Rating Currents at the Riverhouse

Food: () Regionally sourced menu is everything its predecessor was not.

Service: () Still finding its way, but staff training program is achieving fine results.

Atmosphere: () Casually elegant, the redesigned restaurant makes the most of its riverside location.

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Location: 3075 N. Highway 97, Bend

Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

Cuisine: Pacific Northwest

Price range: Breakfast $7 to $15; lunch $13 to $16; dinner starters $7 to $16, entrees $13 to $35 (specials to $45)

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: On request

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Variety of choices on request

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Expansive riverside deck

Reservations: Highly recommended

Contact: currentsbend.com, 541-389-3111

A change of ownership, a multimillion-dollar renovation, a name change and — Prest-O! Change-O! — a once-neglected restaurant is not only revived; it’s better than ever.

Currents at the Riverhouse reopened in early May, a little over a year after Vesta Hospitality of Vancouver, Washington, purchased the Riverhouse hotel complex and went to work on the overhaul. During a five-month closure, the former Crossings was “gutted to the beams,” said Jeff Stokholm, general manager of food and beverage operations.

“We even took the kitchen floor out to install new wiring, plumbing and drain lines,” Stokholm said, adding: “Everything is up to code now.”

Instead of a series of anonymous cooks, the new Currents hired a veteran executive chef, Mark Hosack, away from Gracie’s at the Hotel deLuxe in Portland. Hosack and noted restaurant consultant David Machado designed a Pacific Northwest-themed menu, regionally sourced, served from morning till night, seven days a week.

Besides the kitchen and menu makeover, the dining and lounge space has an entirely new appeal. Now known as Riverhouse on the Deschutes, the hotel has relocated its front desk from an upper building to a lower-level lobby that opens into both the dining and bar areas.

Barriers and room dividers have been removed so that rooms flow one into the next and onto a broad riverside deck through a bank of sliding glass doors. The effect is one of casual elegance. With the Deschutes rippling past — the name Currents was chosen for a reason — summer breezes are welcomed into this restaurant.

Certainly, those doors will be closed much of the time when cooler temperatures again visit Central Oregon. By that time, however, the sounds of jazz will infiltrate the restaurant. The Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz series launches in late October and concludes in mid-April after seven weekends featuring such performers as Tierney Sutton and Ravi Coltrane.

Brunch for two

Until then, the brunch menu at Currents is pretty jazzy in itself. I loved my Mexican-style huevos rancheros — over-easy eggs on crunchy corn tortillas with ground chorizo, sliced avocado, red and yellow peppers, jalapenos and green onions and topped with crème fraiche and mild salsa. (I requested Cholula sauce for a little more spice.)

My dining companion was very pleased with her smoked-salmon Benedict, with a light hollandaise sauce upon poached eggs laid onto two Big Ed’s English muffins. But this was more than a simple Benny: It featured heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, red peppers and caramelized onions.

The brunch menu also includes a bread-pudding French toast with a corn-flake crust and a pecan-and-banana topping. The chilled Niçoise salad, a lunch item that I had on another occasion, offered a generous scoop of tuna salad with red potatoes, green beans, roasted red peppers, hard-boiled eggs and radicchio.

An original bloody mary with pickled vegetables was delicious. And a Paddleboard Punch, a vodka beverage with pomegranate-lemon kombucha, delighted my companion.

Dinner for three

If Currents has had a particular challenge in its opening months of business, it’s been one that’s familiar to area restaurateurs — finding and training a staff of professional servers. Early feedback was critical, but on each of my recent visits, I had no major complaints. I noted only a couple of minor service glitches.

“I feel like we’ve gotten over the hump of (staff) learning,” said Stokholm.

There are so many enticing items on the dinner menu, we brought along a third party to help us taste them all. And even then there were more dishes we wished we could have tried.

The Oregon blue-cheese cake, served with spreadable roasted garlic and apricot chutney, was an outstanding starter. The Margherita flatbread was more like a caprese pizza, halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves atop melted mozzarella.

The simple organic greens salad was as fresh as could be: red leaf lettuce and frisée tossed in a house vinaigrette with cherry tomatoes, oven-baked croutons and a couple of garlic cloves. But we found the roasted beet-and-quinoa salad a little disappointing; served on leaves of bibb lettuce with shaved fennel, red and golden beets and creamy goat cheese, the quinoa was bland and lacked its usual nutty flavor.

All of our entrees were outstanding. Roasted Alaskan halibut was served on a bed of chopped savoy cabbage, tossed with bacon and onion in a savory sauce of stone-ground mustard. A Carlton Farms pork chop, served with basil-whipped potatoes and complemented with apricot chutney, was tender and delicious — although, accompanying rainbow chard was too bitter.

As befits the successor to Crossings, which first made its name as a steakhouse, the steak was outstanding. At our three-way dinner, my companion chose a 20-ounce bone-in rib-eye special, topped with blue cheese and served with horseradish mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked broccoli. On a previous solo visit, I was very pleased with my grilled flatiron steak, its medium-rare medallions topped with beer-battered onion rings and served with mushrooms and creamed spinach.

Many of us don’t want more than a bite of sweet to finish our meal, and Currents delivers with its Bridge of Shot Glass Desserts, priced at $2 apiece. Shots of lemon meringue, raspberry panna cotta and blackberry-chocolate cake were just right.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com .

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