Vancouver, WA – Hudson’s Bar & Grill

Hudson's Bar and Grill, Vancouver, WAAre the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver and the Heathman Hotel in downtown related? I can’t tell from trying to research that question online. If I am left to judge, based on my experiences at restaurants in both hotels, the answer would be a resounding, “NO!”

“Compare and contrast”, as they used to say in debate tourneys at school.

Let’s see – Heathman Hotel downtown Portland – exemplary service, appealing ambiance, over-the-top food, good value for the spend.

Heathman Lodge – possibly the worst service I’ve experienced in Portland, the ambiance of a ski lodge cafe, meh on the food, spendy.

I was delighted to learn from Mrs. Burgerdogboy we were headed out for Saturday brunch with some dear friends, but was dreading the potential for the “Portlandia style” weekend brunch crowds. Happy to hear we were going to the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, because I ASSUMED it was related to the Heathman Hotel, where we’ve had excellent food and service in the past. (Probably one of the best happy hours in Portland, as well).

The similarities between the two properties ends with the name. Period.

While my reviews almost always have a positive spin, being that I was able to find some redeeming quality about a dining experience, regretfully, today is not one of those times.

If I was a member of a younger demographic, my entire review could have been a single word: “meh.”

The two best things about our experience at Hudson’s Bar and Grill were 1) being seated promptly by an amiable hostess, and 2) leaving.

There were apparently 3 wait-persons working the room, which had about a dozen diners at 1030 on a Saturday morning. We apparently drew the short straw with our waitress, starting with a polite remark to her that one of the coffee cups was dirty, and her reply of “Hmm, I don’t see anything wrong with it!” Wot wot? Lesson one of hospitality biz, waitress, you’re reply should have been “Dreadfully sorry, I’ll get a clean one at once.”

Drink orders. Delay. We ordered: two of us opted for the burgers with cheese, medium rare. The menu states “fresh Angus beef, house seasonings, Tillamook white cheddar, brioche. The menu might have stated: fresh Angus, highly overpowering seasonings, prepared however the f*** we feel like it. That’s what we received (after a lengthy delay). I have nothing good to say about the cooked to the max burger, ‘powerfully seasoned’. Fries were bathed in season salt. I’m a big salt eater, but it was too much for even me.

Of all the choices of rice one can use for risotto, arborio, is one of the easiest to overcook. The kitchen did their best to prove the could overcook the rice.

Corned beef hash, while esthetically plated, was over salted.

But even the most mediocre food can sometimes be overcome by good service; regretfully, we were not blessed with that.

Our waitress was AWOL for long stretches at a time, had to be reminded several times that the table wanted water served (she succeeded on the 3rd try).

There was, however, one benefactor of our waitress, a single male sitting nearby was over coddled with both service and personal attention. Lucky him.

Our companions picked up the check, $64 for four brunches, 3 coffees, two cocktails. We ‘quibbled’ over the amount of the tip, it was one of those view times when I would have voted for a big fat zero, but I was overruled by the table.

The hotel itself seems interesting – a cheerful ‘rustic lodge’ decor, but it’s located in an office park, with zero nature nearby. I checked the rates on line, and they run from about $100 – $150, which seems reasonable, I guess. Most hotels these days offer guests at least a free continental breakfast, if not more. The Heathman Lodge? A sign at the front desk boasts “free coffee for overnight guests only.” My observation of that perk was that one must ask the desk clerk for the cuppa, and they will happily provide it – from the ‘vending style’ coffee machine behind the desk.

The upside? If one is so inclined, one could walk to the Vancouver Mall, located a few blocks to the east.

Hudson's Bar and Grill, Vancouver, WA

Hudson's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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