Only in the Pacific Northwest will you find a place like the Sunset Cafe & Loose Wolf Saloon. Woodland scene upholstery in the booths, a bearskin on the wall, a portrait of John Wayne above the fireplace, and pictures everywhere of local flora and fauna encourage an appetite as big as the outdoors. There is a generous feel about the menu, which is an eclectic range of eats that range from traditional square meals to salads and wraps and even vegetarian options.
Breakfast is the best meal of the day, featuring a marvelous item titled The Elk Hunter (aka corned beef hash Benedict). That is a luxurious trifecta of corned beef hash, eggs, and hollandaise. The hash is meaty and boomingly spiced. With a side order of crisp, griddle-flavored hash browns, it is one immensely satisfying meal. Pancakes also are dandy — fluffy and lightweight, served with both maple and marionberry syrups. Then there’s a huge, sugary cinnamon maple roll. It comes warm from the microwave, which makes the dough rubbery; but the surfeit of crisp nuts on top is ample compensation.
Dinners are preceded by a “Golden Nugget roll” that glistens with herb-spangled butter. We like Barbecue Fries, which is a heap of good French fries topped with massive amounts of smoky pulled pork, melted cheese, green onions, and sweet-spicy sauce. It is listed as an appetizer, but is ample enough to be a very satisfying meal. Prime rib is tender, its modest flavor nicely amplified by a cup of salty au jus. Our taste buds are puzzled by the Northwest Rainforest salad, which includes barbecued salmon, blueberries, blue cheese, toasted almonds, tomatoes, and cucumber and is dressed with huckleberry vinaigrette. Each item is nice, but harmony never comes.
Made-on-premises pies get an A for effort, but they tend to be cloddish — more about quantity than quality.