Hoosegow brings hearty BBQ downtown

Vancouver eatery offers breakfast, sandwiches, more

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Dining Out review: The Hoosegow Smoke House BBQ

Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Closed for events on Saturday.

Where: 609 W. 11th St., Vancouver.

More information: 360-836-5268.

Health score: The Hoosegow has received a pre-opening inspection, for which a score is not available, and is scheduled for a routine inspection in the near future. 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: The Hoosegow Smoke House BBQ was established a couple of years ago in downtown Vancouver and has been under new ownership since August. The family-friendly restaurant has comfortable dining and also is available for private events. With early hours during the workweek, the Hoosegow provides another breakfast option, or a lunch hour reprieve, with dinner limited to Thursdays and Fridays. Saturdays are reserved for private events.

What I tried: I had the Slaw Shank sandwich, and my dining companions tried the Book & Release burger with fries and the Informant sandwich with tots. We also sampled the gluten-free zucchini muffins.

The Slaw Shank was a pulled pork and coleslaw sandwich on a ciabatta roll. The meat on the sandwich was flavorful with an appetizing smoked quality. The sandwich had a good ratio of coleslaw to pork, so neither dominated. I found the ciabatta roll a bit doughy, which possibly could have been resolved if it was toasted before the build.

The Informant sandwich was essentially a Reuben, which contains corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. My dining companion said the sandwich was appetizing at the start, but the corned beef was a bit fatty, so it became tiresome as he worked through the sandwich. He also noted that the bread became soggy from the sauerkraut, which should have been pressed before it was added to the sandwich.

For the Book & Release, a beef patty was combined with bacon, ham, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato,and mayonnaise on a ciabatta roll. My dining companion said it was good and said that the ciabatta roll made things interesting. The only downside was the bacon, which tasted as though it had been fried much earlier in the day.

The fries and tots were fried to a delicious golden crisp, and they made good accompaniments.

We agreed that the zucchini muffins were a hit. Unlike many other gluten-free baked goods I have tried, these muffins had a lighter texture that was most welcome. They also contained chocolate chips and were served warm with a pat of melted butter in the center.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Breakfast selections include the Ambulance Chaser (biscuits and gravy); the Big Whale breakfast sandwich made with cheese, egg and meat on a house-made English muffin; and the Bounty Hunter, which includes two eggs, meat, potatoes and toast. You may also opt for a wrap instead of the toast. Among the sandwiches, the Lifer, made with chicken salad, cranberries, lettuce, pecans and tomato on sourdough, sounded delicious. Burgers include a Paddy Wagon, made with a beef patty, chili, cheese and onion on a ciabatta roll. Sides include cornbread, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, macaroni salad, chili and soup. Beverages include Pepsi products, coffee, espresso and bottled beer.

Atmosphere: Attractive wood flooring and black wainscot create a handsome look. Walls display uniformly framed prison-themed photos against a light beige background, and accent walls are painted gray. Seating consists of contemporary tables and chairs that can seat a variety of group sizes and a private dining room. A large television is the focal point in the main dining room. Lighting is subtle and understated, aside from the custom fixture, filled with green and blue bulbs, above a tall counter at the restaurant’s entrance.

Other observations: Service was efficient, personable and very attentive. The atmosphere is comfortable with a mellow vibe. Private events may be scheduled with in-house catering, or they can come to you. Outdoors, patio seating is available, weather permitting.

Cost: Breakfast options cost $3.75 to $7.95. Sandwiches are $7.95 to $9.75, and burgers are $7.95 to $9.75. Salads cost $6.75 to $8.25. Sides start at $1.50 and top out at $5.50. Additions are $1 to $2.75. Monday through Friday barbecue specials are under $10. Options for children 10 and younger are $5.50, and that includes fries or tots and a drink.