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Lick Your Chops - Sisters, OR

If you haven’t tried Chops, you’re missing out. For starters, the Sisters restaurant, which features live entertainment Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, is downright beautiful, with its high ceiling, rustic beams and posts, and wood-burning, floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace. Even better, the food lives up to its surroundings in a monster way. Every dish we tried showcased Chef Grant Dixson’s masterful hand when it comes not only to taste but to texture.

My food posse and I started out with a round of first-rate craft cocktails, hot bread studded with caraway seeds and served with roasted garlic, thyme and shallot butter, and one of the best scallop dishes we can remember. Wrapped in bacon, the scallops were beautifully seared and still creamy inside. Crispy meets satiny and salt meets sweet brininess, topped with a lick-the-plate citrus, vermouth butter sauce.

Next we moved to the silky, house-smoked steelhead. Piled on a toast point with the accompanying cranberry and serrano chile remoulade and you not only got the chef’s signature play of textures, but a subtle note of back-end heat that would be re-echoed throughout the meal.

That suggestion of spiciness perfectly countered the sweetness in the scratch-made butternut squash soup.

All too often, entrées don’t live up to an eatery’s creative starters. That was definitely not the case here.

The Pescatore, billed as bouillabaisse but more of a cioppino, featured enormous, head-on shrimp, diver scallops, mussels, clams and calamari—all as tender as can be—in a pernod-laced, ever-so-slightly piquant tomato sauce. As flavorsome as this seafood stew was, the entrées just got better from there.

The melt-in-your-mouth, farm-raised boar tenderloin tasted like a cross of pork and beef. “This is my new favorite,” said Leah, who’s not a particular pork fan. The meat’s brandy-and-cider glaze along with the accompanying yams, sautéed asparagus and thin slices of persimmon provided the perfect foil to the boar.

The delectable Anderson Ranches rack of lamb was served medium rare with a nut and red pepper-based Romesco sauce, sautéed beech mushrooms and tomato, and a crispy, rich risotto cake. Yum.

I was already imagining ordering the duck breast—which I knew would feature crackling skin and succulent meat—upon my return when dessert hit. And that sealed the deal. All three showcased that now-familiar, scrumptious composition of taste and texture.

The decadent chocolate mousse was layered with roasted strawberries, chocolate crumble made from almost caramelized sugar mixed with 60 percent dark chocolate and an espresso sabayon.

A tang of citrus imparted freshness to the rich key lime and avocado cheesecake, while a pecan crust added a nutty crunch.

The #1 hit on the dessert parade, however, had to be the warm fig bread pudding served with caramel sauce and rum-raisin ice cream. Serious wow! I wish I had some right now.

“We are dedicated to making Chops one of the best restaurants in the area,” owners Tracy Syavovitz and chef Grant Dixson write on their website. I would say they’ve absolutely succeeded.