A room with a view always gets all the attention, but sometimes you are just cruising down to the coast for the day, and you're not getting a room at all. So what's the next best thing? A restaurant with a view!
The Buoy Beer Co. in Astoria, Oregon is exactly that. A restaurant with an incredible view. It is nestled into the docks down right on the ocean, and I am telling you, the view alone is worth a visit. Add to that a 90 year old cannery turned restaurant and brewery, a private view of a sea lion snuggle puddle and darn good food. Are you out the door yet?
This was my first time to The Buoy, and I have to admit, I was going into this lunch with reservations about not going to my usual Astoria spot- Fort George. However, I was not disappointed. As you walk in the first thing I noticed was a large window in the floor, ya know, a glass floor that you can stand on and look through- below this window is a small dock where the seas lions hang out. They are so cute and I want to cuddle them so hard, so I took a deep breath and stepped onto the glass floor. Yeah, I was scared. I am always scared when I stand on glass. But I did it, because, well, sea lion cuteness is out of control.
I finally made my way to the table and was greeted by a friendly server. The menu is one page, I like that. It had all the usual coastal staples of seafood as well as brewery basics (burgers, spiced nuts, cheese curds). I ordered a Buoy Burger: Buoy Pale Ale butter-basted 1/3 lb. Oregon bison burger, pepper bacon, Buoy Oatmeal Stout caramelized onions and may on a pub bun with a house pickle and fries. The burger called for Tillamook Cheddar Cheese (the only way to go), but you know I had to hold that. My associates ordered the spinach artichoke dip and rockfish and chips.
My burger was so tasty! I am a huge fan of bison burgers, if you haven't had one or are afraid that buffalo would be a weird meat, you should know that it is super flavorful, has fewer calories and less cholesterol than beef or chicken, while pretty much functioning the same as ground beef. It's also pretty expensive, at the grocery store or even a buffalo ranch (they have a bunch of them in Oregon) you will pay about $8 a pound for it. So, I splurged for this top-shelf burger, and it was totes worth it. It was lean, but juicy, fragrant and perfectly seasoned and cooked. My fries were perfect, but the show stealer was the house brined pickle! If you go to Buoy Beer Co. for no other reason than to try the pickles, you'll leave happy. I tried to get the recipe from the previously noted friendly server, but she wasn't giving anything up. I can tell you one thing though- there were cloves in the brine.
After eating I was able to check out the rest of the establishment. The walk to the restroom was filled with giant paintings, and some really awesome photos of the construction it took to turn this place into a restaurant.
On the way out, we stopped and watched some more sea lions playing around. This is a perfect activity to do with a too full belly. Then it was time to load back into the car and head back to the city.