Dining Out review:
Final Draft Taphouse
Hours: 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Where: 11504 S.E. Mill Plain Boulevard, Vancouver. www.finaldrafttaphouse.com
Health score: Final Draft Taphouse has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for 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: Final Draft Taphouse has been open for two months with 30 rotating taps of craft beers, cider and wine. The taphouse also has a humble food menu to support the beverage offerings. Owners and operators Kimberly Johnson and Mike Bolt both worked in the industry before launching Final Draft. The taphouse joins the growing list of establishments where you can go explore a variety of expertly crafted brews and relax with good company and a bite to eat.
What I tried: My dining companion and I had the wild smoked salmon crostini, and we tried the cheese and meat board as well as the tomato, mozzarella and pesto panino and the pesto proscuitto panino.
The salmon crostini consists of a cold cream cheese-based dip which contains smoked salmon bits and capers. The dip generously tops warm, toasted baguette slices and is sprinkled with dill. I enjoyed the crostini and found the inclusion of the capers, with their pop and tangy goodness, a good pairing with the smoky salmon flavor of the dip.
The cheese and meat board combined pieces of air-dried beef, sliced salami and rabbit pate with three different sheep and goat variety of cheeses. Portions of coarse mustard, fig jam and honey, in addition to a hearty amount of sliced bread, were also included on the board. My dining companion and I found the selection agreeable, and we both had our favorites on the board. The stand-out items were the air-dried beef, pate and honey. The cheeses were unique and delicious.
The sandwiches are made with artisan bread and served with kettle chips and a pickle spear. The ingredients were fresh and balanced and the sandwiches, though a bit greasy, were toasted crisp on the outside and gooey in the center.
My dining companion tried a sour raspberry ale and I settled on a blonde ale. Both were refreshing and to our liking.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: German soft pretzels, chips and salsa, chips and hummus and olives and nuts wrap up the small plates. You may get a meat only, a cheese only or the combined meat and cheese board. Panino sandwich choices include the Riley’s High Thoughts, which has crunchy peanut butter, mozzarella and fig jam aboard artisan bread. The roast beef and gruyere made with caramelized onions and dijon mustard sounded delicious. There is also a three-cheese with sharp cheddar, mozzarella and shaved parmesan and a turkey pesto avocado sandwich.
Atmosphere: The strip mall location provides a moderate number of seats at a long bar and additional seating at both tall and standard tables with chairs. Larger groups may be accommodated by a bit of rearranging, and there are a few outdoor tables, weather permitting. The walls are painted in a flat gray color which takes on various hues with different lighting. A mural near the entrance door represents Pacific Northwest activities, and landscape photos decorate the opposite wall. Natural light brightens the front of the space during the day and pendant fixtures illuminate the bar and seating in a subdued fashion. The draft selection is displayed on large-screen TVs and a couple more screens provide some entertainment.
Other observations: Orders are taken at the bar. The vibe is unpretentious and low key, and the service is friendly. The draft selection offers something for everyone and the food is sufficient. You may go to Final Draft’s website and request a beer and occasionally the beer will be added. Upcoming events are also listed on the calendar.
Cost: Most 12-ounce and 20-ounce drafts are $6; 64-ounce growlers range from $16 to $24. Wine by the glass is $7 and by the bottle costs $9 to $23. Small plates are $5 to $8. Cheese and meat boards are $15 and $18.50. Panino sandwiches are $9 to $13 and add-ins are $1 and $2. Happy hour menu items are $3 to $6.