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Chicken. The Tom Kha soup is excellent and Mangos and Sweet Sticky Rice offer a great finish. There are several $6.95 lunch specials and the $2 glass of Thai Ice Tea is generous. 11 am – 8 pm Monday – Satur- day, Closed Sunday. 1006 E Francis Ave in Spokane. (509) 487-3559. $-$$


Sala Thai. Thai. Reviewed August 2011. Sala Thai fits the stereotype that you can often find the best ethnic food just outside military bases. Owners and chefs Pat and Rapeepun Smitamorn serve up mem- orable Thai specialties pungent with the smells and flavors of fish sauce, lemongrass, coconut milk, and ginger. Try the Yum Gai Tod or possibly the best Pad Thai in the region but don’t skip the transcendent Tom Kah and Tom Yum soups. Spice Warning—Sala Thai’s 0-5 star heat rating runs high so consider starting low. Mon-Fri 11-2:30 for lunch and 4:30- 9:00 for dinner; Sat 2-9 ; Closed Sunday. 12924 West Sunset Highway in Airway Heights. (509) 244-4800. www.salathaispokane.com. $$


Shogun. Japanese. Simple elegance defines the decor, with guests greeted by an interior water- fall. Shogun is really two restaurants. First are the familiar hibachi tables. Each table seats about eight and comes with a personal chef who prepares a selection of beef, chicken, and seafood in front of delighted guests. Trained in the art of hibachi cook- ing, chefs serve as impromptu performance artists, amazing diners with kitchen acrobatics, sleight-of- hand and grill-assisted pyrotechnics. The other is the sushi bar, perhaps one of the largest and best equipped east of Seattle. Across the bamboo bridge over a tranquil koi pond and past the waterfall and lounge, this is a quiet refuge and counterpoint to the frenetic atmosphere of the main dining room. Shogun is a perfect spot for either a special celebra- tion or a quiet night out. Open seven days 5-10. 821 E 3rd. (509) 534-7777. $$-$$$


Suki Yaki Inn. Japanese. Many of us can’t remember a time when the Suki Yaki Inn wasn’t tucked away in the same location around the corner of Bernard and Riverside. Spokane’s first Japanese restaurant, there are no acrobatic samurai chefs to be seen, but it is still the place to come for classic teriyaki and sushi. And the only place to enjoy the traditional private dining rooms seated upon cushions on the floor, shoes left outside. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2, Dinner Mon- Fri 5-11, Fri 4-11, Sun 4-10, Lounge 7 days until 2. 119 N Bernard. (509) 624-0022. $$


Sushi Maru. Japanese. A hip conveyor belt sushi spot in the heart of the downtown Riverpark Square mall in Spokane, Sushi Maru is the perfect place for a quick, healthy, and entertaining meal before or after a movie. The $3.75 Tuna Poki Salad is a steal and the off-menu mochi balls are a must. There are plenty of fully cooked rolls and other items like Orange Chicken on the fun visual menu if raw fish makes you nervous. Open at 11 am during the week. Closes at 9:30 Mon – Thur. 10 pm Fri – Sat and 8 pm Sunday. 808 West Main Avenue in Spokane. (509) 455-3900. $-$$


Sushi Yama. Japanese and Korean. After years developing a cult following in Airway Heights and serving up some of the best sushi in the region, Charlie Yamamoto has opened a second location on 3rd Avenue in downtown Spokane. The space works as an Asian restaurant with touches of the truck stop vibe remaining from its Arctic Circle days. Most of the menu will be familiar to Charlie’s West Plains clientele. Try one of his fine sports-theme rolls that anchor the sushi side of the menu. Bento boxes and classic Korean dishes are also served up with relish. 11 – 10 Thu-Sat. 11 – 9 Sun – Tue. Closed Wed. 1321 West 3rd Avenue in Spokane. (509) 624- 5553. $-$$$


Syringa. Japanese. Chef Viljo Basso serves up Japa- nese dishes with some creative French touches out


of a small storefront on North 4th Street in Coeur d’Alene.


brother Hiroshi is fresh and sweet and the house has some fun with vegetarian dishes and a series of “saketinis.” Under no circumstances should you miss Basso’s Chilean Sea Bass Misozuke ($16) that marinates in a white miso past for three days before Basso’s puts it on the grill. 11:30 – 9 Mon - Thur. 11:30 – 10 Fri. 4-10 Sat. Closed Sunday. 1401 North 4th in CDA (208) 664-2718. www.syringasushi.com $-$$$


Taaj Indian Cuisine. Brilliant Indian food from owner and manager Gurmeet Gill and his two Punjabi chefs. One chef is in charge of the curries; the other runs the tandoori oven. Be sure to order several of the breads and don’t miss the Chicken Makhani, the Lamb Seekh Kababs, or the Baingan Bhartha that turns grilled eggplant into an addictive substance. The weekday lunch buffet is a great way to explore Taaj’s large menu since it changes daily. Lunch and dinner daily. 128 West 3rd Avenue in Spokane. (509) 624-3738. $-$$


Taste of India. Family-owned, authentic cuisine emphasizing northern Indian flavors. Casual atmo- sphere with traditional Indian music playing softly in the background and a popular lunch buffet dur- ing the week. Try Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Curry, or Vegetarian Samasa. 3110 N Division. Mon-Thur 11-9:30, Fri & Sat 11-10, Sun 11-9. (509) 327-7313. $-$$


Teriyaki House. Japanese. Teriyaki House is locally owned and operated. They take tremendous pride in the quality of their food. Their dishes are low-fat, low-cholesterol, and are prepared without MSG. Try their homemade teriyaki sauce. 11516 E Sprague. Tues-Sat 11-8. (509) 928-8893. $


Thai Bamboo. Each of the four regional Thai Bam- boo locations offers an ambitious Southeast Asian menu in settings designed to transport you across the Pacific.


carvings, water fountains, Thai music and the name- sake bamboo décor. Voted #1 Best Thai by readers in numerous polls, see why Thai food is one of the fastest growing cuisines in the country and enjoy friendly service, a huge authentic menu, and rea- sonable prices. The newest CDA location includes a Tiki-Beach styled lounge and a striking color- changing night sky ceiling in the main dining room reminiscent of Vegas. Open 7 days per week with delivery available. Multiple locations. www.thaib- amboorestaurant.com. $-$$


Top of India. A large and expertly prepared array of curries and Tandoori specialties is available both a la carte and on the reasonably priced daily lunch buffet and twice-monthly dinner buffet. The home- made mango ice cream is not to be missed. 11114 E Sprague. Mon-Sat Lunch 11-3, Sun Lunch 12-3, Mon-Sun Dinner 5-10. (509) 927-0500. $$


Ugly Fish Asian Bistro. Reviewed April 2012. Japa- nese and Chinese. A sleek space at the western edge of the Riverstone development, Ugly Fish takes a page from the playbook of its sister restaurant, Ding How in Liberty Lake and offers both great sushi and creatively cooked Chinese dishes.


Ugly Fish roll is excellent and the Peking Duck is an experience. The menu is massive with over 200 indi- vidual items offered. 11 am – 9 pm, Tue – Thu; 11 am – 10 pm, Fri; 11:30 am – 10 pm, Sat; noon – 9 pm, Sun. 1927 West Riverstone Drive in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 667-6389. www.uglyfishasianbistro.com. $$-$$$


BARBECUE


Chicken-n-More. “Amazing-Crispy-Tender-Chicken- n-More” could have been the name. It is that good, and Bob Hemphill—full-time cook and part-time


The signature


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Bonnie Clark


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