.
Although he didn’t care about the honey butter drizzled with the bird, it was moist and tasty under his buttermilk paste. The bite that I claimed confirmed it as impeccably crunchy and flavorful. I thought the sweetness of the honey butter complemented the well-salted chicken, and I would probably ask for the optional jalapeño flavor. For those in the mood for more heat, there’s the Habanero Honey Butter and Hot Nashville Chicken.
Unlike the assertive chicken, my crab cakes were not immediately apparent. Instead, I saw a slice of ham under each of my eggs. I asked the waiter if I had misread the menu, to which she pointed out the crab cakes under the ham slices. So focused on the crab, my eye had just slipped right over the ham in the menu description of the dish.
The homemade cakes were pretty much what I expected for flavor and texture i.e. not strong on the crab. Since the majority of crab used in restaurants is already frozen, it is unlikely to impress unless it is specified as Dungeness in season.
A crispier crab cake would have spiced up the dish. But in this case, I would have actually preferred the traditional version over an English muffin for $ 3 less. The Hollandaise, however, was rich and lemony, remedying a bit of an overcooked yolk in one of my poached eggs.
Like many restaurants that are attempting creative alternatives to the old-fashioned “eggs of any style” format, the Grille doesn’t cook hash browns or country potatoes. Guests preferring to start their day with potatoes would be invited to choose an item with fries. Even better, poutine ($ 10 off the Grille’s show menu), a beloved Canadian concoction that includes fries, cheese curds and homemade brown gravy with the option to add buttermilk fried chicken pieces for $ 3 more.
In addition to plays and musicals, the Ghostlight hosts bands, comedies, karaoke, and more. Most of the shows are also available for live streaming. Check out the show schedule and buy tickets at ghostlightplayhouse.com. Call 541-690-8810.
Le Grille is open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday to Sunday. See the menus on ghostlightplayhouse.com/ghostlight-grille
Indonesian restaurant in Ashland goes green.
Blue Toba is the latest local restaurant to sign with Rogue To Go, which provides reusable take-out containers. Located on Ashland Street, Blue Toba is Rogue To Go’s 10th company to participate.
Customers start using Rogue To Go by paying a one-time fee of $ 10. They receive a durable plastic container that they can return to any participating restaurant in exchange for a clean container.
Other restaurants in the program are Ashland Food Co-op, Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe, Burrito Republic, Common Block Brewing Co., Falafel Republic, Kobe, Pie + Vine, Simple Cafe, and Skout Taphouse & Provisions. An over-the-counter restaurant with very little seating, Blue Toba does a good job in take-out.
Some restaurants’ online ordering systems offer the option of choosing Rogue To Go. Customers can also call participating restaurants and request their order in Rogue To Go containers. See roguetogo.com
Made in the USA, Rogue To Go containers are made from BPA-free plastic that can be melted down and made into other recycled material products. All are commercially disinfected between uses, per Jackson County public health guidelines.
Happy hour is back at Peerless Restaurant & Bar in Ashland.
The fine dining establishment, where appetizer prices can reach $ 62, announced its new casual menu last week, served from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the bar. A lamb merguez slider and barbecue chicken wings top the happy hour menu while kusshi oysters are $ 5 to $ 8 off the dinner menu price for half a dozen or so. a full dozen.
The cocktails – martini, Margarita, Manhattan, and aperol spritz – cost $ 8 each, about half the price of craft drinks on the regular menu. House red and white wines are $ 1 off during happy hour.
Located at 264 Fourth St., Peerless is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Book on peerlessrestaurant.com or call 541-488-6067.
In August, the following restaurants received perfect marks of 100 in their semi-annual inspections by Jackson County Environmental Public Health:
Legendary Abby Pizza, Crater Lake Highway, Medford; Ali’s Thai Cuisine, Medford; Asian Grill, Medford; Bonsai Teriyaki Sushi III, Medford; Boomtown Lounge, Jacksonville; Branding Iron Tavern, Medford; Dairy Queen, Central Point; Domino’s Pizza, Eagle Point; Dutch Bros., 7251 Crater Lake Highway, White City; Dutch Bros. Coffee, Stewart Avenue, Medford.
The county’s searchable restaurant and food service inspection database can be found at healthspace.com/Clients/Oregon/jackson/Web.nsf/home.xsp
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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley food scene for nearly two decades as one of the first contributors to Tempo’s food column. His palace has helped judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. Former editor-in-chief of A la Carte, the weekly gastronomic column of the Mail Tribune, she writes a bi-weekly column, The Whole Dish, as well as blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen to mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @ the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter, or visit facebook.com/thewholedish.