Dominik's tasty addition to county dining scene

Family-owned Italian restaurant's dishes from scratch

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Why: Family-owned and -operated Dominik’s Italian Food opened Feb. 11. Located just south of the Fourth Plain and Andresen Road intersection in Vancouver, the fast and casual eatery offers a menu full of made-from-scratch family recipes. Daily specials highlight Italian cuisine favorites, and for takeout and delivery, family-style meals (designed to feed four) provide complete meal options for those on the go.

Atmosphere: The space is quaint with seating for approximately 20 diners at tables and chairs. Large windows allow in an ample amount of natural light. Florescent fixtures, which shine down from a black ceiling, even out the shadows. The wraparound counter where orders are placed has slate front paneling, and walls are painted in complementary colors. Large, decorative scroll medallions bring interest to the dining-area walls and a large-screen TV provides entertainment. Overall, the space is uncomplicated Italian with a touch of Tuscan flair.

What I tried: I had the lasagna and meatballs with garlic cheesy bread, and my dining companion had the Italiano salsiccia (sausage) hot sandwich. We also shared the antipasto salad.

The antipasto salad contained the perfect balance of romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, red onion, pepperoni, salami, artichokes, Kalamata olives, black olives, ham and mozzarella cheese. The red onion was sliced extremely thin, which prevented it from taking over. The salad reminded me of my favorite chop salad I order at Emilio’s Trattoria in the Los Angeles area.

The lasagna was primarily noodles, ricotta cheese and red sauce. Although I would have appreciated some meat or veggies tossed in there for some variation of flavor throughout, it was very appetizing. The tomato sauce was fresh with a bouquet of herbs in every taste. The absolute highlight of this dish was the meatballs. It’s nice to finally find a place with meatballs that aren’t spongy or chewy. They were packed with flavor, and a significant amount of fresh garlic in the mix truly kicked them up a notch. This has inspired me to try the Italian meatball sub on my next visit.

My dining companion ordered the 9-inch sausage sandwich and found it larger than her appetite called for, but she almost polished it off anyway because it was so good. The sandwich is made of authentic Italian sausage, cooked bell peppers, cooked onion, marinara sauce and melted mozzarella on hearty bread. The cooked bell peppers and onion add a delicious caramelized element to the sandwich, as you would get with a cheesesteak sandwich.

I found the garlic cheesy bread a scrumptious accompaniment to both the salad and the lasagna with meatballs. It had a generous amount of cheese, a nice touch of garlic, and it wasn’t greasy.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The hot Italian beef sub, which combines beef, bell peppers, onions, au jus and mozzarella, sounded intriguing. Among the cold sandwiches is the Zesty Italian made with salami, ham and pepperoni. Spaghetti and meatballs is on the menu, as is pizza with homemade crust. Guests can start with a plain cheese pizza and add any combination of available meat and vegetable toppings. Chicken parmesan shows up on the daily specials.

Other observations: Dominik’s is a quality addition to the dining options in Clark County. The made-from-scratch, family recipes are a big advantage over many establishments that are supplied by the same food distribution companies.

Service was friendly and courteous. Prices are fair for portions and reflect quality.

Delivery is limited to $10 minimum orders and surrounding areas.

Dominik’s caters.

Cost: Hot and cold sandwiches come in 6-inch and 9-inch sizes and cost $6 to $7.50. Salads are $2.50 to $8.50. Other Italian favorites range from $1.50 to $9. Pizzas are available in 10-inch, 14-inch, and 18-inch sizes and cost $7 to $17. Additional toppings are $1 to $1.40. Family-style options are designed to feed four and cost $22 to $34. Daily specials include a 9-inch sub for $5, to which you may add a drink and chips for $1.50 more.

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

Where: 3000 N.E. Andresen Road, Suite B104, Vancouver.

Telephone: 360-597-3328.

Web:Dominik’s has a Facebook page.

Health score: Dominik’s received a score of 10 on March 2. 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.