7 Devils Brewing Co. is a coastal dining, drinking hotspot
A craft beer destination and upscale outlet for fish ’n’ chips entice visitors and locals alike to Coos Bay’s revitalized waterfront.
After helping to revitalize downtown Coos Bay over the past eight years, 7 Devils Brewing Co. has a second, more visible, location to draw a broader clientele. Open since late July, the Waterfront Alehouse is an anchor enterprise, along with Face Rock Creamery, of the new Coos Bay Village on Highway 101.
These and a neighboring Starbucks are indicators that Coos Bay’s long dilapidated bayshore has new commercial appeal. With expansive views, seating on two floors and a paved walking path alongside the bay, 7 Devils is a coastal dining and drinking hotspot. Incidentally, the name references a nearby road that twists and turns in bedeviling fashion along ocean cliffs.
Oyster po’boys and poutine lured me to 7 Devils’ original brewery and tap room when it opened in 2013. The brewery also has catered to vegetarians and vegans — a rarity on the South Coast — since its genesis.
As the menu evolved, 7 Devils maintained its commitment to local and sustainable ingredients. Waterfront customers find more refined dishes and a wider variety, topping out at $35, while the pub fare downtown still features poutine, a soft pretzel with cheese sauce and 7 Devils’ answer to spicy chicken wings, from $4.50 to $14.
More appealing to this coastal native are 7 Devils’ local rockfish and black cod, not to mention oysters and pink shrimp. I had indulged plenty in shellfish over the summer, and with my partner and kids, marked our journey down the coast with clam chowder. But because really good fries eluded us, classic fish ’n’ chips ($18) still beckoned.
For $1 more, we could have selected rockfish grilled or fried with a choice of two side dishes from the eight offered. Choosing Oregon black cod or Columbia River chinook raises the entree prices to $27 or $34, respectively.
Seasonality at 7 Devils doesn’t speak only to seafood. Corn, grilled zucchini and sautéed green beans enhance staple side dishes of coleslaw, black beans and brown rice pilaf, the last two in that list doing double duty in 7 Devils’ Baja bowl ($16). Curious about the restaurant’s vegetarian fare and expecting plenty of fish to share with my partner, I lobbied for ordering the mushroom loaf ($19), largely to tack on sides of corn and green beans.
First, we requested the fried calamari appetizer ($12), owing to my partner’s less enthusiastic stance on oysters. I felt confident from previous visits that 7 Devils’ fried oysters ($11) would be exceptional, but I was willing to compromise. We did agree on the “solstice” salad ($14) of spring mix, strawberries, blue cheese, red onions and almonds in lemon-honey vinaigrette.
He followed the menu’s beverage pairing suggestions with the appetizer and ordered a pint of Endless Summer Blonde ($5.50). I thought the Arago Amber would straddle appetizer, salad and the first few bites of fish ’n’ chips and requested a 10-ounce glass ($4.25).
Both beers made fine companions to fried food. Housemade “devil’s aioli” and lemon enlivened the calamari, but the tentacles and rings were unevenly cooked, some a bit chewy and others betraying traces of underdone batter. The irregular sizes and shapes may have been to blame, but I vowed next time to stick with oysters.
In contrast to the calamari’s somewhat haphazard presentation, the salad was precisely plated in bright colors and lively textures with generous portions of both fruit and blue cheese. The dish was a welcome palate cleanser after the calamari, which we didn’t finish, and also whet our appetites for courses to come.
Also generously sized, three fish fillets perched atop thin-cut fries with bits of skin still attached. Although the menu didn’t specify the potatoes as freshly cut, their appearance suggested as much. The texture was sadly soggy, just what I’ve come to expect from such fries.
Very crisp in comparison, the delicate rockfish was in correct proportion to the beer batter and delectably moist. I’d order the fish as an entree next time with different sides and skip the fries. The accompanying coleslaw, however, represented its genre well. I appreciated the very fine, uniform shredding of its cabbage and carrots with subtle seasoning that doesn’t overpower whitefish, in particular.
The side dish that really impressed us was the simplest. Fresh corn kernels, blistered on a hot surface with bits of red onion were at once sweet, savory and perfectly salted. Also slightly seared, the green beans weren’t as impeccably textured as the corn but still a welcome bite of freshness.
The mushroom loaf wasn’t as redolent of earthy fungus as I had expected from the specified creminis and shiitakes but rather defined by the sweet chile glaze atop the slice. The edges were very browned, almost blackened, not the texture I favor in mushrooms. Perhaps 7 Devils’ kitchen staff intended to imitate caramelized meat. But a better choice for vegetarians likely would be the “devil’s garden burger.”
I asked for a 10-ounce glass of McCullough Stout to complement the mushroom loaf, and the chocolatey brew transitioned into the dessert course. My partner and I both rated New York style cheesecake ($9) over chocolate cake once we heard the seasonal fruit compote comprised strawberries. We relished this lightly rich, not-too-sweet dish, gazing at lights reflected on the water, a promising vantage in this village by the bay.
Located at 1240 N. Bayshore Drive, 7 Devils Waterfront Alehouse is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. See 7devilsbrewery.com or call 541-808-2699.
The chefs behind Ashland’s MÄS are floating a new restaurant concept.
NAMA will share a building with its sister restaurant but has a format vastly different from the 12-course tasting menu at MÄS. Subtitled “a raw bar,” NAMA is a seafood-centric establishment with a focus on oysters, wine and saké. Saturday is slated for its debut.
In addition to Pacific and Atlantic oysters, NAMA’s menu touts “ice bento” comprising geoduck clams, abalone, albacore and other sushi-grade fish and shellfish. Cooked dishes also are offered.
Caviar and Champagne are NAMA’s most costly items at $90 and $115. Prices range from $15 for oyster skewers to $45 for Dungeness crab.
Located at 140 Lithia Way, NAMA is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Reserve online.
See the menu at namaashland.com
Accessed from Will Dodge Way, MÄS operates Thursday through Sunday with seatings beginning at 6 p.m. by prepaid reservation of $165 per person. See masashland.com or call 541-581-0090.
Chef Joshua Dorcak heads MÄS, which he co-owns with fellow chef Luke VanCampen, who will operate NAMA.
New menu items at Medford’s Tap & Vine showcase the season’s melon, tomatoes, peppers and corn.
The restaurant in The Village at Medford Center unveiled several new dishes this month while retaining some customer favorites. A more extensive rewrite is coming to Tap & Vine in November, said general manager Adam Benson.
Leading the new lineup are Prosecco-compressed watermelon with heirloom tomatoes, toasted pecans, balsamic drizzle, basil and feta; and esquites-style corn with poblanos, cotija and cilantro crema, served with guacamole and tortilla chips.
Located across from Tinseltown, at 559 Medford Center, with indoor and outdoor seating, Tap & Vine is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. See tapandvine559.com
A locally popular brand of Mexican food is expanding to Central Point.
Owners of Comal Bar & Grill in Medford and El Comal Taqueria & Grill in Phoenix have announced plans to occupy the former site of Mazatlan Grill in Mountain View Plaza. Mazatlan closed in late July, eliciting shock and disappointment from many customers. Owner Rosalinda Wahlberg said the pandemic’s rigors had culminated in such severe staffing shortages that she could no longer run the 21-year-old business.
Comal and El Comal respectively are at 1209 W. Stewart Ave., Medford, and 723 N. Main St., Phoenix. The former was rechristened last year after operating as Fiesta Taqueria. No date has been set to open the Central Point location.
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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.