Dining Out: Beacon Rock Pub already a Washougal favorite

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Food & Dining

For more recipes and reviews of Clark County restaurants, visit columbian.com/food

Why: Beacon Rock Pub and Grill opened in January 2013. The space was formerly occupied by Evergreen Pie Way. Although the dimensions of the restaurant have not changed, the face has undergone a major transformation.

The menu offers burgers, sandwiches, pizza and salads, with appetizers and a few sides. The restaurant is also supplied with an assortment of fresh baked breads, used for burgers and sandwiches, and pastries from its own bakery.

Beacon Rock is family friendly and becoming a regular habit of many Washougal residents.

Atmosphere: A wilderness sort of decor has been achieved with an abundance of wood surfaces adorned with a few sporting elements such as skis, snowshoes, and oars.

Petite antler light fixtures are above each table to complement larger chandelier-style lights placed elsewhere.

Tabletops are thick slabs of beautifully shellacked wood, walls are covered with rough strips of wood, which have no particular sense of placement, and flooring is a dark laminate that matches a dark-paneled wainscot topped with split-log trim.

Large-screen TVs are viewable from booths along the perimeter and tables and chairs on the open floor, and a bookshelf holds board games for those interested in more challenging forms of entertainment.

What I Tried: I settled on the reuben sandwich, a favorite of regular diners. I also tried the hand-dipped onion rings, the pepperoni pizza and a cup of coffee. The coffee I normally wouldn't mention, except it was only very warm and not hot. Thankfully, real cream was offered with it, so I dumped it in and called it good. I took home an assortment of baked goods to try that included a slice of mixed berry pie, a pear bar, a blueberry bar, a pumpkin cupcake, and a chocolate chip cookie.

The reuben sandwich starts with Beacon Rock baked marble rye bread, which has a delicious light rye flavor. A family recipe that utilizes malt vinegar, kosher salt, English apple cider, and Mac & Jack's beer prepares the other sandwich ingredients to produce a one-of-a-kind reuben. Though the sandwich might not meet the expectations of a hard-core reuben connoisseur, it is worth a try.

Onion rings are made from scratch. Thick-sliced rings are surrounded by a batter that has a tempura-like consistency instead of a flaky breaded style. The only downside of the onion rings was the large amount of oil they retained after deep-frying. Other than that, the flavor was appetizing.

The pizza was topped with mild pepperoni and a generous portion of cheese, which was slightly out of balance with the light amount of sweet tomatoey sauce on the soft crust.

Of the baked goods that I took home, the only one that didn't meet my expectations was the pumpkin cupcake. The cake was moist but it lacked the variety of ingredients usually found in pumpkin cake. It resembled more of a simple pumpkin bread profile. The cupcake was topped with a delicious, highly-whipped butter cream frosting and sprinkled with lemon rind bits. The citrus addition clashed with the other flavors, so I scraped it off and it was much more to my liking.

It was hard to choose a favorite from the rest of the baked goods because they were all scrumptious. The pear bar was a layered treat that reminded me of cheesecake. The blueberry bar possessed a cake-like consistency that tasted of blueberry with a hint of lemon. I was impressed with both the buttery flavor and flaky texture of the pie crust that enclosed the sweet berry filling of the pie. The chocolate chip cookie was similar in flavor and texture to that of a bar cookie.

Menu Highlights Beyond What I Tried: The signature Beacon Rock Burger is made with a beef patty, a fried egg, three different cheeses, a slice of ham, a sliced German bratwurst, and is served with a side of mayonnaise.

A Bison Burger is on the menu, as are fish and chips. Sandwich options are mostly classic, such as turkey, Philly, club, and french dip.

Other observations: All but two baked goods recipes use real butter instead of shortening, a big positive.

Burgers are made with one-half pound of ground chuck.

Service was considerably slow on the evening of my visit. With just two other tables occupied, I waited approximately a half hour for my order. The waitress did, however, apologize for the wait, though no explanation was given.

Cost: Burgers are $9.95 to $13.95. Sandwiches range from $6.95 to $10.50. Pizzas come in 8-inch, 12-inch, and 16-inch options starting at $7 and topping out at $22. Appetizers, sides, and salads are all less than $10.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Telephone: 360-835-1267.

Web:www.facebook.com/BeaconRockBreweryAndPub

Where: 2926 E Street, Washougal.

Health Score: Beacon Rock Pub and Grill's received an unscored report and educational inspection on May 22. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.