Thanks to feedback from an earlier posting, six of us showed up at Bendean for a 7:00 reservation last night. There was a large group occupying our table, but we were advised that they were just finishing desserts. We weren't seated until 7:20. While we were waiting, they gave us a copy of the wine list, but no one came to take our orders, no water offered, etc.
After we were seated, we waited another 15 minutes to get water and someone who could take our order. We wanted to order appetizers, and spend more time looking at the main dishes, but were told that the kitchen required that all appetizers and mains be ordered at the same time. OK, we figured it might be the last time we saw our server, so ordered. Our server was great, really knew the menu, so I'm not sure who to blame for the ridiculously bad service:the person who had seated us who was surveying the room, and had to be aware that we were just sitting there with no bread, water, etc? Should he have told us they were short staffed that night?
When we finally got our food, it was fantastic! The freshest of french fries with a fragrant aoli, a wonderfully crunchy fennel salad, a mushroom galette that melted in our mouths, fish fingers with a green sauce. Great food, but worth this much struggle for the prize?
We raved over the main dishes as well. Spaghetti with mushrooms and cream featured handmade noodles, and was perfectly sauced to let the flavors of the mushrooms shine through, the steelhead trout was a revelation on its bed of butternut squash, the green lentils with vegetables held a hint of Indian seasoning, and the hangar steak was perfectly cooked.
The consensus around the table was that the food was memorable, but we'd have to be dragged back (and not on a Saturday night).