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River Mill Grill

River Mill Grill

The River Mill Grill has taken over the old Fireside Red location and I've been excited to get over there to sample the goods. The Wife and I got the opportunity to go on a beautiful day and sitting on that famous deck was the best part of our evening.

The deck was just under half full and only one table occupied inside the restaurant. We sat down and only had one set of silverware and nothing else on the table. We waited for our server to arrive and when she did we ordered a couple of drinks. Water glasses were on all the other tables except ours and we waited and waited. After about 10 minutes our drinks arrived and she put them down and bolted before we could order our meals or ask for water.

Another 10 minutes goes by before she returns and we finally order. After about another 5 minutes we asked the bus boy, (is that still the term? That doesn't sound very PC) who was refilling the water glasses at the table next to ours, for some glasses. He came back within a minute or two. I know this might sound like a minor complaint but it was pretty hot out there.

We ordered an appetizer of Baked Brie - baked brie wedges encrusted and served golden brown garnished with green apple slices. Apples and cheese for $6.50. The Wife hopped up and grabbed the napkin/knife/fork from an empty table next to us since we never got a second set. The flavors were just fine but it needed something else like a sauce or spread. For 6.50 I'd like to have a little more than just three small slices of breaded brie and a few slivers of apples. I wish I had a photo but we were quite hungry when it finally arrived that we dove right in.

After the appetizer our salad and soup (you get a choice of one with your main dish) arrived. The Wife went for the soup which they called Mississippi Mud. I got the caesar salad.

The Wife rather enjoyed her soup, she described it like a jambalaya without the fish. I took a taste and it was pretty good. If you go to the River Mill Grill, I'd say get the soup. The salad was as basic as you can get with a caesar.

Then we waited for 15 minutes easy for anything to happen. No one came by the table at all and we got to watch the other tables cycle through and new patrons come in. I'm pretty sure our waitress was just worthless. So your experience might be better, it couldn't get much worse.

Finally our entrees arrived. The Wife ordered the Pork Schnitzel - breaded pork grilled in butter with a squeeze of lemon for $13.95 and ordered a side of veggies for a $2 more. OK, why $2 for veg? Everything else was using the lame .95 Applebees pricing, why not keep it up? Seriously, how about you keep your mini-bucket of rice or your cabbage and just sub in the veg?

We actually chuckled at the rice pilaf sand castle and parsley sprinkles that took us back to 1987 and we were listening to Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer".

Whoa we're half way there!
Livin on a prayer!

Her pork lacked anything resembling flavor. But, since we didnt have any salt and pepper on the table and no chance of anyone coming soon, the Wife went looking for some and made it to the other end of the deck to find an unclaimed pair. Between our two entrees I think we emptied half of each container of salt and pepper.

I ordered the Tournedos of Beef Bordelaise - three beef medallions that were supposed to be "laced" with Bordelaise sauce for $16.95 and ordered them medium rare.

As you can see, "laced" means a soup ladle full of mushroom gravy and served with wrinkled, heat lamp potatoes. Cutting into my first medallion I discovered that medium rare also translates into rare. Do I sent it back and wait another decade for medium rare, or do I eat it since I'm not anti rare meat. I chose to eat is since we were 1.5 hours into dinner already.

Would you like dessert? No thanks, I give up my card and wait another 15 minutes to get it back. Seriously, dinner took 2 hours and we didnt have any weird orders, many drinks or a huge group. It sucked. The food was way outdated and bland.

I don't want to go back but the Wife wants to go for happy hour and see if things are different with a different server. I do not want.

River Mill Grill
803 Sw Industrial Way Suite 202
Bend Oregon 97702
(541) 678-5666


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18What? Got something to say?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always kind of rooted for Axel to succeed in his busines ventures. But based on the pics alone, I won't be going there. The descritpions that you give (mini-bucket of rice, basic as you can get caesar, etc.)seem to match what I'm seeing quite well. Those plus the service, don't float my boat.

August 17, 2009  
Blogger Miss Adventures said...

great review...I'd hope if I stumbled in there accidentally it would turn out good...cause after reading this I'm not sure I'd go on purpose. I have had many experiences like this one with other restaurants in town and I'm pretty tired of it.

August 17, 2009  
Anonymous PrineSwine said...

Thanks for saving us a trip...sounds like quite an experience.

August 17, 2009  
Blogger Chillable said...

Like both the name and the decor (after only peeking in the window), sounds pretty uninspired. It's such an amazing space, why can't someone do something amazing with it??

August 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought Fireside Red did a great job remodeling...River Mill totally ruined the sad...feels like a cheap supper club now.(they removed the booths and small cafe feel)They do not use the amazing wood fired oven(not sure they know how) sits empty. I guess if a person is into a slab of meat (with fat all over it), and a huge mound of ... potatoes, and salads without any imagination...they might enjoy it...service was also poor. Just not our thing. Sad....has the greatest deck in Bend :(

August 17, 2009  
Blogger Bend Oregon Restaurants said...

I know my experience wasnt a good one but that doesnt mean yours will be the same. I'd really like to hear if anyone has been there and had a good experience.


August 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offense, but you'd easily be able to obtain a higher level of credibility in your reviews if you were to refrain from using phrases like "It sucked".

Other than that, I thought your review was informative, factual and detailed regarding the sub-standard service.

August 17, 2009  
Blogger imagesbyjk said...

Yeah, I ate there too. I was going to blog about it on my blog (is that redundant?) but wanted to see what you had to say. Glad I waited because my blogging WOULD have been redundant. I'm a big Axel fan too. The wife and I ate at Le Bistro on our wedding night and hit it every anniversary until they closed. We've always followed his restaurants because we knew they would be high quality. But with this one I think he's phoned it in. The food was average and the service was almost that good. No creativity on the menu. Maybe he's trying to keep it affordable but its not working.

August 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "it sucked" can be an extremely descriptive and appropriate phrase...quite credible indeed. Perhaps not very highbrow, but who cares?

Yes, I wish Axel could go back to what I think he knows best. German food. I'm not sure that Bend would be able to support that, though. But it might have a better chance that just another O.K. steak house.

August 17, 2009  
Anonymous theminkz said...

We had a very disappointing meal there as well. The service was mediocre as was the food. Our drinks took forever, the wrong apps were brought out, your review of the pork is spot of with my husband's experience. We were bummed.

August 18, 2009  
Blogger imagesbyjk said...

As for Bend supporting a german restaurant, having grown up here I recall several that were very popular and lasted quite a while. Among those of course was Axel's. Another item I forgot to mention was we ordered the flourless chocolate cake to share as our desert. They brought us the chocolate mousse, or what looked, felt, and tasted like mousse. When we asked the waitress she insisted it was the cake. It was definitely mousse.

August 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was excited to go thanks to all the "Axel is Back!" ads but was really disappointed. We arrived to a 1/4 full restaurant and were told it'd be about 10 minutes before we could be seated. 20minutes later we finally sat down and waitied another 15 before our server noticed us. The potatoes were so dry I almost ordered a side of gravy. My friend did enjoy his steak, though. I wish that the Fireside red-era booths were still in the bar... the happy hour menu looked promising but I doubt I'll return.

August 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah...remember the days of Frieda's, or the Black Forest?

August 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, havn't they only been open two weeks? Give them a chance to figure out the flow.

If you were the only table that didn't have silverwear and had to wait then I think chances are good that service will be just fine.

I am sorry, but there is no way that you waited two hours on dinner if there were only a couple of other tables out. Sounds like a little exaggeration - I have never had that happen to me at any restaurant in Bend, when there have only been a few other tables. How negative.

August 19, 2009  
Blogger BendB said...

I truly hope your experience was just a fluke. I am still going to give them a try after they work out the kinks. I even plan to take my dad there for our mutual birthday dinner because he always took me to LeBistro or Black Forest when I was a kid.

Now, if Axel will just add my favorite dish from back then... it was a delicious meal... softball sized chicken and stuffing fried golden brown.

And I hope there will be some sort of Oktoberfest celebration too.

August 20, 2009  
Blogger imagesbyjk said...

Fluke? There's a whole list of "flukes" here. Not sure, but I think the definition of fluke has something to do with isolated incidents. I could be wrong. ;-)

August 29, 2009  
Blogger Pure Ingredients said...

Not only your review but your pictures saved me a trip. I love Caesar salad, done well. As you can see in those pictures, the croutons are straight out of the Sysco truck and I'd hate to think of the junk you're ingesting in that "beef" "sauce". But the decider is service. No, your initial complaint isn't petty -- ya gotta have good service.

August 31, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also feel that the review is over exaggerated. My husband and I went to the River Mill Grill last night for dinner. We started out with the artichoke crostini - delicious. Next, We ordered the sea scallop chef recommendation with rice pilaf and the ratskellar chicken. The scallops were grilled to perfection. and the chicken was amazing. Our server was great -- very prompt and attentive.

Reading the comments above, I feel that it is premature and unfair to steer people away from this new restaurant. Every restaurant has to work out the kinks, and from our experience, it sounds like it has!

September 02, 2009  

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