By Karen Livingston for The Columbian
Published: December 20, 2013, 6:00 AM
Photo by Zachary Kaufman, The Columbian
Why: Crave Grille was originally in downtown Vancouver, across from the courthouse, for a year and a half before relocating to The Palms Plaza.
The grill offers American cuisine: artisan burgers, barbecue and some exclusive selections such as the Karubi Rib, a tender, meaty pork slow-roasted and smoked and then crispy fried.
Though family-friendly, the atmosphere and prices are more suited for adults.
Atmosphere: A cool stone and metallic color palette is accented with red and black. Booths offer seating by the windows, tables and chairs set for four fill in the open floor, and in the bar area there is bar seating as well as a tall counter at the window. An assortment of lighting fixtures include halogen track and single-bulb drop lights.
A large-screen TV provides entertainment.
The open kitchen is roomy and tidy and the restaurant’s overall vibe is an artistic blend of elements: It feels like a food mechanic’s hangout.
What I tried: With “Walking Dead” on a two-month hiatus, I couldn’t pass up the Zombie Double Burger. Diners may choose from housemade chips, French fries, sweet potato fries, or a small side salad to accompany the burgers. I decided on the housemade chips.
I was told that the chef, when he created this burger, had in mind a burger for the apocalypse. As in, the last meal, or one you could eat off of for a while. He brought this vision to the plate by utilizing a full pound of beef, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, ham, habanero relish, a fried egg, crispy-fried onions, hot pepper sauce, and of course, let’s not forget the bun. The burger, in all its glory, stands about a quarter- to a half-inch taller than the iPhone. Unless you hold the record for the largest gape, you will need to use the knife plunged through the middle of the burger to slice it up for consumption.
With a burger of this caliber, you really have to put aside any and all dietary concerns in order to indulge with a guilt-free conscience. If you can do this, every taste bud will thank you. And if you can finish it, you can extend your survival beyond the average 4 to 6 weeks without food. I was full after 10 minutes with still more than half the burger left.
The housemade chips were crinkle-cut, crispy, and fresh and hot from the fryer. They were seasoned just right and made a delicious accompaniment for the burger.
I didn’t have room for dessert, so I ordered a chocolate mousse to go. It consisted of three round layers — super-moist double-chocolate cake, milk-chocolate mousse and white-chocolate mousse. It was drizzled with a cherry sauce and topped with a maraschino cherry. It was a scrumptious blend of sweet.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Beer-battered fish and chips is on the menu, as is a macaroni and cheese made with a vodka-based cheese sauce; you can add bacon, barbecued spicy pulled pork, or grilled chicken.
Rockfish is a gluten-free selection, and there is a Portobello Veggie Sandwich made with a marinated and grilled portobello mushroom, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, Swiss cheese, and house sauce.
Other observations: The waitstaff was very attentive and friendly. The atmosphere was clean, comfortable, and unhurried. If the other menu items are as interesting as the Zombie Double Burger, then prices reflect an exclusive nature.
Cost: Burgers cost $12 to $16. House Specials are $8 to $9. Dinner items are $12.50 to $14. Salads range from $8 to $11. Sides are $4 and $5.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Where: 13025 N.E. Fourth Plain, Suite 104, Vancouver.
ealth score: Crave Grille received a perfect score of 0 on Oct. 17. Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.