Vancouver’s Main Event is not the typical sports bar

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Dining Out review:

Main Event Sports Grill

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday. Happy hour is 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close. Fast Lunch is Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday only, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: 3200 S.E. 164th Ave., Vancouver.

Contact: 360-828-8583 or www.mesportsgrill.com

Health score: Main Event received a score of 10 on March 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.

Why: Main Event Sports Grill was established in downtown Vancouver seven years ago. Soon thereafter a second location opened on the east side of Vancouver in Cascade Park. Main Event provides a community destination spot where the whole family is welcome. With high-end appeal, televisions and a variety of menu items, the grill offers a one-of-a-kind experience where game night is on and the door stays open until 2 a.m. My most recent visit was to the Cascade Park restaurant for dinner.

What I tried: My dining companions and I ordered the hand-cut marinated steak bites with crumbled blue cheese and jalape?os, the truffle fries, the meatloaf muffin and the BLT wedge salad, all of which are popular menu items. We also sampled the pepperoni BLT, which was made on a ciabatta roll stacked with pepperoni, bacon, turkey, balsamic vinaigrette, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, white cheddar and pesto aioli.

The truffle fries were made from thin-cut potatoes that were deep-fried to a golden crispy finish, tossed in truffle oil and sea salt, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese, chives and oregano. The truffle oil was expertly used and not overdone. It was easy to taste why these fries are such a popular item.

In contrast was the meatloaf muffin. Although it is very popular, we did not find it completely appetizing. The meatloaf was the same shape and size of a muffin. Its center contained a bit of gravy, and a piece of bacon was wrapped around the muffin. A portion of mashed potatoes was piped on top, and chives were sprinkled over it. The meatloaf was basic and the bacon was good, but the gravy tasted very artificial and the mashed potatoes were dull in flavor and lacked a bright, fresh-mashed look, appearing to have oxidized a bit.

The steak bites were packed with rich, sweet flavor to the very center, and each bite-sized piece was made exceptionally appetizing with chargrilled edges. The blue cheese crumbles and chopped, fresh jalape?os definitely kicked the bites up a notch. You also may order the bites bare with a horseradish dipping sauce. In my opinion, these are a must-try menu item.

The wedge salad was comparable to others that I have tried, and Main Event adds a similar balsamic glaze which adds a sweet element to the salad.

We all agreed that the pepperoni BLT was exceptional. The unusual combination of ingredients complimented one another and resulted in a truly memorable sandwich.

Atmosphere: The spacious bar and dining areas are multilevel with a layout that gives the place character beyond a typical sports bar. A color palette of rich, earthy tones are combined with marble, brick, granite and wood to create a warm Northwest appeal with a sophisticated vibe. Seating consists of tables and chairs configured to seat two or more. Bar seating and high tables are available in the bar. Televisions are viewable from all available seating.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The molasses pulled pork sandwich sounded delicious, as did the blackened halibut served with vegetables, saffron rice and cilantro lime creme fraiche and the shrimp primavera from the pasta selections. Burgers include a garlic burger basted with roasted garlic, garlic mayonnaise, bacon, American and white cheddar cheese and crispy onions. There is also a ME burger topped with grilled onions, provolone cheese and bacon. Fast Lunch items include a soup and half-salad combo, a half-salad and slider combo, and a soup and slider combo. The weekend breakfast menu is sure to please with a chicken-fried Kobe beef patty smothered with house-made sausage gravy and served with country style potatoes. The ME style eggs, bacon and grits offers a hearty combination of creamy, white corn grits with white cheddar, butter and cream seasoned with fresh garlic and cracked pepper, and served with your choice of two eggs, toast and bacon or sausage links. Breakfast drink specials include Moroccan coffee, bloody marys and mimosas.

Other observations: The waitstaff is polite, friendly and attentive. The menu is a pleasant departure from what’s offered at typical sports bars and is geared toward mouthwatering creations packed with flavor. The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting.

Cost: Dinner appetizers cost $6 to $11. Burgers are $10 to $15. Sandwiches range from $9 to $14. Salads are $6 to $13. Soups come in a cup for $3 to $4 and a bowl for $5 to $6. Sides are $3 and $4. Entrees start at $13 and top out at $25. Pasta dishes cost $11 to $16. Happy hour menu items are $4 to $9. Fast Lunch menu selections are $7 to $9. Breakfast items range from $4 to $13 with sides of $2 and $4.