Newberg can sometimes feel like a confused town: part wine town, part college town, part rural suburb.  The restaurant choices reflect that confusion: a little bit of high end, a lot of good grub and some chains.  I am happy to report that a new restaurant has emerged to shine brightly, SubTerra-A Wine Cellar Restaurant.  Janet and Martin Bleck opened this little gem in December 2009 as “affordable white-table cloth dining” and base the restaurant on their many years in catering back east and the local food of the Willamette Valley. 

Curt and I went on a quiet weekday in the winter and were more than pleased.  The food was fantastic and fantastically affordable.  One big difference is that even though SubTerra doesn’t use the most expensive cuts of meat, Martin is such an expert at preparation, the flavors just sing.  I had Braised Short Rib of Beef (it looks like a piece of chocolate cake) with polenta so creamy that it was still inspiring me days later.  Curt had tender Pork with Leek and Mustard.  Each entree came with soup and salad (with Yamhill Valley grown hazelnuts, of course).  Dinner for 2, including one yummy dessert and one glass of wine came to around $50.   Also available are small plates and regional and international wines by the glass.

Martin and Linda have taken the space and made a cozy atmosphere for your dining.  There are soft fabrics and warm colors on the walls.  One wall is a beautiful mural of the wine country.  The wine bar is inviting as well. 

SubTerra is a little hard to find, but so worth it.  I give the directions like this “Turn right after Mike’s Medical Pharmacy, park, and go down the stairs below the Dark Horse Wine Bar” (get it? Sub-Terra).  It is open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch from 11:30 to 5 and for dinner  daily starting at 5 pm.  The restaurant is also available for catered events almost any other time or day.

You can find SubTerra at  1505 Portland Rd. (99W at Villa Rd.), Newberg, OR 97135.  And you can call them at (503) 538-6060.

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