Hudson’s a happening spot for local fare

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Why: Hudson’s Bar & Grill at the Heathman Lodge provides a rustic dining experience with a seasonal menu of items made with fresh, local ingredients. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections focus on some favorites of the Northwest with a touch of innovation on comfort dishes.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is one of the best at capturing the essence of the region. The elements of our rich resources are represented in the architecture and construction to create an environment where one truly gets a sense of a pre-metropolitan era with a modern finish. Much of Hudson’s Hour (happy hour) is taken at fireside tables and chairs. The dining and bar area offers booths, tables and chairs, and bar seating. Most surfaces are wood or slate and these are complemented by dark rich colors.

What I tried: I tried the Gorgonzola Cheesecake from the starters. For my entree, I had the Pan Seared Scallops. I also tried a cup of the Smoked Chicken and Corn Chowder and a side of the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. My dining companion had the New York Steak that was accompanied by roasted potatoes, tomatoes, and fresh spinach. For dessert, we tried the housemade Creme Brûlée and the Chocolate Cake.

The Gorgonzola Cheesecake was a pleasant departure from standard starter options. It was smooth and creamy with a deliciously appetizing flavor that went well with the artichoke, roasted garlic, and onion accompaniment that was garnished with baby arugula. It was served with soft airy artisan bread.

The chowder contained a good mix of ingredients that imparted a full-meal-in-one-bowl sort of experience. It was hearty for a chowder, and more complex in flavor than many other chowders that I’ve tried.

I especially enjoyed the scallop entree. Four scallops are included in the dish, each delicate and soft. The scallops sat atop a bed of creamy corn polenta and a small green salad with pickled onions was served alongside. The dish presented a pleasant variety of flavors with slightly varied textures.

The Roasted Brussels Sprouts were very soft -- just a tad overdone for my liking.

My dining companion enjoyed the quality of his New York steak but noted that it lacked flavor. Perhaps a smidgen of seasoning could have transformed the dish, making it more noteworthy.

Both desserts were scrumptious and finished our meal on a high point.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Stuffed Sole is on the breakfast menu, though the Crispy Bread Pudding French Toast, with caramelized pears and strawberries, intrigued me. The Smoked Salmon BLT from the lunch menu sounded delicious. A favorite of regular diners at dinner is the Meatloaf, with forest mushrooms, horseradish mashed potatoes, and charred carrots.

Other observations: My midweek visit was about midway through Hudson’s Hour and it was a full house. My wait to be seated was 45 minutes and it was on the noisy side -- not ideal for an intimate dining experience if that is your goal. Conversely, if lively is what you’re seeking, a full house at Hudson’s is where it’s at.

See Hudson’s website for their live music entertainment schedule.

Service was friendly and attentive, slightly more laid-back than professional.

With the combined hotel lobby area, there is plenty of comfortable seating while waiting for a table.

Cost: Lighter breakfast items are $3 to $6 and bigger selections range from $8 to $14. Lunch starts at $3 for a cup of Smoked Chicken and Corn Chowder and tops out at $26 for the King Salmon House Special. Dinner items top out at right around $30. Hudson’s Hour plates are $2, $4, $5, and $6.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hudson’s Hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Telephone: 360-816-6100.

Where: 7805 N.E. Greenwood Drive, Vancouver.

Web:hudsonsbarandgrill.com.

Health score: Hudson’s Bar & Grill received a score of 5 on October 21. 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.