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Tasting Notes: Dining

 Posted: 8:40 AM March 28, 2013

Alchemy Restaurant and Bar

Cuisine and scene: A new identity for the restaurant inside Ashland's Winchester Inn is most evident in the extensive cocktail menu featuring "elixirs" and "tinctures" of such spirits as brandy, gin, whiskey, even absinthe from its full bar. Food is less fanciful, with mainstays such as miniature beef Wellingtons, stuffed quail and butter-poached lobster tail. The inn's longtime genteel ambiance remains intact, despite an edginess suggested on Alchemy's website.

Recommended: Sweet, seared sea scallops are enriched with pancetta-turmeric cream sauce; foie gras' superior texture and mild liver flavor complements mission figs atop crostini appetizer; beef marrow encased in batter and deep-fried makes a striking presentation nestled in the scooped-out bone garnished with pickles to cut through several incarnations of fat.

Alternative diets: "Chef's vegetarian plate" changes according to availability; one vegetarian pasta entree and one vegetarian appetizer.

Beverages: Wine-flight option from a dozen labels available by the glass; encyclopedic list organized by varietal and origin, including sparkling, rare or limited-stock bottles and half-bottles; local, other domestic and imported, bottled beers.

Price range: Appetizers, $8 to $18; soups and salads, $8 to $9; entrees, $19 to $34; desserts, $5 to $9.

Extras: Split-plate charge of $10 per entree; no separate checks; 18-percent gratuity applies to parties of six or more; street parking or in city lot across Second Street.

Serving: Dinner beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Info: 35 S. Second St., Ashland (inside The Winchester Inn); 541-488-1115;

— Sarah Lemon

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