Whatever your taste, brunch is here

By Matt Wastradowski, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Portland has been lauded in recent years for its bustling brunch scene, which inspires eclectic dishes, fawning bloggers and long waits.

But you don’t have to cross the bridge for a late-morning breakfast. The brunch and breakfast options in Clark County are plentiful and inventive in their own right.

Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro in downtown Vancouver offers five omelettes and scrambles, and about 10 specialties.

Those favorites include the Loco Moco, which is made up of two scoops of rice, teriyaki burger, two eggs, grilled onion and brown gravy; as well as the King Kam, which includes fried rice with Portuguese sausage and bacon, topped with two eggs.

Brunchers aren’t limited to the Hawaiian fare. The nearby Gray’s at the Park prides itself on Northwest cuisine prepared from local ingredients, and the Quay Restaurant and Bar caters to fans of the traditional with a champagne brunch and extensive breakfast buffet. Elsewhere, Lapellah accents its already unique menu with new chef selections each weekend. Rounding out the brunch scene is The Original Fatty Patty’s, which provides big portions of comfort food at ample prices.

In short, there’s something for everyone. Eat up.

Gray’s at the Park

Where: Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St., Vancouver; 360-828-4343 or http://graysatthepark.com.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Selling point: Gray’s at the Park, inside the Hilton Vancouver Washington, recently received the distinction of having the best breakfast in the chain’s North American hotels for 2010. The restaurant prides itself on using local and regional ingredients, executive chef Troy Lucio said, and that’s reflected in the menu’s most popular items.

“Anything in the Northwest, anything salmon or crab is a winner.”

Menu: The Gray’s brunch menu includes the Northwestern Skillet, which includes two eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, spinach, Applewood bacon, sausage gravy and toast; the Smoked Salmon Benedicts, made up of smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin with cucumber, Hollandaise sauce, poached eggs, crème fraîche and caviar; and the Croissant Scramble BLT, a toasted croissant served with scrambled eggs, white cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato.

Prices: Most items are $10-$16.50, side items are $3-$5, and specialty items such as Quiche and Smoked Salmon Benedicts are $12-$16.

Tip: Diners wanting seats with views of Esther Short Park, just to the north of the restaurant, should make reservations, Lucio said.

Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro

Where: 801 Washington St., Vancouver; 360-694-5107 or http://tommyosaloha.com.

Hours: 9-11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Selling point: Tommy O’s offers a taste of the tropics with a menu heavily influenced by Hawaiian ingredients. Kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, rice, papaya and coconut find their way into several of the menu’s choices.

The menu’s more unusual offerings include malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts tossed in cinnamon and sugar. The doughnuts, available only on weekends, are served in batches of six with a side of raspberry jam.

Menu: The breakfast menu at Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro is split between omelettes and scrambles, and specialties. In the Big Island Scramble, Kalua pork, yellow onion and bell peppers are scrambled with eggs. The specialties include the Loco Moco and the Mauna Loa, in which homestyle potatoes are scrambled with eggs, mushrooms, red onion, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and a choice of feta, Swiss or cheddar cheese.

Prices: Omelettes and scrambles are $9.99-$11.99, but diners can create their own omelettes for $8 while adding ingredients for 99 cents each. The specialty plates range from $5.50 to $10.99, and side items are 75 cents to $3.50.

Lapellah

Where: 2520 Columbia House Blvd., Vancouver; 360-828-7911 or http://lapellah.com.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

Selling point: The inventiveness of Lapellah’s dishes sets it apart, executive chef and owner David Mork said. But the weekly specials are where the restaurant unveils its creative side.

“We kind of put a different twist on things to make it our own,” he said. “You’re always getting the best of the moment, and that’s where the creativity really shines through.”

Recent weekly specials have included Smoked Salmon Benedict, and a Smoked Salmon Hash with pickles, red onion and crème fraîche.

The menu also includes an oven-baked German Pancake, which Mork chalks up as a rarity among brunch spots.

“It’s something not everybody’s had,” he said.

Menu: The plates include a Leek and Mushroom Hash, Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, and Country-Fried Steak and Eggs. Sides include bacon, housemade sausage and a pastry.

Prices: Lapellah’s brunch plates are mostly $8.95-$10.95; sides such as bacon, sausage and pastry are $2.95, and soup and salad plates are $4.95-$9.95.

Quay Restaurant and Bar

Where: 100 Columbia St., Vancouver; 360-694-8341 or http://quayvancouver.com.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays; final seating 1:30 p.m.

Selling point: The restaurant sits on the north side of the Columbia River, just west of the Interstate 5 Bridge, and its nearly floor-to-ceiling windows offer full views of the river.

“We’re so lucky that we’re on the river,” said food service director Steve Gallagher. “There’s something about gazing out over the water that draws people.”

Another draw is that brunch is served buffet-style.

“Not that many places do it anymore,” Gallagher said. “It’s kind of an old-time thing. Places still do brunch, but it’s a la carte. But we do the full-on buffet.”

Tips: For the best river views, make a reservation, Gallagher said. “The folks who have made a reservation, we honor by getting them a window seat. Almost every one of the folks who make a reservation gets a window table.”

Menu: The Quay Restaurant and Bar’s breakfast buffet includes bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, blintzes, red roasted potatoes, Eggs Benedict and scrambled eggs. Other selections include custom omelettes, breads, roast meats, seasonal fruits and seafood. Two Chef’s Choice entrees vary from week to week.

Prices: The Quay’s Sunday brunch is $23.95, or $27.95 to add champagne with refills. Brunch for children 6 to 12 years old is $11.95, and brunch for children 5 and younger is free.

The Original Fatty Patty’s

Where: 10501 N.E. Highway 99, Suite 30, Vancouver; 360-574-4940.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Selling point: The Original Fatty Patty’s is a longtime family favorite, thanks to its large portions and good prices.

“If you want to just come and pig out, this is the place to do it,” manager Jamie Lemons said. “We serve large portions. A lot of people split.”

Menu: The menu is breakfast-heavy, featuring classic fare such as omelettes, waffles, pancakes and hash browns. But the real draw is a heaping helping of S.L.O.P., or Super Large Oversize Portion. The hodgepodge is made of breakfast favorites, including hash browns, diced ham, onions, peppers and tomatoes. The mix is covered in cheddar cheese and sausage gravy and served with either toast or a biscuit.

“I think a lot of people do it just to say they’ve had it,” said Lemons of the dish. “It’s good hangover food.”

Prices: A plate of S.L.O.P. runs $9.95-$26.95, depending on the portion size. Omelettes range from $8.50-$12.95, and other classic breakfast foods such as Chicken-Fried Steak or Biscuits and Gravy run $10.95-$16.95, depending on the portion size.