Sportsman’s scores on quality, flavor

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Why: The Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge provides a few steakhouse options north of Vancouver in quaint, downtown Ridgefield. It is a family-friendly restaurant that also houses a full bar, pool tables and patio dining. A 2,700-square-foot addition that will expand each part of the establishment is scheduled to be completed by Christmas.

Atmosphere: The space presently affords about equal parts to the restaurant and lounge, with restaurant seating at tables and chairs, divided from the bar area by a partial wall topped with glass blocks. A beautiful antique backbar is truly the showpiece of the space; colorful Italian glass pendant lights, a few wagon wheel-and-lantern chandeliers, and some halogen track lights provide interior lighting. Ample natural light floods through the many large windows during the day, which I found added to the family friendly restaurant aspect of the place. Overall, the decor brings both old and new elements together in an attractive, interesting fashion.

What I tried: I settled on the Main Street Burger with housemade potato salad to accompany and my dining companion had the fish and chips with potato salad and coleslaw.

Sportsman’s burgers are made with half-pound charbroiled patties of 100 percent certified Angus ground chuck ($1 less for one-third pound). The Main Street burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese, is the most traditional among them. I found the meat deliciously juicy and charbroiled-flavorful with the perfect amount of crisp on the edge without crossing over to burnt. The lettuce on the burger was a healthful, dark green variety as opposed to nutritionally challenged iceberg. The tomatoes and onion were likewise impressive and my choice of cheddar cheese completed the burger. I personally prefer not adding any condiments to a burger and I found the Main Street had good balance and fresh, juicy ingredients that suited my preference and made for a flavorful experience. I enjoyed the homemade quality of the potato salad which was between chunky and smooth in texture with a dill and potato character.

My dining companion enjoyed the fish and substituted the housemade coleslaw for French fries. The panko breaded cod was deep fried to a golden brown and served atop a bed of lettuce. He noted that it was not greasy, evidenced by the lettuce, which remained unchanged. Often, fish served this way will quickly soak the lettuce with grease, leaving it unappetizing and wilted. He found the coleslaw to be a tasty, fresh, accompaniment to the fish, noting it was not a sweet version.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The housemade chili sounded like a good rainy-day option. Certified Angus prime rib comes in a petite cut and a large cut on Friday and Saturday. From the burger choices, the Burger Dip, made with Swiss cheese, grilled onion, and blue cheese served on a hoagie roll with au jus, sounded intriguing.

The menu isn’t heavy on steakhouse options, but there is an assortment of choices to please a variety of appetites.

Other observations: The waitstaff was knowledgable about menu items, friendly, and very attentive. Food quality, presentation, and prices are reasonable.We both agreed a return visit is in order.

Cost: Appetizers and sides start at $3.99 and top out at $9.99. Burgers range from $9.49 to $12.49. Sandwiches are $8.99 to $11.99. Large meal-size salads are $11.99. Soup, chili, salads and combos cost $3.49 to $8.99. Regular dinners and steak dinners are $10.99 to $22.99. Friday and Saturday specials start at $4.99 appetizers and top out at $21.99 for large-cut prime rib. Additional menu items from $4.99 to $8.99 are offered for those younger than 10 and older than 60.

Hours: 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 121 N. Main Ave., Ridgefield.

Telephone: 360-887-3141.

Health score: Sportsman’s Restaurant and Lounge received a score of 5 on April 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.