Around the World at Dinnertime: Medford Has a New Flavor
West Medford is a patchwork of Southern Oregon life. From the fringe of downtown to the country roads leading into Jacksonville, there is a patchwork of everything. New housing developments neighboring trailer parks and historic old homes, cannabis dispensaries next to down-home hardware stores, and at least a few handfuls of empty houses and storefronts just begging to be something fresh. It’s has its own special charm, if you ask me. I should know, I live there.
And among the empty buildings waiting for inspiration, something unexpected has happened. Medford has a new, classy but casual eatery on the west side of the tracks. Flavor Restaurant and Bar is offering up a globe-trotting menu.
I had to try.
Flavor has taken over a space on West Main St. which was formerly a faded Italian restaurant. They’ve overhauled the restaurant and redesigned it into a chic, modern, bright dining space with a beautiful bar. I was stunned by how well they’ve set the stage here. Walking into a well-considered dining room always makes me curious to find out if the food will follow suit.
The menu concept here is “global kitchen.” There are a lot of directions to go when you have choices available from Indian samosas to slow-cooked Hawaiian pork and Japanese fish katsu. I wondered before coming here if a concept so broad would just be overwhelming for customers, but because they are keeping their menu simple and their dishes focused it was easy to look at everything and get excited about trying it all.
We started with their Street Corn appetizer with Tajin seasoning and vindaloo aioli. The vindaloo made it a unique version of the dish and everyone from my street-corn-snob of a husband to my three year old absolutely loved it. For entrees, we ordered the Butter Chicken, the Mac and Cheese, and the Global Platter (a sampler tray of dishes like their Hawaiian pork, mac salad, fish katsu, and chocolate lava cake). It was so much fun to get to share all of this as a family and try tastes of this or that from around the world.
The food was wonderful; cooked and plated with care. The Butter Chicken was the star on the table. It’s a classic Indian comfort food with chicken stewed in mellow curry spices, and they did it so right. The sampler was a great way to get to know Flavor’s menu and find your favorites. The Mac and Cheese we ordered with our toddler in mind, and I noticed right away the hints of less commonly used spices like mustard and paprika in the dish. I loved that they did this, and included it in a way that was so approachable for young food adventurers.
I got to talk a while with Dimple, one of Flavor’s owners. She told me about how she and her husband moved here from India only fourteen months ago to be near their daughters. Their combined restaurateur experience and love of food came along with them—and Flavor Restaurant and Bar was the natural next step. Dimple’s mother also happens to be a long-time resident in the Rogue, as well as a cooking instructor and star of the Rogue Valley Community Television show “Cooking With Kumud.” Kumud raised Dimple on the foods she learned and loved from different cultures. And who’s cooking in Flavor’s Kitchen? You got it. Chef Kumud.
Flavor Restaurant and Bar
11 am – 9 pm, Daily
1213 W Main St., Medford