When I returned to Common Table for dinner, I decided to sit at the walnut table. I sat between two people I had never met and was handed a menu of simple bar fare - sandwiches, pizzettes and the soup of the day, all for less than $10. I ordered the roasted garlic, cherry tomato and squash pizzette ($5) and the open-faced steak sandwich ($9). Both were quite good. The pizzette was huge for the price and topped with farm-fresh vegetables. The steak sandwich was a savory delight - thick slices of sautéed beef were topped with a generous amount of melted Gruyere and onions on a chewy piece of homemade bread that acted as a sponge for the salty au jus. A delicious side salad accompanied the dish. While the restaurant is still in its infancy, the fresh ingredients, price and preparation make it worth the visit.
Common Table - 150 NW Oregon Ave, 541-639-5546. Tuesday - Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Thursday - Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday is "pay as you can," featuring a variety of soups for a suggested donation, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Bend Fish Co. Hawaiian Grindz
Grindz (Island slang for "food") usually consists of barbequed fish, pork or beef, served with lots of rice, pasta, potatoes or combinations thereof. In Hawaii you might get fried eggs and spam over white rice with gravy - a concoction known as "loco moco." Thankfully, not every restaurant strives for absolute authenticity - Bend Fish Company has tried to blend the best of the islands' Asian and Polynesian influences with their own ideas.
The Grindz menu consists of five different entrees as well as sandwiches and salads. Two side dishes are included with all meals except salads, the options being potato-mac salad, mango salsa, steamed or brown rice and peanut coconut cole slaw. Prices range from $7.50 to $11.00 for both lunch and dinner.
Devotees of the old Bend Fish Company need not worry. The restaurant still features fish tacos, sushi, eight kinds of fish and chips with unique tartar sauces, plus a live crab tank for the upcoming Dungeness season. Indeed, the extensive seafood menu is what differentiates Bend Fish Company from the other island-style-grills in town. But now you can take your fish-phobic pals or kids along and they'll be happy, too. It's still ultra casual with no table service, get your own drink, industrial strength plastic plates and plastic utensils. Bend Fish Company's Hawaiian Grindz is no frills - just good food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Bend Fish Company, 212 NE Revere, 541-330-6131. Daily 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday