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Review: Thistle Restaurant


While visiting the Willamette Valley last month, I had the opportunity to dine at Thistle in McMinnville. What a terrific experience it was sitting at the open kitchen bar, meeting chef/owner Eric Bechard and enjoying a wonderful dinner with local wine.

I started with a glass of Evesham Wood '08 Chardonnay and paired it with a starter from the chalkboard menu on the wall, the duck liver parfait served with fresh bread and pickled grapes ($9). What a terrific combination with the rich, rustic duck pate and crisp acidity of the Evesham Wood chard.

Eric ended up steering me toward a bottle of Arterberry Maresh 2007 Pinot Noir Dundee Hills and an entree of locally sourced venison with winter squash, matsutake mushrooms, and muckleberries ($19). The meat was cooked perfectly to a medium rare consistency that offered a tender, delicious texture. And the earthiness of this dish went very well with the Arterberry Maresh pinot, a wine that I will definitely try again. Being too full for dessert, I opted for the field greens salad with vinaigrette dressing ($6).

While enjoying my dinner at the counter, I had the opportunity to share my wine with a fellow traveler seated to my right who was on his third consecutive meal at Thistle. Sharing my wine with the folks on my left, I had the privilege of meeting Leslie and Manuel of Viridian Farms on Grand Island, who were responsible for growing the produce that went into my meal.

Overall, the setting, service, selection, and quality of food and wine was spot on. What a terrific way to enjoy a locally sourced meal! It could not have been scripted any better in terms of the wine, food, and people that went into celebrating this dinner. I highly recommend you making stop at Thistle on your next visit to the Willamette Valley.

Related Links
No Pickles at Thistle (Review)
McMinnville Just Got More Delicious (Review)

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