Why: WildFin American Grill is one of the anchor restaurants at Vancouver’s new waterfront development. It is one of four locations for the Washington-based restaurant, which has a regionally focused menu featuring Northwest meats, fresh fish, seafood and produce. WildFin is a family friendly, casual place with a view.
Atmosphere: The space feels somewhat industrial in its finish. Expansive windows invite a river view from anywhere in the restaurant. A cool color palette of grays is warmed with a touch of orange. Fabric, market-style panels draw attention above the dining room, and a Northwest-inspired mural is featured on the back wall where bottled wine is attractively displayed. The open kitchen is backed with orange tile, and the names of food providers are listed on boards below orange spotlights. The expansive dining room offers table and booth seating as well as some tall counter seating with bar stools. The bar is located at the opposite end as the kitchen where seating is bar-style. Lighting consists of a few different pendant-type fixtures and colors that compliment the decor.
What I tried: My dining companion and I started out our meal with the clams Northwest style and the Cajun seared-fish WildFin street tacos. I decided on the Alaskan snow crab stuffed roasted cod for my entree, and my dining companion had the WildFin dinner house burger with smoked potato salad. We finished our meal with scrumptious donuts, which are made to order and dusted with a sweet and unique cinnamon anise sugar and served atop maple bourbon sauce.
The clams, simmered in WildFin’s award-winning seafood chowder, were rich and tasty and effortlessly fell from the shells. The street tacos were filled with jalapeño aioli, avocado, tomatillo salsa, and jicama slaw in addition to the spicy seared fish. The combination was more elaborate than most fish tacos I have had and very appetizing.
I was impressed with the quality of my entree. The cod filet was thick and flaky with a buttery crust. It was stuffed with a fair amount of snow crab combined with artichokes and Parmesan. The cod sat atop a portion of smooth, mashed potatoes in a swash of creamy beurre blanc and chives.
WildFin American Grill
• Hours: Lunch is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Dinner is 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Sunday.
• Where: 777 Waterfront Way, Suite 101, Vancouver.
• Contact: 360-718-7701; wildfinamericangrill.com
• Health Score: WildFin American Grill 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.
My dining companion said the burger was a good representation of a gourmet burger, though prepared a tad past medium rare, which he had requested. He especially enjoyed the smoked potato salad for its smoky, hearty flavor and textures.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: The WildFin appetizer tower — which consists of garlic prawns, calamari and seafood crostini — sounded good, as did the warm brie and cambozola. Parmesan-crusted sole is served with ancient grain mushroom risotto, fried capers and butter sauce. Specialties include a grilled ribeye sandwich and a smoked chicken chop chop salad. Fresh apple-caramel cobbler is among the dessert options.
Other observations: The waitstaff is professional and very attentive. The atmosphere has a cafeteria vibe. With the large windows and seamless river view, it almost feels like the restaurant is situated on a pier. The food is fresh, delicious, and expertly prepared. WildFin beers are available in growlers. Brunch will be starting soon. Check website for updates.
Cost: Dinner starters start at $4.50 and top out at $24.95. Fish dishes range from $16.95 to $34.95. Wildfin Specialties are $15.95 to $31.95. Desserts cost $8.50. Draught beer is $6.50 to $7.50. Bottled beer is available as well for $2.95 to $6.95. Cocktails cost $9.95 to $13.95. Wine on tap comes in 6-ounce, 9-ounce, and liter sizes for $8.95 to $32.95. Wine by the glass is $8.50 to $16.95 and by the bottle for $27.95 to $120.95. Nonalcoholic beverages cost $4.50 to $6.50. All other Vancouver menus with prices are available to download on WildFin’s website.