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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Round the Bend

30801 East Park Hwy.
South Bend, NE 68003

(402) 944-9974

Open from 10 am to 11 pm, Tuesday through Saturday

When we pulled into the parking lot, I couldn't believe what I saw. How could a restaurant, almost literally in the middle of nowhere, have so many cars parked around it? If one of my dining companions hadn't had a handicapped parking sticker, we wouldn't have found a parking space at all. Not that there was a lack of space surrounding Round the Bend, South Bend's only steakhouse. The large brown building stood alone amidst the vacant farmland.

From the number of people lining the walls of the entryway and spilling out onto the benches and haybales in front, it was clear that our party of eight was in for a long wait. An hour and twenty minutes long to be exact. To kill the time, we headed over to Bulldog's Bar and Grill in Murdock, where we sometimes attend Saturday karaoke nights. We even toyed with the idea of ditching our original plan and having fish there instead. When we found out that they were out of pollack and only had catfish, we decided to stick with the original plan. We did, however, enjoy their fine Miller Lite and Keno.

By the time we got back to Round the Bend, they were setting up our table. While it might seem that an hour and twenty minutes is a long time to wait for a cheap fish dinner, we went on a Friday during Lent. We got what we deserved.

The atmosphere was a little nicer than most small town retaurants. They have an attached bar with kind of a brand-new-but-cheaply-constructed-sportsbar vibe. Their large dining hall is lined with booths and is quite roomy. (Maybe a little too roomy. Shouldn't they try to fit a few more tables in there, considering, well, the hour and twenty minute long wait?)

After a quick look at the menu (the usual steakhouse fare), the waitress (who looked strangely familiar) took our order. Everyone wanted the all-you-can-eat fish for $6.95. The fish (pollack, not catfish-- thank GOD!), comes with your choice of fries or a baked potato, a little plastic cup of coleslaw, and a dinner roll. Our orders arrived a few minutes later in red plastic baskets. The side dishes were what I expected-- the coleslaw was creamy, the roll came out of a plastic bag and not an oven, and the baked potato was, well, a baked potato. Now the fish. When they say "all you can eat," they're not effing around. The very first serving comes with five generous pieces. The breading was very light, which is how I like it, and the fish itself was flakey, moist, and tender. The tartar sauce, just like in Staplehurst, was prepackaged. It didn't matter though, since they had malt vinegar and hot sauce on the table, which are better than tartar sauce anyway.

When the waitress asked if we wanted seconds, we had to say no thank you. We were stuffed. (I couldn't even finish my third piece.) After chatting her up a little bit, we discovered that she's a Saturday night karaoke regular at Bulldog's as well. That's small town Nebraska for you.


Anonymous Mr. T said...

You know I just drove past that place yesterday on my way to the Platte River Park. I should stop in sometime. I love good, lightly-battered fried fish.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

It was delish.

(Do people say "delish" anymore?)

4:00 PM  
Anonymous foxspit said...

Stopped there for a ribeye a couple of years ago. Good food but the steak was real fatty. I cut out the fat and ended up with a decent meal.

Can't say it was enough of a bargain to make a special trip for a meal, but I'll go again if I'm in that neck of the woods.

8:42 PM  

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