THE CASCADE ROOM

Food: () Outstanding dinners by chef Darrin Hauser; glitches at lunch.

Service: () Friendly but inconsistent, with evenings better than midday.

Atmosphere: () When there’s no daylight view of the golf course, it’s quite ordinary.

More Info

Location: 61045 SE Country Club Drive (south of Murphy Road), Bend

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday (public hours)

Cuisine: American

Price range: Appetizers $3.50 to $17.75, salads and sandwiches $9.50 to $16.50, entrees $17.75 to $41.25; 20 percent gratuity added to all checks

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: On request

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Best choice is the risotto Mediterranean

Alcoholic beverages: Fully licensed

Outdoor seating: Seasonal

Reservations: Recommended

Contact: bendgolfclub.com/dining, 541-322-5771

For more area restaurant reviews, visit bendbulletin.com/restaurants

T he best thing about enjoying dinners in the Bend Golf & Country Club’s Cascade Room is knowing that chef Darrin Hauser is cooking for you.

After 11 years at the Awbrey Glen Golf Club, Oregon native Hauser came across town last summer to take over the kitchen at the private southeast Bend club. His outstanding cuisine inspired Bend Golf, a local institution since 1925, to begin serving public lunches and dinners four days a week, Wednesday to Saturday.

Unfortunately, there is nothing special about the atmosphere or the service. Worse yet, especially as one of the club’s goals is to attract new members, nonmembers are made to feel like second-class citizens. There are separate menus for the “in crowd” and the general public, with prices on the latter running 15 percent to 20 percent higher for the same items.

On my recent lunch visit, a server seated me with the members’ menu but charged me the nonmembers’ price — and added an additional 20 percent for gratuity. I would have left a $2 tip for a $12 lunch, but until I saw the bill, I didn’t know I would be paying nearly $17. When I questioned the bill, she apologized for giving me the wrong menu, but explained that every guest, member or not, pays the built-in gratuity.

Lunch woes

For additional reasons, that solo lunch was far less satisfying than a dinner with my dining companion. I was seated in the members’ lounge amid four televisions, as no other nonmembers were at Bend Golf for lunch. My server seemed flustered that she was the only person attending five tables. Efficient but slow in taking orders, she didn’t refill my water glass until I had finished my meal, and she never checked back to ask if I was pleased with my meal.

In fact, I was only half pleased. A cup of tomato-basil soup was one of the best I’ve had in Bend. Drizzled with pesto olive oil and topped with shaved Parmesan, it was savory and zesty, and filled with coarse chunks of tomato like a good bisque.

I had mixed feelings, however, about my shrimp melt. The menu indicated it could be served cold or hot. It did not, however, suggest that it might be both at the same time.

Presented open-faced on lightly toasted English muffin halves, topped with slices of tomato, were two generous scoops of bay shrimp in a salad with minced celery and fresh dill. The shrimp was tasty — but it was cold, and the thick slice of processed Swiss cheese on top was only partially melted, like plastic. Slices of cayenne-sprinkled avocado accompanied.

Great dinner

I have a feeling that Hauser was not in the kitchen for that lunch, because our dinner was without fault.

We began with fresh salads. Mine was a garden salad with crisp leaf lettuces and frisée, shredded carrot, pear tomatoes and sliced cucumbers. My house-made, honey-mustard dressing was a perfect complement.

My companion’s Caesar salad, with chopped hearts of romaine and shaved Parmesan, was finished with anchovy paste, without which a Caesar is not a Caesar. The house dressing was excellent. Shaved Parmesan accompanied and a lemon wedge came on the side.

My Korean-style kalbi short ribs ($29) were advertised as “chef’s award-winning dish,” and they lived up to the hype. The beef was slow-braised with a reduction of soy, ginger and cinnamon, then sprinkled with green onion and sesame seeds. A soft and very cheesy polenta was a perfect adjunct.

My friend’s entree choice was a New Zealand lamb special ($26). The rack of ribs, lightly crusted in seasoned bread crumbs, was cooked tender and medium rare. It was wonderful. It came with a portion of delicious gnocchi and mixed vegetables. Indeed, both entrees came with lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower sauteed with bacon.

Cascade Room

Service was much better in the evening, in part, because the restaurant was better staffed, with three servers and an active manager.

All four were working both rooms — the Cascade Room and the members’ lounge — and everyone was friendly and very capable, even though our server was shaky about questions in menu specials and wine pairings, and no one could keep the lighting from flickering between bright and dim.

A roaring fireplace separates the two rooms. The high-ceilinged Cascade Room, often used for community events, has large windows that in daylight offer an extensive view across the golf course. But there’s some confusion about whether it’s a formal or informal room: Half of it has white-tablecloth service, while the other half has none.

The wine selection is modest but well priced, catering (I was told) to members’ requests.

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

19144356