Why: The bold character of Brickhouse Bar & Grill welcomes the whole family until 9 p.m. daily. After 9 p.m., it's strictly 21 and older only. A recent menu overhaul brings more choices to please an increasing number of patrons. The space has interesting atmospheric elements that set it apart from other local family-friendly bar and grill options.
Atmosphere: Standalone couches and chairs, booths, and tables and chairs offer a diverse array of seating options. An assortment of art is displayed on the walls. Whether your game is darts, pool or shuffleboard, there are designated areas for each; darts and pool in the lounge, shuffleboard is in the family-friendly area. A space in the family-dining area offers toys, including a chalkboard for doodling, for tots. Free wi-fi also is available. And, true to its name, it is a brick-and-mortar building.
What I tried: I had the Caribbean chicken salad, which is new to the menu. My dining companion had the bison burger with a side of coleslaw.
The salad is composed of jicama, mango, cabbage, carrots, cilantro and shredded cheese on a bed of mixed greens, and is topped with a Jamaican jerk-marinated chicken breast. It is served with a small side of a jerk-ranch dressing, which was tasty and super-spicy hot. All of the salad components are either diced or cut small enough for easy consumption. This allows diners to get a variety of flavors in each bite. The chicken was flavorful, tender and juicy. All of the ingredients were included in amounts that were essentially equal, other than the chicken. The result was an impressive salad, right down to the last bite. The fresh ingredients added a variety of flavors to the salad, creating a distinctly delicious salad for which I will certainly return.
My dining companion's bison burger began with a third of a pound of bison meat. It was topped with thick-cut bacon, Irish white-cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions and a house spread on a grilled kaiser roll. He said found it appetizing, and that the meat was leaner and more savory than beef.
The coleslaw was fresh and sweet, with a satisfying crunch, and it wasn't too drippy, he added.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Among the new menu items is an antipasto salad and an adventuresome Cuban sandwich with fried pickle spears. Brickhouse also has 3 dry rubs and 17 different house sauces for wings.
Other observations: Dessert isn't always available. We were told on our visit that they had run out of ice cream earlier in the evening.
The wait staff was friendly, though not expertly attentive with water refills.
My dining companion and I opted to sit outside along the Main Street side of Brickhouse, and found it to be pleasant and intimate.
Cost: Burgers range from $6.99 to $13.99. Soup is $2.50 for a cup and $4 for a bowl. Salads are $6.99 to $9.99. Sandwiches are $5.49 to $8.99. You can get a half sandwich and a cup of the daily soup for $5.99. Pizza is made on a grilled pita and costs between $6.99 and $9.49. Entrees start at $7.99 and top out at $12.99. Wings come in 6 to 36 pieces and cost $5.49 to $29.99. Appetizers are $3.99 to $10.49. Happy hour menu items range from $2.99 to $4.99.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily and all day on Friday.
Where: 109 W. 15th St., Vancouver.
Health score: Brickhouse Bar & Grill received a score of 18 on June 27. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or more. For more information, call 360-397-8428 or visit Restaurant Inspections