OurBar burnishes Clark County food scene

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Why: Every once in a while, a new restaurant opens that truly shines on the landscape of the culinary scene. OurBar, opened in April, is one of those that exudes this character of accomplishment with ease. From the atmosphere to the entrees, every step of the process comes together with confidence. Local, fresh ingredients, homemade bread, and innovative selections that are exclusive to OurBar's menu provide a departure from the ordinary end of the spectrum. Instead of formulaic, OurBar is creative.

Atmosphere: The restaurant faces Main Street in one of the newer modern buildings. A few antique pieces of furniture have been included in the dining room along with a handsome mix of sturdy wood tables and contemporary style chairs that offer seating for two up to eight. There is a window-side bar and a kitchen-side bar. Walls are painted in a soothing green and decorated with various farm-inspired prints and items. The open kitchen occupies the back half of the space and it is not hurried or noisy, therefore, not intrusive to diners.

What I tried: I tried the Chicken Salad Sandwich and my dining companion tried the Lamb Sandwich. For dessert we sampled the White Chocolate Almond Espresso and the Oatmeal Currant cookies. I also had a glass of iced tea and I tried the coffee as well.

The chicken salad sandwich was amazing! Instead of cold, it was grilled on homemade bread. The chicken salad had an assortment of ingredients that presented an overall smooth texture with added crunch from finely diced red onions. Unlike usual meat salads that are overloaded with mayonnaise, this chicken salad was not the least bit mayonnaise-laden. The salad was topped with bacon and cheddar cheese before being grilled, and that further elevated the sandwich.

My dining companion's lamb sandwich was made with a beautiful homemade bun that glistened on top where it had been brushed with egg white and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It tasted as good as it looked. A generous amount of lamb (procured from Reister Farm of Washougal) was used in the sandwich. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender and had a flavor that presented the finest of the meats qualities. Tzatziki sauce and feta cheese was added to the sandwich and complimented the meat and the bread with just the right amount of tangy, salty and sharp flavor.

Both sandwiches were served with a small salad alongside. I had the standard one and my dining companion upgraded to the Caesar. The Caesar was sprinkled with roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds and the regular salad included mustard seed in the light dressing. Both were an appetizing creative rendition of basic.

Coffee served at OurBar is Roseline of Portland. The roast during my visit was Ethiopian, which had a fruity mellow flavor. The tea was basic black cold-brewed and ginger was added to it. I found it refreshing.

The cookies were homemade fresh and scrumptious, putting a perfect finish on our meal.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Breakfast options include Egg in a Basket, to which you may add gravy, and a Daily Scramble. After sampling the lamb at my lunch visit, the Sopa de Fideo (ground lamb, chilies, tomato, and a fried egg) served at brunch on the weekends sounded delicious. Another intriguing lunch option is the Spicy Steak Sandwich. Beer Bites include items such as Deviled Eggs, Stuffed Dates, and Soft Pretzels.

Other observations: The service was great and the atmosphere was comfortable and unpretentious. Whether you are a local or just passing through, hungry or thirsty (or both), a stop in at OurBar will be time and money well spent. If I didn't live so far away, OurBar would become a habit of mine.

Cost: Weekday breakfasts are $4 to $6, other than the French toast to share size, which is $8. Brunch on the weekends costs $5 to $10. Lunch is $9 and Beer Bites range from $2 to $10.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Breakfast is served weekdays 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Brunch is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday only. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Telephone: 360-954-5141.

Web:www.our-bar.com

Where: 1887 Main St., Suite E, Washougal.

Health score: OurBar received a score of 3 on Oct. 16. 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.