Why: An understated curb presence doesn’t necessarily beckon to you if you’re driving by, but don’t let that fool you. The Cookhouse Grill has been under new ownership since May, and it is well worth a visit. Owner Kyle Teel says one of the most appealing aspects of the restaurant is the fact that everything is homemade.
Atmosphere: Overall, the Cookhouse has the feel of a converted country store. The exposed plywood subfloor creates the foundation for a very simple dining experience. Low-backed booths line the window side of the space, combining with tables and chairs and barstool seating at a high counter to provide enough seating for 78 diners. Fresh flowers bring a touch of beauty to each tabletop. The open kitchen allows diners to feel the bustle of a full house and menu specials and other information for diners is displayed on chalkboards posted above the counter.
What I tried: I decided on the half-order of the Cookhouse Platter, which includes eggs, your choice of either ham, bacon or sausage; hash browns and either toast or a biscuit. I had bacon and a biscuit with mine. My dining companion settled on the Rueben sandwich with homemade coleslaw.
As a half portion, my meal was the perfect size. I ordered the eggs scrambled, and every part was cooked, without any runny spots amid the scramble. The hash browns were golden-fried on the top and bottom and soft in the middle. They also had a light butter flavor, but were not the least bit greasy. One piece of crispy bacon was included with the half order. I found the biscuit too dry as a bread addition to the breakfast, but the flavor was satisfying, and I thought it would be perfect with gravy.
My dining companion noted the good balance of ingredients in his sandwich. The lean corned beef was thinly sliced. It was made with thick slices of dark rye bread that hadn’t been flattened on the grill, often the case with Rueben sandwiches, adding to its appeal. The coleslaw accompaniment was a generous portion, and it had a fresh homemade flavor.
Other menu highlights beyond what I tried: German Potato Pancakes, Country Garden Hash, Huevos Rancheros and oatmeal are some other breakfast menu items, and you may build your own omelet as well with three items from a list that includes meat, cheese, vegetables and chili. Omelets are served with hash browns and a biscuit. Lunch options include sandwiches, such as the Cookhouse Club, which is a triple decker sandwich, and burgers. Liver and onions and steaks are available for dinner.
Other observations: Breakfast is served all day on Sunday and 8 a.m. to noon other days. Lunch is served from noon to close and dinner from 5 p.m. to close.
Though I arrived before noon and had my appetite set on breakfast, my dining companion arrived shortly after noon. The waitress was very attentive, taking notice of the time, and allowed me to order breakfast even though noon is the cutoff time for breakfast.
When I asked the waitress if the hash browns were greasy, she assured me that she would inform the cook to use only a light amount of oil to prepare them. The result was appetizingly homemade.
Cost: Breakfast items are $4 to $10.50. Lunches range from $6 to $10.25 and dinners start at $9.95 and top out at $18.25. Homemade soups are $3.50 for a cup and $4.50 for a bowl. On Thursdays, there is a Pot Roast Special for $9.95. Desserts are $1.95 to $3.95.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Closed Mondays.
Where: 17407 N.E. 159th St., Hockinson.
Health Score: Cookhouse received a score of 0 on January 26. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.