Visions Ultra Lounge & Nightclub

There's a smart, new nightspot to dine, drink and dance in downtown Medford.

Visions Ultra Lounge & Nightclub recently opened in the lower level of the Acme Building on West Sixth Street, right around the corner from Evergreen Way, the city's new pedestrian-friendly walkway and parking area.

The renovated, upscale restaurant and lounge features Italian fusion cuisine and a full bar, along with an urban atmosphere that includes a lighted bar, a dance floor and a deejay spinning vinyl after 10 p.m.

Dining hours are from 5 to 10 p.m., and the menu features appetizers, pizzas, panini sandwiches and desserts, along with three compelling entrees — a pork tenderloin, rockfish in an almond crust and pesto chicken.

According to our waiter, the limited number of entrees is due to the size of the kitchen. But, the small "cucina" doesn't stop chef Justin Summerhays — formerly of Macaroni's in Ashland — from creating his delectable dishes.

While my spousal equivalent and I perused the menu, the waiter raved about the pizzas and paninis. But we were in the mood for an elegant dinner and chose two of the entrees, the pork ($15) and the rockfish ($12).

We ordered the antipasto ($10) for an appetizer. The menu touted the anitpasto as a platter of assorted meats, cheeses and fresh fruit. It arrived at our table absent the fruit, but it was a generous plate of tasteful ingredients all the same.

The meats and cheeses were a cut above most standards, and there were olives, artichoke hearts and marinated mushrooms that had a hint of spiciness to them. With a good glass of wine, the plate would make a meal in its own right.

The menu also offers a good selection of Oregon wines by the glass or the bottle and several Northwest beers on tap.

We are not "foodies," but the entrees arrived at our table looking like photographs out of Bon Appetit magazine. My rock fish was encrusted with toasted almonds and fresh herbs and topped with a cranberry and orange marmalade.

The pork tenderloins were glazed in apricots and a coarse-grain mustard. The entrees are served with saffron rice or gorgonzola polenta — we both chose the polenta — and roasted vegetables. We were delighted with the freshness and the flavors that each of the ingredients lent to main courses.

The food is indeed Italian with a twist. Chef Summerhays has a taste for heat in his recipes.

Before we left the restaurant, we ordered one of the desserts — the Raspberry Pyramid ($9) — to share later. It was a delicate pyramid-shaped shell made of white chocolate and filled with white chocolate mousse with kirsch-soaked raspberries.

We also ordered one of the pizzas — the Pepper Vision, pepperoni with fresh mozzarella and black olives, ($12) — to take home with us. We ate it cold the next day, and it was everything a pizza should be, topped with zesty ingredients and made with fresh dough.

It's my intention to return to Visions to try more of the pizzas offered on the menu.

There's the 3-D Vision, made with roasted garlic alfredo, spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella; the Tunnel Vision, topped with butternut squash, gorganzola, mozzarella and alfredo with pears and toasted almonds; and other equally enticing combinations.

Visions could be an appealling nightspot to those who would like to enjoy either a sumptuous dinner, a casual meal, an elegant dessert with coffee or cocktails and dancing. And its location makes it a convenient stop for Medford's urbanites.

— Laurie Heuston

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