Mixed feelings about Benson’s food and service

mstucka@macon.comMay 4, 2012 

Benson’s Steak & Sushi serves up mixed feelings: When the restaurant’s working right, it’s got phenomenal service and good food. When it’s off, you can’t help but mourn the unfilled potential of a higher-end restaurant with a spread of Japanese and Chinese offerings.

When my family visited for this review, we were certainly saddened by much of the meal, which came to about $54 for three adults and a child, before tip and with no alcohol.

About the best things were the steamed dumplings, a Japanese gyoza in paper-thin wrappers. The wrappers tore in places, but they tasted phenomenal. At $9 they weren’t a cheap appetizer, but there were more than enough for our table.

My wife’s salad had some of the best ginger dressing she’s had.

Unfortunately, the rest of the meal wasn’t quite up to par. My wife ordered a shrimp tempura roll ($8), and found the shrimp to be rubbery. The sushi itself was about too big to eat.

My tuna roll ($4.50) was fine.

We got beef lo mein ($10) for my daughter and were surprised at how bland it was. Mind you, this wasn’t a lo mein made less flavorful at the behest of children. Benson’s has a decently broad menu, but the offerings for children are pathetic: $6 gets them chicken nuggets, a chicken sandwich or a grilled cheese, all with fries and a drink. It wouldn’t be hard for Benson’s to offer kid-sized portions of things already on their menus, such as lo mein or fried rice, that many children would order.

But neither kid nor adult liked the beef lo mein.

One of the few bright stars were my father’s asparagus chicken ($13), which came in ample portions and suitable flavorings.

Despite being a slow night, service was somewhat inattentive and drinks went unfilled. In previous visits we’ve had large groups at Benson’s, which gave us amazing service, so such a failure is a particular disappointment.

The restaurant, which is nice inside, also had atmosphere problems, in that news channels were showing some recent horror while Aerosmith blasted across the dining area.

It’s not hard to cook shrimp right, or lower the volume or refill drinks. Benson’s needs to fill its niche, or diners will continue to be saddened by what could have been.

Benson’s Steak & Seafood

Address: 1289 South Houston Lake Road, Warner Robins

Phone: 287-6809

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Payment: Cash, credit, debit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Medium

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Health Rating: 89

Price range: Entrees $8 to $23

Rating: 2.5 stars

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