Sunday, June 11, 2017


Location: Ashland, Oregon

Food: American/Barbecue

Close to: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Smithfields’ slogan is “Meat-centric,” but this isn’t an ordinary barbecue joint. Located on a steep hill near the historic Ashland Springs Hotel, Smithfields takes a modern upscale approach to the art of meat. Their menu features some of the great American classics, transformed through careful attention to ingredient quality and the cooking process. Even in a city filled with excellent restaurants, Smithfields stands as one of the most interesting and unique.

The entree menu at Smithfields is split between “Meat,” cuts of meat largely allowed to stand by themselves, and “Developed,” which includes familiar American meat entrees as well as innovative new dishes. Standing out in the former section is a 10-ounce brisket ($17) and a perfectly cooked half roast chicken, served with lemon and thyme ($18). Like many steakhouses, Smithfields offers add-on sides and sauces if you want a particular flavor experience with your meal.

The “Developed” menu boasts some equally outstanding food. The fried chicken, served with chive mashed potatoes and crimini mushroom gravy ($16), hides juicy chicken meat within a crisp, well-seasoned coating. Pork belly is common on the menu in modern eateries; Smithfields’ variation ($26) uses the tangy flavor of apples both as a sauce and as a robust chutney served alongside the thick-cut pork. Chewy bacon-braised collard greens round out the flavors of the dish. Even the vegetarian option is excellent: A goat cheese soufflĂ© ($18) that accentuates the delicacy of the cheese with the earthy sweetness of beets.

While you’re waiting for your meal, you may want to take advantage of Smithfields’ extensive bar, which has dozens of varieties of whiskey in addition to several signature cocktails. There are plenty of appetizers to choose from as well, including a fresh-baked loaf of bread with seeds and cracked pepper ($3) and a charcuterie board ($18). (Bread is on the menu because your meals are served with complimentary cayenne popcorn.) If you have room for dessert, try the peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake ($8), an incredibly rich concoction that makes use of honeycomb to add a layer of crunch to its thick, creamy filling.

Smithfields provides an impactful eating experience that appeals to many tastes. Whether you’re looking for something upscale without the frills, want to make an event out of an evening, or simply like eating delicious food, Smithfields has excellent options for you. 

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