Currents at the Riverhouse

Food: () French cuisine with fresh, regional Northwest ingredients hits its mark.

Service: () Service professional at dinner, inexcusably deplorable at breakfast.

Atmosphere: () Lovely renovated space includes a spacious deck on the Deschutes.

More Info

Location: 3075 N. Highway 97, Bend

Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. every day

Cuisine: Pacific Northwest with true French flair

Price range: Breakfast and lunch $7 to $16; dinner starters $4 to $16, entrees $22 to $49

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Yes

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Smokey blue-cheese cake is a good dinner option

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Expansive riverside deck

Reservations: Recommended

Contact:, 541-389-8810

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If you liked the menu at Currents, the fine-dining restaurant at Bend’s Riverhouse hotel, when it opened two years ago, you may be even more pleased.

A Pacific Northwest-themed bill of fare has been enhanced with the arrival of new executive chef Michael Stanton. Formerly of The Heathman in Portland, previously in Los Angeles and New York, Stanton has infused regionally sourced ingredients with his training in classical French techniques.

The result is a menu that will delight any Central Oregonian who loves traditional French cuisine — but one that also offers plenty of options for diners who are not so Euro-directed.

On a recent visit, the 10 evening main courses did not include a single vegetarian entree. But non-meat eaters could be satisfied by smaller plates that include several salads, butternut-squash soup and a Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue Cheese cake.

Of greater concern was the level of service. It was sufficiently professional at dinner, except for a particularly long delay between the time my companion and I finished our starters and the time our main courses were presented.

On a later breakfast visit, however, there was absolutely no sense of urgency. And when our largely absent server left the check with only two words, “There’s that,” we were dumfounded.

Evening delights

The Riverhouse on the Deschutes, as it is known, was bought in late 2015 by Vespa Hospitality of Vancouver, Washington. Before renaming and reopening the restaurant in May 2016, the hotel group gave it a major renovation that included putting the hotel registration desk just outside the dining and lounge spaces.

The currents of the Deschutes River rush past a spacious riverside deck that sits directly opposite a cabin used by John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn in the 1975 movie “Rooster Cogburn.” Summer breezes can be welcomed into the main dining area through a bank of sliding glass doors. The atmosphere is one of casual elegance.

My companion and I came for dinner on a Thursday night, the weekly evening when local jazz artists and other musicians perform in the lounge. The strains of keyboard and bass wafted through to our table, providing a pleasant background that wasn’t so loud as to drown out conversation.

We shared a salad and two starter plates. Baby Kale ($10) with quinoa was tossed together with olives, red peppers, shaved egg, garlic and lemon, and finished with an oil-and-vinegar based Cobb dressing.

Stone Oven Escargot ($13) is a dish one doesn’t often find in Central Oregon restaurants. A half-dozen plump land snails were cooked with mushrooms in a garlic-herb butter sauce, sizzled with marsala wine and served with crostini. They were delicious.

The vegetarian Rogue Smokey Blue Cheese Cake ($12) was more to the liking of my friend, a blue-cheese lover, than to mine. She spread it on crispy crostini with roasted garlic and apple chutney and enjoyed it with a baby arugula and balsamic vinaigrette.

French-style entrees

In keeping with the French theme, I ordered cassoulet ($27) as my main course. This hearty and traditional casserole of white beans and meat, prepared and served in an earthenware pot, is always a treat.

Chef Stanton combined lamb, rabbit sausage and duck leg confit with the braised white beans, blending it with chopped tomato and herbed bread crumbs. It was a superb preparation.

My companion opted for filet mignon ($37) in a classic style, with a pinot noir-and-shallot sauce. The prime beef was tender and perfectly cooked, medium rare; it came with pureed potatoes, baby carrots and lacinato (Tuscan) kale.

She also ordered a side of ratatouille ($5), a Provençal stew of eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomato, parsley and garlic, stirred with olive oil. It was fine, but we considered that on a future visit, we might opt instead for grilled broccolini (also $5) with a hazelnut romesco sauce.

Morning slump

Breakfast, by contrast, was a disappointment.

I had the huevos rancheros ($15), a Mexican-style dish with two over-easy eggs atop a crispy corn tortilla. This was served upon a bed of black beans and house-made chorizo with roasted peppers, sliced jalapeños, cilantro and avocado. Creme fraiche and salsa added additional flavor.

My companion chose the smoked salmon Benedict ($15) with home-fried potatoes. A Sparrow Bakery English muffin and not-too-lemony Hollandaise sauce complemented it nicely.

Sadly, whatever positive memories the food may have left were washed away by a server who delivered the bare essentials, and nothing more. Ten minutes after we were seated with menus, she took our orders.

These were delivered in reasonable time, but she didn’t say a word when she placed them before us, and she never checked back to see if we were satisfied.

Coffee was refilled by a bus person. And that final check delivery, without a word of thanks for our patronage, was the icing on the cake. Perhaps she was just having a bad morning, but no server should be that aloof — not if she want a respectable tip or returning customers.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at .