Camas, WA — When The Hammond Kitchen and Craft Bar opened its doors several weeks ago, it was the fulfillment of a dream for co-owner George Hammond Goodrich, whose meticulous attention to detail is evident when you walk in the door.
“This has been his lifelong dream,” said his daughter, and co-owner, Gwen Goodrich. “We had this opportunity and he knows Matt Olson well, who said ‘hey do you want to open a restaurant here?’ Then everything just fell into place. This is his dream, but he’s really modest about it.”
So, what is The Hammond Kitchen and Craft Bar?
“It’s a casual upscale grill — we are closest to that,” said George. “We have a Gaucho wood-fired grill. Everything is cooked over an open flame on wood — either cherry or alder wood. The Gaucho grill has pulleys and roller wheels that allow you to increase or decrease the height based on the intensity of the coals.”
The Hammond has a good and varied menu that was planned out well in advance of the restaurant’s opening.
“We thought out the items and researched for a year how to best approach everything,” said George. “We worked closely with Dylan Reish, our Head Chef. “We had this foundation of ideas, and we played with each menu item to get just the right flavor. We took classics and did a fun twist on them. Our Caesar salad is a small head of romaine and is smoked a bit, with house-made croutons, fresh made dressing, and watermelon radish that’s been pickled. It’s a new twist on old traditions.”
The Hammond has a good mix of pasta, chicken, fresh seafood offerings. Steaks are choice prime beef. Burgers are a brisket and chuck blend. They also serve delicious brick oven pizzas. And source local, sustainable when possible.
They serve Oregon country beef, and a local farmer in Washougal is coming online for Spring.
The menu has several healthy items like fresh fish that is prepared simply, and doesn’t use a lot of creams. The Quinoa cake is a great-tasting three-blend veggie item that can be made vegan.
“We listen to our customers and created a healthy bowl that only uses olive oils and veggie stock,” said Gwen. “We also offer gluten-free by request, and brought in a gluten-free bun.”
From the dinner menu, we sampled the Gaucho-grilled (wood-fired) salmon with ponzu and honey glaze with fennel and orange relish, served with double cream mashed potatoes, and sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon shallots and balsamic vinegar. It adds a nice sweetness. Their sustainable king salmon is fresh.
The Hammond has unique starters, such as the deviled eggs. The yolks are fine pressed then blended with mustard aioli, pickled relish, scallion, salt and pepper with creamed cheese. They got the idea from a German chef.
George has been in the restaurant business his whole life, working for large hotel corporations, and he was a partner at Beaches. The Hammond is his 39th opening.
“Coming here is an experience,” said George. “I want guests to come here and be comfortable with business, family, or any social event. I want you to have a great time and escape from the world. We are about high quality products and a high level of service. We’re all trained to offer higher level of service. Our team members are friendly, and engaging. They have a high level of food knowledge, and can put a meal together for you. We want people to have a great time and tell others.”
The Hammond has options for large groups, with a private dining room that seats 50. They also have an outside deck for the warmer months that are coming. Their prices are reasonable, and there are options for everybody. There are 24 items on the social hour menu.
Their Craft Bar features small nano breweries, with wine offerings from Willamette Valley, Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, Napa Valley, Australia, South America, and France.
Drinks that appeared in our photo shoot include:
- Spring Manhattan — the Hammond’s twist, with a splash of Aperol.
- Gin with muddled lime, cucumber and cilantro — it’s becoming more popular by the day. Where there’s smoke there’s fire— has a nice maskal Chile flavor without being too hot.
And don’t forget dessert. We sampled the Crustless Coconut Cream Pie, which is a childhood fix of what you used to get. It is gluten-free. Plus, we had the bread pudding with lemon curd and put some on the outside. It’s excellent and served warm.
They’re located at 4857 NW Lake Road, Camas, Washington, 98607. Online at: www.thehammondkitchenandcraftbar.com