Cowboy Dinner Tree Restaurant

50962 E Bay Rd.
Silver Lake, 97638
Reviews:
This place is a marvel. First, unlike most restaurants, it's not anchored to any town. It just sits out there in the middle of the sage brush. As other reviewers have stated, it is a rustic joint. Power is by generator. The decor is wonderful; it is the opposite of the kinds of restaurants that have been decorated 'all at once'. This decor has emerged over time, and is in keeping with the tenor of the area. Animal skins, old traps, Forest Service signs and horse tack cover the walls. A big old wood stove provides wonderful heat and light. The food is awesome. When you call ahead, you choose either a whole roast chicken or a 36 ounce top sirloin. Upon being seated, you are brought a dinner salad with one of two dressings; a decent ranch or a fabulous house honey-mustard, (which they sell for 6 bucks, just ask!), and a plate of hot skillet bread. Then comes the 'soup' which is usually a cowboy style bean stew, like those you eat at any branding. Then comes your meat-n-taters and yeah, there's a heap of it, and it is beautifully prepared. The meat is cooked in an outdoor grill/smoker, and the flavor is awesome. The thing to do is to have one person order the chicken and the other beef, so you can each have both. Lastly comes desert, which is always homey and decadent. This isn't high-falutin food- it's country fare, perfectly cooked. The only thing that stops me from giving it the full five stars is the speed with which the staff rushes you through your meal. If anyone at your table has finished a course, the waitress is there instantly, trying to clear off all the plates. Each time I've gone, I've had to slow down the service- I'd actually like to be able to burp between courses. It's really funny, the speed with which they want to move you through. Last time I went, I had to tell the waitress I was not finished 3 times, and I am not a slow eater! Still, this is easy to over come. Just tell them ya aint done yet! And the leftovers are great! Oh, and NO PLASTIC. BRING CASH!
The Cowboy Dinner Tree is the restaurant that Oregonians in the know tell you about. People drive from all over to eat at this out-of-the way eatery. The experience is like one of those extended family gatherings where you have your Aunt or Grandmother who is cooking & isn't going to let anyone go home hungry. The food is plain, hearty fare. If you want beer, cocktails, or wine with dinner you are in the wrong place,(they don't have a liquor license.) Plus as the entree, they only serve chicken or steak. So if you are looking more variety, this isn't your place. The salad was a simple dinner salad with homemade honey mustard dressing & ranch dressing. They also bring out hot steaming dinner rolls that they appear to bake themselves with whipped butter, Yum. Next is the "Cowboy Bean" soup, which is bean soup with cubes of steak & I believe Celery. It's a good soup. The entree selections as I mentioned are chicken & steak. Oh, did I mention that it's a whole chicken & the most ginormous thick slab of steak I've ever seen. I had the steak. My dining companion had the chicken. We split each in half & let's say I didn't feel deprived. The chicken was OK. To me it wasn't any different than a Rotisserie Chicken that you get at a grocery store or Costco. I wish they had a distinctive spice that had made the Chicken something more than it was. The steak, one word: Wow! They don't appear to cook to order, but it appeared Medium-Rare. Imagine a 1"-1 1/2" thick tender large steak that melts in your mouth & this is what you get.(They offer Horseradish with the Steak, but I feel it overpowered the flavor of the meat.) At the end of the meal, the waitress gives all of the diners a bag to take home leftovers & you will have leftovers. The dessert was good. A Brownie in a white sauce. In summary, I gave the Cowboy Dinner Tree four stars because I was disappointed in the average chicken. Otherwise, I would've given it 5 stars.
This is the restaurant that you bring your out of state friends to for the true Oregon experience...you know the ones who pronounce it OR-E-GONE? Make sure you tell them you are going to dinner and to save room for the meal. LOTS OF ROOM....Plan a late breakfast and then an earlyish dinner so that when you get there you are ready to eat! Make a reservation- during the reservation let the restaurant know what you will have for dinner....Chicken or Steak. That's right...two options... Drive to Silver Lake....Make sure that you have a GPS or very specific directions! If you miss the small turn you will continue driving through Eastern Oregon. Be ready for a drive- it takes about 90 mins from Bend. When you get to the restaurant you feel you have stepped back in time. The restaurant runs on a generator...that's right...no electricity...so no credit cards! But the reason that your bring your friends so far to the middle of Eastern Oregon is for the food. The food is amazing! I love steak and they make the best steak...tasty, tender and HUGE. Definitely bring a cooler so that you can put your doggie bag on ice for the ride home. The homemade biscuits are divine and the cowboy beans are soo yummy...both are a meal all on their own! Dessert is always homemade and it changes depending on what they have! No alcohol at the Cowboy Dinner Tree but all the lemonade, ice tea or coffee you can drink in a cowboy sized mason jar. Don't have any friends coming into town...make the trip with your local friends or family. It is totally worth it!

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