Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ram Restaurant & Brewery

Ram Restaurant & Brewery ("The Ram") is located in Salem, Oregon, just south of the Willamette University campus. They have a full bar and a decent selection of your typical American lunch/dinner restaurant meals.

(Source: go here)

For the first year or so that I lived in Oregon, The Ram was one of my places to go to. I thought their steak (I always get it prepared medium or medium rare) was delicious. At the time, I ate a lot of steak, and The Ram Special Sirloin was my personal favorite. Over time, I expanded my horizons, ordering a grilled Alaskan Wild Sockeye salmon. The fish was generally prepared well, although there was a tendency to overcook the salmon. The rice and vegetables were well-seasoned.

Ram's Chicken Caesar salad is generally a success. I do opt to get the Caesar dressing on the side, and while I still think it comes from a bottle (and not freshly prepared), it's still OK to me. I must say that The Ram serves a pretty generous salad portion if just getting a salad for a meal. The croutons can be hit or miss. Sometimes, they were nice and crunchy; other times, it was a soggy disappointment. Lastly, I think the chef puts on a little too much Parmesan cheese for my liking. You can also get this dish with salmon (blackened or grilled) instead of chicken. It may cost a bit more, but it's a nice choice for the salmon lover.

Some of the Ram's appetizers are generally your standard bar food. The combo (chicken and beef) nachos were OK, nothing to really write home about. The wings were messy (awesome!) and had good flavor. The onion rings and the spinach/artichoke dip were also very good, but again, not standing out from the rest of the world's food.

For appetizers, look for the following two items that you may not be able to find in just any bar. I would first try the Buttface Amber Ale Beer Cheese Dip (with chips). If beer and nachos can go together, surely combining beer and cheese works, right? It does here. Next, try the fried calamari with sweet chili garlic and rosette sauce. I'm a big seafood guy, and I'll eat seafood raw, baked, fried, steamed, etc. The sauce works well with the calamari because the sauce does not take over the taste buds here.

And yes, if you're in the mood for a beer and sports, The Ram has you covered.

Based off my first few experiences, I conclude that The Ram is a good place to go to if hanging out with friends for a drink and some sports. Students at Willamette University (the older, 21+ crowd) and Oregon professionals have a good place here. Just a caution: parking could be an issue during peak hours.

I usually don't rate an establishment real high if the atmosphere is too much like a bar setup. Again, it's just my personal take on such places; others may just love it here. For me, there are better places I will ultimately venture to. 4.25/10

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