We ate at Bluefish Bistro (no website that I see; instead here’s a link to The Source’s dining guide entry) in Downtown Bend last Saturday (my wife and I), and yes, I’m just now getting around to writing about it. Bluefish is one of the newest restaurants in the current trend of upscale, fine dining experiences in Bend (others being Merenda, Cork, Zydeco, Ariana, for instance), and it’s also one of the most expensive. More on that in a bit.
Located downtown on Franklin, on the corner of Drake Park and Franklin basically, it’s kind of an unassuming place from the outside. I don’t know if that bodes well or not because that location has generally seen more turnover than other places downtown; I can think of two previous establishments there in recent memory. Inside is nice, more character; I particularly like the water fountain dividing the entry area from the dining room.
One nice touch: the water had a fresh sprig of mint in it. My wife wasn’t sure how well she liked that, but I thought it was refreshing—we grew up with a lot of mint growing in the gardens, and there’s nothing quite like being able to pick and eat fresh mint leaves.
The bread was very good, but it was the butter that stood out. There are three kinds: a sweet butter, a honey almond butter, and a tangerine butter. They were, frankly, amazing.
A note to beer drinkers: they apparently don’t have any beer on tap, it’s all bottled, and at four dollars a bottle, you’d probably be better off going with a glass of wine (which is what I did).
The food was good, but expensive: all the entrees were in the mid to upper twenties, the heirloom tomato salad was $12, glasses of wine tended to run seven dollars and up. The food was excellent—I had the halibut which was tender and moist and flaky, along with well-chosen root vegetables (beets and turnips, I want to say), and the vanilla cheesecake was stunning—but I think it’s the most expensive of restaurants we’ve been to lately. Sad to say, this will be the limiting factor as to how often we visit Bluefish, I imagine.
Overall, a very good dining experience. If you can afford it, it’s worth a try at least once.