You’ve got to check out the new Oread Hotel Restaurant in Lawrence. It’s ten stories of stone and dark wood, complete with restaurants, bars and even a nightclub in a “cave” in the basement. Sitting atop Mount Oread, it has a tremendous view of the KU campus and beyond.
We were there before a KU game and had hoped to eat in the Bird Dog Bar, but there was a 90 minute wait at 6 pm. So we opted for the more upscale Five 21 just down the hall. The restaurant is an extension of the rest of the interior, more stone, wood and picture windows. Very attractive, with low lighting.
We sampled several appetizers and a couple of entrees, all of which were good and nicely presented. The chicken with mashed potatoes was the winner of the evening, easily as moist and tender as I can remember having in a restaurant. The vegetarian entree was thankfully not your typical steamed vegetable platter–instead there was a perfect mold of sweet potato hash, surrounded by salad greens and perfectly cooked green beans. Other options include salmon, duck and filet.
The crispy shrimp with cashew slaw was tasty, as was the bruschetta with tomatoes, apricots and Gorgonzola, not a combination I would ever have dreamed up, but it worked. The crab dip was a little too rich and creamy for my taste, though it was a substantial portion.
Would I rush back? Probably not. Dinner was certainly enjoyable and competently executed, though not memorable. Would it succeed in another setting? Unlikely, but it’s certainly worth a visit just to experience the casual elegance of the Oread Hotel.