Sixth Avenue Bistro bound to be hit

Fresh, made-from-scratch menu tasty, full of variety

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Dining Out review: Sixth Avenue Bistro

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Happy Hour is 3:30 to 6 p.m. and 8:30 to 11 p.m. Brunch is served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Telephone: 360-718-8028

Where: 7904 N.E. Sixth Ave., Vancouver. 6thavenuebistro.com

Health score: Sixth Avenue Bistro has received a pre-opening inspection 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: Owner Deb Belden, who also owns Farrar’s Bistro, recently opened Sixth Avenue Bistro and is well on her way to establishing another local hit. Sixth Avenue features a modern dining atmosphere and a seasonal menu filled with selections made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Items may be ordered in full and lunch sizes, any time of day, to suit your appetite.

What I tried: My dining companion and I tried the roasted beet salad, the steak tips, the roasted seasonal veggies, the lobster mac and cheese, the fish tacos and the petit burger. For dessert, we had the cheesecake.

The beet salad is a delicious combination of beets, white balsamic, mixed greens, red onion and pink peppercorn chevre. It was refreshing and wholesome tasting, and the ingredients were balanced and fresh.

The steak tips are sauteed with mushrooms and topped with small rings of fried onions. Horseradish creme is served alongside for dipping. The meat was tender and juicy, and the mushroom’s earthy presence paired well with the meat. The horseradish creme complimented the steak tips with its smooth texture.

Maine lobster bits are incorporated into the mac and cheese. The dish was baked before coming to the table, which made the texture of the macaroni vary from the edges to the center and the amount of lobster included was enough to impart its essence.

The fish tacos are filled with fresh grilled cod, shredded lettuce, pickled jalapenos, tomatoes, and cilantro and tartar within a white corn tortilla. My dining companion noted that although everything was fresh the taco’s flavor was actually a bit bland. I suggested that perhaps the spice of the jalapenos was interfering with the flavor for him, so he removed some of them before he ate the second taco. This helped somewhat.

The petit burger is a classic cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo burger stacked on a fresh bun with a quarter pound of certified angus beef patty. The “petit” size is slightly smaller than a standard burger but not as small as a slider. The beef was the showpiece in the burger — almost too good to be paired with such simple accompaniments.

The roasted veggies did not leave much of an impression. They were semi-soft and lacked seasoning and caramelization.

The cheesecake was a perfect finish to our meal. The super moist cheesecake sat atop a scrumptious crust and was drizzled with a berry glaze that was perfectly tart and sweet.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Charbroiled rib-eye is on the menu. The polenta stack made with smoked mozzarella, grilled eggplant, tomato, spinach and balsamic reduction sounded delicious, as did the wild caught salmon grilled with beet vinaigrette. The petit options include fried oysters, spinach & artichoke dip, Thai chicken flatbread and buffalo drumettes. Brunch selections list pork belly benedict, chicken fried steak skillet, a roasted veggie omelet and pancakes. Kids options include mini corn dogs, grilled chicken breast, cheese flatbread, mac and cheese, chicken bites, and a quarter pound cheeseburger.

Atmosphere: The strip mall space is divided into two main dining areas, with one featuring a bar with bar-style seating and the other featuring a long upholstered bench faced with tables and chairs as well as standard height tables and chairs all around. There are a few outdoor tables for patio dining, weather permitting.

Other observations: The service was very friendly and attentive, and I enjoyed the modern comfortable vibe. I appreciated the variety of menu items and will definitely return for a brunch visit. One of the elements that sets Sixth Avenue apart from many restaurants is that not just some things, but everything served is made in-house from scratch.

Cost: Salads are $5.50 to $14. Petits cost $7 to $11 (unless it is during Happy Hour and then each petits item is $2 less). A la carte selections are $10.50 to $12.50. Entrees range from $12.50 to $32. Sides cost $3 to $6. Brunch items start at $3 and top out at $12. Kids menu items are $7.50. Sixth Avenue Bistro is participating in “Dine the Couve.”