Ostras! Tapas and Bottle Shop
Some of man’s greatest inventions came from simply solving a problem. For example, let’s say you’re enjoying a tasty beverage, but are being bothered by pesky fruit flies. Your bartender might think it’s a good idea to place a piece of bread over your glass to deter the pests. Then, in a moment of inspiration, he puts a piece of regional cured ham on top. According to culinary lore, there it is; the tapa is born.
Created centuries ago in Spain, tapas comes from the verb tapar, meaning to cover. Eventually the tapa evolved into the small delectable dishes served to accompany adult beverages. It’s duty as a food became less about bugs and more about acting as the perfect counterpoint to wine and cocktails.
Today, tapas have evolved into a food artform, and many a person has discovered the gastronic joy of eating several (or more!) small plates instead of a larger, single dish. A good tapas menu is an opportunity to taste and savor, explore new ingredients, and step out of your culinary comfort zone.
For this, you’ll need Ostras!
Located on the Ashland Plaza, Ostras! Tapas and Bottle Shop is brought to you by Ashland restaurateur Billy Harto, the man behind Thai Pepper and Kobe in Ashland, and Bambu in Medford. Harto partnered with one of his long-time employees, Oliver Fix, for this venture, and the sum of their culinary expertise has resulted in one of those restaurants that works on all levels: setting, menu, and service.
Stepping into Ostras! is like walking through a portal to some far away place: rustic and comfortable, with high ceilings, brick walls, and upholstered seating. But it is also decidedly Southern Oregon, with lots of local ingredients for their international flavors, and a wine list showcasing the region’s best bottles.
Far from those original tapas days, where the only bottle of wine was one the proprietor made out back, Ostras! has an Argon gas-based wine dispensing system that allows them to offer by-the-glass choices and tastes to assist with your wine selection. And their commitment to proper pairing reflects in their decision to include a retail wine shop, where patrons can purchase a bottle to accompany their meal at regular retail pricing and enjoy it without a corkage fee.
If other adult beverages are your thing, the clever mixologists at Ostras! have created a line of craft cocktails that also utilize fresh and local ingredients, and are worth the visit all by themselves.
But you’d be remiss to overlook the food, especially the seafood tapas and their incredible sauces: scallops with romesco, prawns and harissa verde, clams with chorizo and fennel, and, when available, oysters. If you didn’t already know it, ostras means oysters in Spanish.
And while meal size portions are available for some dishes, you are strongly encouraged to take a taste tour through the tapas menu. That’s where we’ll be, raising a glass to that long-gone barman and his inspired solution to fruit flies.
47 N. Main Street