Dining Out: Peachtree has hearty meals on menu

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Why: The Peachtree Restaurant and Pie House has opened a new restaurant in the Safeway shopping center on 162nd Avenue in east Vancouver, offering the same options diners have come to expect from the other long-established locations in Vancouver and Hazel Dell. Homemade pies and hearty meals are a trademark of Peachtree restaurants, and their endurance has made them a fixture in Clark County.

Atmosphere: The strip mall environment deviates from the standalone feel of the other locations. The space is divided into two separate dining areas: the main one, which the entrance opens to, is all booth seating; the other, a walled-in room, consists of tables and chairs. Paintings by a local artist decorate the brick colored walls above a mahogany wainscot.

What I tried: I decided to order from the lunch menu. I settled on the Peachtree Reuben with the soup of the day, Broccoli Cheddar.

My dining companion had the Chicken Cordon Bleu with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley, along with a salad, from the dinner menu.

For dessert, we sampled a slice of German Chocolate cream pie.

Soup and salad arrived right away. The salad consisted of iceberg lettuce and a few pieces of shredded red cabbage topped with a mix of grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. It was ice cold and fresh. The soup was extremely thick, and the broccoli included bits of leaves, which were not as soft as the flowerets. I didn’t find the soup to have a fresh-made flavor, and the thickness of it supported this impression.

Our entrees were not long to follow our soup and salad. Both were hot on arrival.

My reuben had a copious amount of lean corned beef that was slightly out of balance with the sauerkraut -- though it was a hearty size in all. Not too greasy from the grilling, it was accompanied by three pickle slices atop a lettuce leaf.

Peachtree has taken the French inspiration out of its version of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Instead of a breaded and stuffed piece of chicken breast, it is prepared in a layered fashion that is absent breading. Two pieces of grilled chicken are topped with three thick slices of hickory ham, melted Swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce. The chicken was impressive on its own, presenting a tender and juicy experience; the ham not so much so, as it was very thick and gristly. Overall, it was not a Chicken Cordon Bleu experience.

Parsley was mixed into the smooth mashed potatoes, which were topped with gravy. The vegetables included carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and zucchini. These were lightly seasoned.

Dessert was a definite low point of our meal. The slice of German Chocolate pie was not fresh. The filling was more gelatinous than creamy, and the top quarter inch was hardened beyond a typical pudding skin. The whipped cream around the edge was not only dry and firm, but its flavor was very artificial. The chocolate sauce that was drizzled on the whipped cream had bled out and added to the pie’s unappetizing appearance. The crust was only marginally appealing due to the lack of butter flavor.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The Philly Cheese Steak and Yankee Pot Roast are popular menu items, as are the breakfast skillets and omelets. Peachtree also has a meatloaf dinner.

For those interested in a healthful salad, there is a new Chicken and Fruit salad on the menu.

Other observations: The wait staff is very friendly and attentive, and the restaurant is clean and tidy.

Breakfast is served all day.

Prices are in line with other restaurants in this category, but some of the portions are a bit larger.

Cost: Bigger breakfast selections are about $10. Steak and eggs are $11.99. Crepes are $6.99 for two or $8.99 for three. Omelets and skillets cost $7.69 to $10.99. Burgers and sandwiches range from $5.99 to $9.99.

Larger lunch entrees are $8.99 to $11.99. Soup is $3.99 for a cup. Salads are $$7.99 to $10.59.

Dinners start at $8.99 and top out at $14.99. Desserts are $3.49 to $5.69.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Where: 6700 N.E. 162nd Ave., Vancouver.

On the Web:http://peachtreerestaurantwa.com.

Telephone: 360-314-4236

Health score: This Peachtree Restaurant and Pie House on 162nd Avenue has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for a routine inspection soon. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.