Excellent | Worth a Detour
Sunset Cafe & Loose Wolf Saloon | Hearty Northwest Eats
Review by: Michael Stern
Eating Large in Cle Elum
Only in the Pacific Northwest will you find a place like the Sunset Cafe & Loose Wolf Saloon. Woodland scene upholstery decorates the booths. A bearskin hangs on the wall. A portrait of John Wayne looks out from above the fireplace. Pictures of local flora and fauna encourage an appetite as big as the outdoors. Generosity infuses the menu — an eclectic range of hearty Northwest eats. This is the place to go in Cle Elum for big, traditional square meals. But less aggressive appetites will find appeasement, too — in salads, wraps, and even vegetarian options.
Breakfast for Hearty Appetites
Breakfast, the best meal of the day, features a marvelous item titled The Elk Hunter. That is a luxurious trifecta of corned beef hash, eggs, and hollandaise — corned beef hash Benedict! Spices perfume the hearty shards of brined meat. Order crisp, griddle-flavored hash browns on the side and you have one immensely satisfying meal. Big pancakes surprise the palate because they are fluffy and lightweight. Adorn them with either maple or marionberry syrup. Those who seek maximum caloric intake should consider the huge, sugary cinnamon maple roll. It comes warm from the microwave, which makes the dough rubbery. But a surfeit of crisp nuts on top provides ample compensation. (A great alternative breakfast pastry in town is a maple bar at the Cle Elum Bakery.)
Mighty Dinner & Desserts
A “Golden Nugget roll” glistening with butter precedes dinner. Of course you can ease your knife through a great slab of prime rib. Its somewhat modest flavor improves with a dip in the salty au jus that comes along with it. We really like an item called Barbecue Fries. Good French fries are piled on a plate, then topped with massive amounts of smoky pulled pork, melted cheese, green onions, and sweet-spicy sauce. The menu says it’s an appetizer. We say it wants to be a full meal. The Northwest Rainforest salad puzzles our taste buds. Barbecued salmon, blueberries, blue cheese, toasted almonds, tomatoes, and cucumber are strange platefellows indeed. Huckleberry vinaigrette does its best to harmonize the elements, each of which is good.
Hearty Northwest eats means big desserts, too. Made-on-premises pies get an A for effort. You’ll not find them in a dainty tearoom. But in a place like this, they fit just right.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|