Why: 15 East Restaurant & Bar owners Nikalus and Jenna Casetta may have the recipe that will make their establishment a long-term dining success in Battle Ground. The menu features innovative dishes born from a passion for the culinary arts. Although tasty selections such as the Jagermeister Prawns appetizers and Vodka Fettuccini sound like bar fare, this is a family-friendly restaurant with something for everyone.
Atmosphere: The space, which formerly housed the now defunct Paparazzi, is very much the same, with a few flooring changes and some new pictures on the walls. Seating is divided among three main areas, with booths, tables and chairs, plus high-bistro tables in the bar area. The color palate is earthy and dark with a touch of old world charm.
What I tried: My dining companion and I began our dinner visit with the Jagermeister Prawns appetizer. I decided on the Chicken Prosciutto sautéed with prosciutto and pepperoni and topped with garlic Italian cheese. He settled on the Sicilian Peppercorn steak topped with peppercorn mushroom sauce. For dessert, we sampled the Raspberry Cheesecake and Candied Bacon.
The Jagermeister Prawns consisted of seven prawns and approximately an equal volume of mushrooms in a rich and tasty Jagermeister, cream, garlic and wine sauce. The prawns were perfectly cooked. The mushrooms brought a complimentary flavor to both the prawns and the sauce. We found the portion to be just right for two people.
We each had a salad with our entrees. The salads arrived on ice-cold plates and contained a flavorful mix of ingredients that ranged from mixed greens to a few slices of pepperoncinis.
Both of our entrees possessed an abundance of flavor. The topping on my chicken brought a salty, cheesy finish to the sautéed breast, which was juicy and tender. My dining companion’s steak was prepared medium-well, as requested, and was also juicy and tender. The sauce on the marinated steak imparted a character of pepper and mushroom without overwhelming the meat.
Our entrees included mashed potatoes, which were mashed fairly smooth with the skins on, and a vegetable medley that consisted of bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, carrots and squash. The vegetables were cooked with a bit of garden snap left to them and were lightly seasoned.
Of the desserts, we preferred the cheesecake. It had a raspberry candy flavor and the texture was creamier than typical cheesecake. The Candied Bacon dessert is made with vanilla ice cream, candied bacon, whipped cream and caramel sauce. The result is outside the box of traditional dessert and took some getting used to.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The Black Butte Porter Mac with steak strips, peppers, penne pasta and onions tossed in a creamy Butte Porter cheddar sauce sounded delicious, as did the Elk Burger topped with caramelized onions.
Other observations: The staff is knowledgeable about menu items and helpful with recommendations.
Food arrives promptly. The courses were spaced just right on our visit, so we didn’t feel rushed or left to wonder when the next element would arrive.
Ingredients are fresh and recipes are innovative.
The lighting at the booths is a bit dark in the evening, so if you prefer seeing every detail on your plate you may want to request a seat in the room with tables and chairs.
Cost: Appetizers are $5 to $12. Salads are $9 to $11 — add $2 for chicken, $4 for salmon. Burgers are $8 and $10. Basic pasta dishes range from $9 to $11; adding meat is an additional charge of $3 or $4 depending on the type. Specialty pastas start at $12 and top out at $19. Chicken, steaks and seafood entrees are $17 to $23.
Hours: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Where: 15 E. Main St., Battle Ground.
Health score: 15 East received a score of 23 on Oct. 20. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.