A loyal reader sent me this review of Bentley's via email.

How do you goof up a $26 New York Steak?

Go to Bentley’s

Well, I have been putting off a visit to Bentley's looking for an “occasion” since I knew going in it was in the upper price range. I was looking for somewhere nice for my wife and I to go out. We chose St Patrick's day since they would have the Salem Fire bag pipers from 5:00 to 6:00.

First, I could not get there until 5:30. As I show up, the bag piper are leaving (NOT 6PM as told to me on the phone). My wife and I order, she gets Prawns and other seafood. I get the New York steak with mushrooms on it. To make a long story short, the food arrives. My Steak had a covering of tomato PASTE with mushroom mixed in, not a nice thin sauce but PASTE. The paste was burnt on top it off. The presentation was nice in that it was on a bed of mashed potatoes. But, I asked for it not to have any potatoes. My wife’s dinner, albeit good, had a decoration element of Hummus. In our opinion, not a good combination.

As to the atmosphere I felt like I was in an “all you can eat” restaurant. No privacy, TONS of noise and the only thing resembling atmosphere was a central fire hearth.

Service was average, items came slow and we were never asked for even a refill of water. Drinks were not cheap. Both being $4.50 and one was just a straight shot.

My recomendation, pass on Bentleys’ go to Sizzler. You get better food and better atmosphere at a much reduced price!


Melina Tomson, MS said...

Bentley's is definitely hit or miss. I've had some really good food and some really average food there. I've had mostly good service there and haven't experienced that aspect there.

I find many of Salem's restaurants a bit claustrophobic so I kind of like the open aspect of Bentley's myself.

* said...

I feel your pain. I've been there a few times, and sometimes the food is excellent, and other times, it is painfully mediocre, bordering on just plain bad. I usually get the halibut fish and chips, sometimes they are perfect with a light batter, and other times, horrendous with a thick chewy batter.

Bentley's usually looks okay though. I was there for St. Patrick's day for lunch, and the decor was vastly different than it usually is. On that day, they had lots of hideous foil decorations and it looked pretty cheezy. Also, maybe they fouled up the food because they were concentrating on their extra St. Patrick's day menu that day. Also, $4.50 for a drink is pretty cheap/standard for a fine dining establishment.

Anonymous said...

Wow that has not been my experience. My wife and I have been there multiple time and have never had anything short of great food and service. We make sure to save our going there for a special times like birthdays, anniversaries, and new years. I would say your experience was not the norm.

Salem Man said...

Sizzler? No way. I think you came in there with extremely high expectations and were let down. I have not heard a whole lot of great things about Bentley's, but I would imagine even on their worst night they would be better then Sizzler. Do we even have a Sizzler in Salem?

Anonymous said...

Yes there is one on Lancaster, maybe if it is still there. And it is absolutely horrible. I have hated that restaurant every since I was a little kid. Yuck... oh and I am speaking of Sizzler not Bentley's.

Anonymous said...

I guess you were right I was expecting A LOT. I admire those who try something new BUT if it was a sauce that is one thing but this was what I can only describe a PASTE FROM A CAN and it was BURNT how do you do that.

In retrospect I was there to celebrate my Irish roots and with the bag-pipers leaving as I arrived (remember I was told they would be there for at least 30 min longer) that did start us off on the wrong foot but I stand by my review. They ruined what could have been a good black angus steak

KandN said...

Sizzler is what it is. I do remember when we first moved here the Bigfoot/Thai Fusion location used to be a busy Sizz. I could never put the lovely pond out front together in my head with a order at the counter restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I see the side of this reviewer... he came in expecting the live music and didn't get what was promised, and the food and service were lousy to boot. Myself I avoid Bentley's, but often find myself there anyway when a friend's get-together being held there warrants my presence. I've found the service to be pretty average and the food to be way below what it should be for the PRICE. The food is ok sometimes, sure, but not for fine-dining, not for the price tag. I have read menu descriptions, let myself get excited even though I know better, and seen and tasted my plate of food to major disappointment. Never anywhere near what it promised to be on the menu, that's the disappointing part. I've never had ruined food however, as this reviewer claims. .

I've also had Bentleys staff telling me how they really had to "dumb down" their food for Salem diners. When they opened they had a hard time selling things on the menu until they changed stuff around and brought out more well-known, over-done and boring dishes. This is the Olive Garden of hotel restaurants for Salem Oregon.... Dumbed-down and cookie-cutter and not exciting at all, in order to please the majority. And overpriced. Its not their fault necessarily that their customers demand boring food. But it doesnt make me want to eat there.

Still, no bad experience anywhere would cause me to go to Sizzler!

Bentley's Grill said...

To a loyal reader who sent a review via email:

Thank you for sharing your experience & concerns. St. Patrick's Day was a very busy evening for us here at Bentley's Grill. Not to say that a busy day should result in an unsatisfactory experience for our customers.

I am sorry that you did not receive your steak as you had expected it. Our New York Steak is topped with a Porcini Ragout. This includes the following fresh ingredients. Onions, Celery, Fennel, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Mushrooms, Marsala, Pizza Sauce & Demi Glaze.

Our steaks are cooked in our open fire grill, and I don't know how you ordered your steak (medium, well done, etc.) Ordering your steak on the well done could result in our freshly prepared Porcini Ragout getting darker or crisp even.

Excellent customer service is a vital part of the success of any establishment, and is something that we at Bentley's hold in high regard.

Please know that had we had the opportunity to learn of this experience the evening you dined with us, we would have made sure you walked out the door happy and sure to return. We would still like that opportunity.

A sincere apology in regards to the Salem Professional Firefighters Pipes & Drums. It was our incorrect understanding that the group would be here at our restaurant and performing from 5PM to 6PM. However they instead were arriving to perform between that time range.

You can be sure that our St. Patrick's Day Event next year (that is a loud event) will be clearly stated with accurate times of performances in the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your wife.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I always appreciate it when a representative of a restaurant takes the time to respond to criticism on this blog. It shows they care about their customers' experiences. Thank you Bentley's!

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Bentley's/hotel restaurants, but I take off my hat to them for professionally responding. That puts a lot of points on the board for me.

Kudo's to the management.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that was nice. It wasn't an attack, but a polite response, and that says a lot. I do hope that people tell restaurant staff while they are still there if something has gone wrong... the staff can't do anything to right a wrong if the customer just carries their concerns away with them. This is a review site and customers can say whatever they like here, but they should give the restaurant a chance to correct things too by bringing it up with them at the time of their visit. Restaurants really do try to have happy customers, believe it or not.

Amber said...

I also appreciate the professional response from Bentley's. When companies are willing to go the extra mile with their customer service, it makes me much more willing to give them another try!

Anonymous said...

I agree I am so glad they did respond and explain why my wife and I had been misinformed about the "from 5 to 6 "vs "between 5&6" .

As to the steak I asked for "blue" (very rare) and got med rare so the "burnt" taste is even harder to explain.

I may try again but I will not have such high expedition looking for a high-end food restaurant (no offence intended). We had saved Bentleys for a "premium" night out but we now know better.

Anonymous said...

My group of girlfriends usually chooses Bentley's for a girls-night-out meet up. It's not my top choice but I know the company is really more important than what we're eating. We usually try to go on a Wednesday for their Ladies Night menu. Everything on it is 4 bucks: about two choices of salads, and 4 or 5 cocktail specials.

Last week when we were there, every drink on the Ladies Night menu was made with cranberry juice except one. Since I don't care for cranberry cocktails I had the other one, and it was...... surprisingly delicious. I was impressed, it was well mixed and inventive. Rum and citrus and tasty... I had two. Also, since we lingered long enough, when 9pm rolled around I ordered the chicken quesedilla off the happy hour menu. It also was delicious. This is a much tastier experience than I usually have at Bentley's. It was nice, and super-well priced.

We often get the same table in the bar for our large group and thus the same server, and she's awesome. She puts up with us always splitting the check and needing more bread, refills, cocktails. Good service is the norm here.

Anonymous said...

Not fond of this place. The food has been poor the two times we tried it. I am pretty sure the beautiful piece of halibut my wife ordered was doused in liquid smoke. She only ate a bite and we had to put it two tables away because it smelled so strong.