Bend Fish Company: Choosing substance over style | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Bend Fish Company: Choosing substance over style

Fish and a smile, what else can you ask for?At Bend Fish Company, no energy is squandered on the superficial. It's all about the food. Besides the stylized fish in the logo, the only other decorative touches in the place are a plastic blue marlin mounted on the wall and a small collection of toy dinosaurs displayed in the window of the sushi counter. Instead of fine china and candles, you get red-checkered paper and fluorescent lights. If it's warm enough, you can opt out of the cafeteria-like interior and take a table on the patio, but even then you'll have to settle for a view of the Blockbuster across the street. However, if you love seafood, you won't mind the lack of ambience. You may hardly even notice. Your eyes will be immediately drawn to the extensive and rather eclectic menu of seafood favorites from around the world, and for those who prefer their own preparations, the beautiful filets of fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, and other delicacies are for sale behind the glass in the front.

With regular deliveries throughout the week, everything is always fresh, and it's pretty reasonably priced even when there's not a special deal going on-which these days is nearly never. About three years old now, Bend Fish Company has recently added some incentives. Go by and collect your coupon for 15 percent off everything, including fresh fish, all day Sunday until the end of the year, and there is a new happy hour menu Tuesday-Saturday, which spans three and a half of the nine or so hours the restaurant is open each day.

There are three major categories of offerings on the menu: The traditional fish-house dishes, the "Little Baja" Mexican-style options, and a relatively new sushi menu, which was introduced this summer. The happy hour menu includes a good sampling of all three. The Fish n' Chips ($6.95) is always a treat on the fish-fry side. You get your choice of catfish, cod, or salmon (there are five more options if you forgo the happy hour deal) and one out of three slaw options. But the best part is that you get two tartar sauces chosen from a list of eight, all of which are superb. Try mixing and matching. Dip your catfish in the Traditional tartar and your fries in the Rasta to spice them up with jerk flavors. Try the Cajun fried oysters ($8.95 a dozen) coupled with the Cajun tartar sauce for some snacks with an attitude. In the mood for Mexican flavors? The tacos, fish or shrimp done pretty traditionally, are among the best deals at $2.50 apiece.

The sushi menu covers the gamut, sashimi (sliced raw fish), nigiri (fish on rice), and an array of rolls from plain tuna or salmon and avocado to large and deluxe rolls combining a variety of ingredients and accent flavors. With fish this fresh, though, best to keep it simple. The basic yellowtail nigiri ($4 for two pieces) was perfect combined with the miso soup ($1.50), possibly the best I've ever had. Drink specials are available as well, considerately selected so you have an option regardless of your order: Sake ($1) or Asahi beer ($3.50) if Japanese is the flavor of the day, and $3 drafts and $1 soft drinks to wash down a basket of deep-fried goodness.

If you can't make it for the discount hours or it's Monday, the one day of the week that doesn't have them, the regular menu has all of the above for about a dollar more, as well as sandwiches and salads-try the Buffalo Club or Buffalo Salad if you like your cod with a kick-plus soups and snacks like fried calamari, shrimp cocktail, ceviche, and some Japanese-inspired raw fish salads. There's something at Bend Fish Company for pretty much anyone who likes seafood, and you can bet that it will be done well with the freshest of ingredients. Landlubbers need not apply.

Bend Fish Company

212 NE Revere St., 330-6131. Sun.-Thurs. 11am-8pm, Fri. & Sat. 11am-9pm. Happy hour, Tues.-Sat. 2-5:30pm.

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