Why: MEstro is a family-friendly sit-down restaurant that recently opened on Southeast 192nd Avenue in the space formerly occupied by the now-defunct Rose’s. The menu reflects a true American melting pot influence, with an upscale diner appeal, and consists mostly of gourmet-style sandwiches with a few entrees, salads, soups and appetizers.
What I tried: I settled on the clam chowder after I was informed they were out of my initial choice, the roasted tomato. I also tried the potato salad and the macaroni and cheese. My dining companions tried the steak frites and The Dilling sandwich, both served with shoestring french fries fried to a light golden crisp. My dining companions tried the blackberry Summertime Long Island and the Jack and the Giant Peach from the cocktail options. Both were true to their description. I had a Hot Toddy in which the bartender forgot to add lemon juice. He came to the table with a lemon wedge shortly after the drink was delivered because he saw my reaction after tasting it, which reminded him he had forgotten to include lemon juice. Although I appreciated the gesture, I believe the correct response would have been to take it back and deliver a fresh drink, which included “fresh squeezed” juice in the mix.
The clam chowder appeared to have two pats of melted butter on the surface. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was olive oil. The oil did not mix in well, and I found it competed too much with the flavor of the clam chowder to be agreeable. The chowder was warm instead of hot.
When the other items were brought to the table, a bowl of the roasted tomato soup, which they said they were out of, was among our selections. I was surprised and disappointed at the lack of knowledge of available menu items. The server apologized and took the soup away when I told her what had happened. It struck me as odd that I was not offered the roasted tomato soup, after all.
The macaroni and cheese was the highlight of my meal. It was piping hot and it had a generous amount of rich, cheesy sauce that possessed a pleasant spicy kick and stayed saucy even as it cooled. Delicious garlic toast was served alongside.
Dining out review
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Where: 2115 S.E. 192nd Ave., Suite 112, Vancouver.
Health score: MEstro 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.
The Dilling sandwich is made with peppered turkey, capocollo, pepperoni, white cheddar cheese, herb mozzarella, chimichurri aioli, pepperoncini, lettuce and tomato on extra thick, toasted, sourdough bread. My dining companion liked the quality of the Italian inspired conglomeration of ingredients, which imparted the essence of antipasto, and noted the hearty sourdough bread a good choice.
MEstro’s potato salad has an original character. Potatoes are thin-chopped and fried before being mixed in a sparse amount of a seasoned, creamy base. This is a creative deviation from traditional potato salad.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Appetizers include street tacos made with chicken or pork, and pot stickers. Soup options include beer broccoli cheese. The Coca sandwich has pork shoulder, peppenero ham, mustard, Swiss cheese and pickle on Cuban bread. All sandwiches come with housemade chips; substitute fries or garlic fries for an additional charge.
Other observations: Other than the atmosphere, which is comfortable, MEstro leaves room for improvement of quality of service and refinement of menu items. It took 15 minutes for initial service once we were seated, and only after I went to the hostess’ desk to inquire. We were not brought water, nor were we offered water after being seated.
Cost: Appetizers range from $7 to $10. Sharable sides are $6 to $10. Soup is $7. Sandwiches are $10 to $15. Entrees cost$12 to $18. Salads are $9 to $12. Wine is $8 to $12 by the glass and $28 to $47 per bottle. Signature cocktails are $8 and $9.