Pacific House adds Northwest note to downtown

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Review: Pacific House Kitchen & Sports

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is served 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with dinner 4 p.m. to close daily. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday. Where: 819 Main St., Vancouver. Contact: 360-448-7694 or www.pacifichousenw.com  

Why: Pacific House opened in December where Chronis’ Restaurant and Lounge had been located for many years. Pacific House offers family friendly dining and a Northwest inspired menu for brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and happy hour with specialty cocktails and local beer.

What I Tried: I tried the baby back ribs served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw, and my dining companion had the wild mushroom ragout. We also sampled the scotch egg, the black kale Caesar salad, and for desert, we had the Irish car bomb cake.

The scotch egg was not the best, nor was it the worst I have had. The soft boiled egg is wrapped in house-made andouille sausage and flash fried. It is served atop a bed of shaved Brussels sprouts in a horseradish mustard vinaigrette. I liked how the yolk acted as a sauce, but I did not find the vinaigrette a good pairing for the egg; it tasted mostly of vinegar which clashed with the other flavors. I prefer a sweet and mildly hot mustard and baby greens with a scotch egg.

The house-smoked ribs were the highlight of my meal. They were extremely meaty, and the flavor was distinguished by a delicious smoky essence with a fair amount of spicy heat. The meat fell easily away from the bone and, instead of being slathered in barbecue sauce, there was just enough whiskey-spiked sauce to sweeten them. The ribs were served atop mashed potatoes with coleslaw on the side. The potatoes reminded me of mine — no cheddar cheese added or, dare I say, too much added — fit for a purist. The apple and cabbage coleslaw contained red onion, which gave it more character than the average slaw.

My dining companion enjoyed her dish and noted that it was rich in flavor. The mushroom ragout combines locally foraged wild mushrooms saut?ed in garlic butter and tossed with bucatini pasta and tomato sauce topped with the delicate tasting grana padano cheese. Diners may also add chicken or sausage to this dish.

The kale Caesar salad was fresh and appetizing and provided a hearty green component to our meal.

Dessert did not disappoint. The cake consisted of three different layers, beginning with dark chocolate stout cake topped with a layer of Baileys buttercream and then chocolate ganache. The cake is drizzled with Jameson-spiked caramel sauce. Every bite melted into a perfect chocolate utopia.

Menu Highlights Beyond what I tried: White wine braised chicken sounded tasty, as did the smoked tuna melt. Pacific House serves a ribeye that is pan seared and finished in the oven. The Pacific House Burger can be made with an elk patty. An Oyster Po Boy is on the menu, as are oysters on a half shell.

Brunch options include a smoked tombo tuna hash and French toast made with challah bread.

Lunch options include soups, salads, burgers, a few specialty dishes and appetizers.

Atmosphere: Concrete floors, wood furniture and trims and dark khaki walls are accented with metal chairs and high-gloss bar counters with an under layer of patina-like coloring. Lantern influenced lighting along the perimeter gives the space a wharf feel during the evening hours. The bar is situated on the entry level and general dining is just a few steps up from that in the back half of the space.

In the bar, seating is at the bar counter and tall tables and chairs — standard tables are available in the general dining room, along with a few bar seats at a counter near the kitchen. Several big-screen TVs provide visual entertainment.

Other Observations: I found the wait staff very laid back and friendly. Our entree portions were generously sized without being excessive. Dishes that may be prepared gluten free are noted on the menu.

There is no foot rail for bar seating, so your feet are left to dangle unless you use your chair. On the evening of my visit, my first impression was marked by the noise level due to the acoustics. It was difficult to have a conversation with my dining companion sitting next to me.

I was glad to leave the noise when we were finished with our meal.

Cost: Brunch (including sides) ranges from $2 to $17. Lunch and dinner prices differ by a few dollars, mostly on the top end with appetizers $6 to $15, soup and salads $4 to $8, and entrees $10 to $25.