Local Ocean | Newport, Oregon
Posted on May 6, 2013 by Tim Tolbert
After a meandering late morning drive through the Willamette Valley, the pace quickened as I made my way down Oregon’s dramatic coastline punctuated with craggy outcroppings and tumbling hillsides. The weather offered up a nice afternoon mix of bursts of rain followed by spells of bright sunshine. My pre-determined destination was Newport, a sleepy tourist haunt midway down the coast, about an hour and a half west of Salem.
Local Ocean is situated just across the street from Newport’s busy commercial fishing docks. It’s an informal place with a cash and carry fish & shellfish display case and a u-shaped counter around the open kitchen. It’s always a good sign when you see a gathering crowd milling outside the door waiting for a table.
The day’s fresh catch was Pacific Rockfish which was being utilized for the revolving Fish & Chips entree. This wasn’t your typical English style beer battered fare, the delicate, flaky Rockfish had been dredged in Panko and quickly crisped up on the flatop grill just in view from my counter top perch. The same Panko treatment was applied to the locally farmed Yaquina Bay oysters, served up with some freshly made tartar. The oysters were delicious, delivering a taste of the sea in it’s plump package.
I enjoyed watching the rhythm of the kitchen from my ring side seat as various orders were prepped and prepared. The Cioppino looked especially nice, a rich tomato broth studded with various chunks and morsels of seafood and topped with nicely toasted pieces of garlic toast.