We look forward to visiting Oran Mor each year because of the wide variety of interesting dishes Chef Chris Freeman puts together. We are told that “Oran Mor” means “Great Song,” and that this sometimes refers to a song sung in Scotland after being victorious in battle. It is also one of Scotland’s most popular whiskey bars and a single malt whiskey liqueur.
Chef Freeman has been running Oran Mor since 2006 and many have sung the Great Song in praise of his work there. The restaurant is up a flight of copper stairs to the second floor at 2 South Beach St. There is no elevator available.
The restaurant is made up of a number of second floor rooms in this rambling house, all elegantly decorated.
We visited Oran Mor last Saturday, and while the menu changes daily, this one is at least typical of what Oran Mor offers. Appetizer prices run from $13 to $23 and entrees from $31 to $40, with the ribeye being the highest priced item.
For appetizers we ordered the Bartlett’s Farm Organic Greens ($13), consisting of Feta cheese, compressed watermelon, red onion and almonds. The watermelon added a lot to the salad, which we found delightful.
For our other appetizer, we ordered Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon and sausage ($23) with black mission fig compote, lemon cake crumbs and Portuguese bread. (A torchon is similar to a terrine, except that one is cooked in cheesecloth and the other in a special terrine vessel.) It doesn’t look from the picture like we were served any lemon cake crumbs, but there is a half fig in the center of the platter instead. Both the torchon and the sausage were delicious spread on the Portuguese bread toast, combined with the fig compote.
For one entrée, we ordered Roasted Pekin Duck Breast and Leg Confit ($35). It was served with Okinawa sweet potato puree, arugula, emmer, quinoa and huckleberries. The duck breast was tender and delicious, although the confit was not quite as good as we’ve had in the past. But with the grains and berries, this was quite a successful dish. The dish came with three little flat brown pieces of what might best be described as “sesame brittle,” and that was a lovely and creative idea.
Our other entrée was Roasted Lamb Chop and Sausage ($36) with roasted summer vegetables, olive tapenade, pesto and herbed croutons. If you go to a restaurant on a busy Saturday night, there are likely to be flubs from time to time and we felt this was one of them. The lamb chop was tough and a bit gamey, and the tapenade and pesto overpoweringly strong for the lamb. And the spicing of the lamb sausage was quite strong and reminiscent of kielbasa, which probably wasn’t exactly what they intended. We found it disappointing.
But 3 out of 4 isn’t bad on a Saturday and we’ll certainly be back again next year.