Dining Out: Bones breaks down on the details

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Why: A handful of tenants in Battle Ground Village have been fortunate enough to see 2012, having survived since its opening in 2009. Bones Steak and Chop House is one.

My first visit to Bones was shortly after its grand opening. Since then, I’ve noted a change in the overall vibe as well as the price point of a meal. Bones’ highbrow character has become more relaxed and family friendly over time, with minimal alteration to the finery it’s dressed in.

Bones offers dry-aged prime steaks and signature meats in addition to specially prepared comfort foods.

Atmosphere: Earth tones color the comfortable dining space where booths line the perimeter and tables and chairs, mostly for four, fill in the open areas. Attractive glass shades adorn ceiling light fixtures, and pendant lights create a warm glow throughout.

In a full bar opposite the dining area, a large-screen TV provides entertainment.

An upstairs banquet room is available for large parties.

What I tried: My dining companion and I began our meal with soup. I chose the Wisconsin Beer Cheddar and he tried the French Onion. In addition, I had the Grilled Pork Chop with mashed potatoes and he settled on the Pork Loin Roast and mashed potatoes off the Chef’s Fresh Sheet. Both entrees came with carrots. We finished our meal with the Crème Brulée dessert.

We were served focaccia bread with olive oil and vinegar after being seated. The bread was fresh and soft and it was nice to have the oil and vinegar to dip the bread in. It seems this practice of the dipping plate has fallen out of the routine at many local restaurants.

Our soups arrived shortly after we ordered, and both were piping hot. Each spoonful of my soup was filled with cheddar goodness that was made intensely rich and tasty by the beer. Cheese was suspended in the body of the soup instead of clinging to the sides of the cup — adding additional enjoyment to the flavor and ensuring nothing was left behind. My dining companion enjoyed his soup but noted that the onions in the soup lacked flavor and did not make a very big impression. He described it as a mild rendition of this classic soup.

Our entrées had their high points but these were mixed with some disappointments. The grilled pork chop was hot off the grill. The meat was tender and juicy, but very fatty. This contrasted with the pork loin slices, which had grill marks, but they were only warm and extremely dry. However, both portions were generous — much larger than I recall being served from the early days of Bones.

The mashed potatoes possessed all the qualities of excellence, save one — they were tepid.

The carrots were diagonally sliced, cooked firm and lightly seasoned. These were sweet and enjoyable.

Dessert did not meet our expectations. The custard lacked body and melted away quickly. Too much sugar had been caramelized on top, creating an excessively thick hard-candy shell. The result was that of mismatched components.

Other menu highlights: The St. Louis Style Ribs sounded good. The vegetarian version of the Carbonara and the Cascade Natural Meat Loaf are two selections I would like to try in the future.

Other observations: The waitress was friendly, professional and attentive.

It was hard to gauge how quick the ticket turnaround might be on a busy night, because we were the only diners on the evening of our midweek dinner visit.

Cost: Appetizers and Small Plates range from $8 to $23. Soup of the Day is $3.50. Salads are $4 to $14. Steaks and Chops start at $15 and top out at $32. Sauce may be added for an additional $2, and sides to accompany are $3 to $6. House Specialties include your choice of hand-cut fries or a house salad and cost $11 to $16. Happy Hour menu selections are $1.75 to $4.95.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Happy Hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on those days. Friday and Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with Happy Hour at 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Telephone: 360-723-0810.

Where: 1207 S.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Suite 130, Battle Ground

Health score: Bones received a score of 13 on Feb. 14. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.