Why: Over the years, the Grant House has housed a few different food and drink establishments, each with its own personality. The past two years, it has been home to the Eatery at the Grant House, under the direction of Executive Chef Capers Ogletree. Ogletree’s focus is on a locally sourced menu. If you have not visited the restaurant for a while, it is possible the hours have been extended since your last visit.
Atmosphere: The historic house, built in 1849, continues to gain charm with the passage of time. The welcoming front walkway and porch beckon diners into a more gracious era. Diners may opt to sit in the cozy bar and enjoy a few snacks with their drinks, or enjoy full menu options in the formal dining room or the enclosed atrium-style room, where seating options accommodate a few to several guests. Tall ceilings lend a stately presence to the house and period lighting fixtures bring a warm glow. Shutters on the windows eliminate the need for drapes, allowing simple elegance to take center stage.
What I tried: To start, my dining companions and I tried the cheese rolls with bacon butter, which are baked to order, and the polenta cake topped with foraged mushrooms and parsley sauce. I settled on the New York strip steak with house-made steak sauce, accompanied by a mix of new potatoes, leeks and peppers. My dining companions had the wild king salmon with roasted beets, turnips and sauce vert, and the spice-rubbed half chicken rapini, which sat atop butternut squash. For dessert, we tried the apple crisp topped with cinnamon ice cream and the pumpkin cake with house-made mascarpone and pumpkin seed brittle with candied rosemary.
Both the polenta and cheese rolls were outstanding. The foraged mushrooms atop the cake were delicious and served as a good conduit for the cake. The textures were also wonderful. The cheese rolls are stuffed with cheese, then baked and served in a cast iron skillet topped with a big dollop of bacon butter in the center, which is the perfect finishing touch. Our entrees were all equally impressive. The salmon was kept basic and the pairings gave it pizzazz. The chicken was tender and juicy and the butternut squash was seasoned to a rich flavorful finish and pureed for a base element. The steak was tender, though slightly overcooked on one end for medium, as I requested. The steak sauce was sweet with a hint of traditional steak sauce flavor. The potato accompaniment was delicious. All the portion sizes were good for dinner. The desserts were scrumptious — the best apple crisp I have had, and the candied rosemary and pumpkin seed brittle, a treat to remember.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Snacks include pickled deviled eggs, and a chef’s board of meats, cheeses, pickles, fruits, breads and spreads. Among small plate options are pears with a fennel, pine nut and malt vinaigrette, and Dungeness crab toast with rouille. The duck breast, freekeh, chanterelles, and greens entree sounded interesting, as did the house-made tagliatelle with rabbit carbonara. The menu changes according to season and availability. Brunch, lunch, bar and Sunday Supper menus are different and are available for viewing on the restaurant’s website, but are subject to change.
Dining out guide: Eatery at the Grant House
Address: 1101 Officers Row, Vancouver.
Hours: Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner is served 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Brunch is served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday.
Contact: 360-906-1101 or eateryatthegranthouse.com
Health score: The Eatery at the Grant House got a score of 5 on Aug. 22. 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.
Other observations: The staff is knowledgeable about menu items, courteous, and attentive. The cost isn’t just about the food, it’s the whole package. Diners take a step back in time for a relaxing meal with unusual menus, where lingering is encouraged. Several different rooms are available to reserve for business and private events. The manicured grounds make the Grant House a popular wedding venue.
Cost: Dinner snacks cost $8 to $25. Small plates are $12 to $15. Large plates are $25 to $35. There is also a “feast for your table” option which costs $55 per guest or $85 with beverage pairing and full table participation is required. Cocktails cost $9 to $13. Wine by the glass is $9 to $14.