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DINING GUIDE


preacher— is telling the truth about the “more” as well: moist ribs slathered in Hemphill’s own sweet and kicking barbeque sauce, cornmeal-breaded catfish fried fresh when you order, pulled pork sandwiches, fiery red beans and sweet crisp coleslaw. Call ahead if you want catfish and save room for the cobbler or sweet potato pie. 414 W Sprague. Mon-Fri 11–8, Sat 1-8. (509) 838-5071. $-$$


Red Lion BBQ and Pub. For about 20 years, whether it was in the old rhythm and blues, peanut-shells-on-the- floor days, or more recently as a sports bar, there’s always been butt-kickin’ BBQ at this downtown corner spot. The undisputed star here is wine broiled chicken, spicy and robust, yet falling-off-the-bones moist and tender. Together with their signature fried bread and honey, and you have a BBQ experience that can’t help but please. 126 N Division. Kitchen open daily 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-1am. (Sunday breakfast buffet 9am-noon during football season.) (509) 835-LION (5466). $-$$


BISTROS


Agave Latin Bistro. The sleek space that formerly held Blue Fish is open again—this time for dinner only and serving Latin dishes, top shelf tequila, and a prickly pear margarita with just the right balance of sour and sweet. Ian Wingate incorporates tortillas, a complex mole and other staple from De Leon Foods into the menu thanks to Sergio De Leon’s willingness to make Agave a partner- ship. Don’t miss the tequila and cactus Braised Short Rib, the Wild Boar Chile Verde, and the Lobster Paella. 4 pm – midnight, Tuesday to Saturday. 830 W Sprague in Spokane. (509) 473-9180. www.agavebistro.com. $$-$$$


Ambrosia Bistro and Wine Bar. The neighborhood res- taurant in the Spokane Valley is a big hit with even those that don’t live in the neighborhood. Ambrosia offers fine dining and cuisine in an environment where everyone feels comfortable. Bar manager Jeff Gay has added flare with his signature drinks and specialty mojitos, and owners Scott and Kara Cook have added special touches such as live music on select Saturdays. No matter where you are, you feel like a neighbor here. Mon-Thurs 11-10, Fri-Sat 11-11, Sun 4-9. 9211 E Montgomery in Spokane Valley. (509) 928-3222 www.ambrosia-bistro.com $$-$$$


Bistro on Spruce. This neighborhood bistro offers high- quality fare in a casual, friendly atmosphere. It’s a great spot for a quiet dinner out, or weekend brunch with friends. The menu changes frequently, with tempting selections like Paella, Duck Confit and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Don’t miss the Peppered Chevré with Port- Poached Figs – a sweet, creamy, peppery slice of heaven. The Bistro’s Wine Bar is open in the afternoons for wine and $3.95 tapas. Enjoy outdoor seating in the sum- mertime. If you don’t want to cook, and feel like very reasonably priced upscale food, try Bistro on Spruce. 1710 N Fourth St, Coeur d’Alene. Lunch 11am-2:30 and Wine Bar and Tapas 2:30-5, Mon – Sat. Dinner Mon-Sat 5-9. Weekend breakfast. (208) 664-1774. www.bistroon- spruce.com $-$$


Downriver Grill. One of north Spokane’s neighbor- hood gems, Downriver Grill offers sophisticated food at affordable prices. Begin with the calamari appetizer or the baked Brie served with chopped red bell peppers and toasted bread. Seafood fettuccine, and a pork osso buco are inventive and beautifully prepared, the latter being perhaps the most succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat we’ve ever had. Tues-Sun 11-9. 3315 W Northwest Blvd. in Spokane. (509) 323-1600. $-$$$


Herbal Essence Café. Northwest cuisine. This relaxed downtown restaurant tucked into the middle of a block on Washington serves Northwest bistro food and works hard to offer great service. The menu offers up baseball- cut sirloins, a whole stuffed Dungeness crab and a swordfish steak stuffed with pesto and baked off with a parmesan crust. Try the award-winning house salad, brilliant with sliced pears, crumbled Gorgonzola and a white truffle vinaigrette. 115 N Washington. Lunch Mon- Fri 11-2, Dinner Mon-Sat 5-close. (509) 838-4600. Lunch $-$$, dinner $$-$$$


Laguna Café. This South Hill restaurant calls itself a café, but in actuality it is much more. Owners Dan and Deb- bie Barranti have created a sophisticated combination of gourmet food, great wines, and gifts, while still serving the same great coffee they inherited from the previous tenant, the Deluxe Coffee Company. The dinner menu features entrees such as Wild Pacific Salmon with fresh rosemary mango salsa and roasted rosemary potatoes or the Flat Iron Steak and Black Tiger Shrimp. Live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in addition to monthly wine tastings. 4304 S Regal. Mon-Fri 7 am -9 pm, Sat 8 am -9 pm, and Sun 8 am- 9 pm. (509) 448-0887. $-$$


196 SPOKANE CDA • May • 2012


Latah Bistro. Four signature pizzas with thin but amaz- ingly tender crusts are just the beginning of an excep- tional menu with such items as wild mushroom ravioli in a smoky pancetta cream sauce, seared ahi, and pan- fried calamari. The sugar pumpkin bread pudding will spoil your Thanksgiving pie forever. The wine list is surpassed by the startling after dinner chocolate list. Ask for a sampler and fascinating explanation. Latah Bistro also features an ever changing Fresh Sheet and a heated outdoor patio during summer months. 4241 S Cheney-Spokane Rd, off Highway 195. Lunch daily 11:30- 2, Happy Hour seven days 2-5, Dinner daily 5-Close. (509) 838-8338. $$-$$$


Madeleine’s Café and Patisserie. Madeleine’s Café and Patisserie specializes in traditional French and bistro- style fare. Pop in for a morning coffee and hand crafted croissant, or take a break from shopping and try the Organic Tomato Mozzarella Tart or one of the many lunch salads, quiches and casseroles. Madeleine’s is a popular spot for weekend brunch, with made-to-order whole wheat pancakes, Croque Monsieur sandwiches and beautiful French pastries. Dinner (Thur-Sat) features rustic French dishes such as cassoulets and crepes, as well as seafood and salads. Take advantage of outside dining in warm weather or grab a street-side table for people watching. Mon-Wed 7:45 am -5 pm, Thu-Fri 7:45 am – 10 pm, Sat 8 am – 10 pm, Sun 8 am – 2 pm. 707 West Main. (509) 624-2253. www.madeleines-spokane. com $-$$$


Maggie’s South Hill Grill. LA transplant and five year associate of Wolfgang Puck, Maggie Watkins has created a welcome addition to the South Hill neighborhood dining scene. Designed with efficiency, affordability, and family-friendliness in mind, the food is far more outstand- ing than the casual surroundings and low prices suggest. For comfort food, try the Chicken Pot Pie or Baked Penne and Cheese. For dinner, flat-iron steak makes a perfect choice. And Maggie’s Signature Salad will make kids of all ages actually want to eat their greens. 2808 E 29th. Mon- Fri 11-9pm, Sat-Sun brunch (breakfast and lunch menu) 8-1pm, Dinner 1 – 9. (509) 536-4745. $


Mizuna. While still hewing to its vegetarian and vegan origins, Mizuna has expanded its horizons to include carnivorous fare, with something to satisfy everyone, even those who don’t imagine they like “healthy” food, making for one of the outstanding restaurants in town. The kitchen has a commitment to sourcing local, season- able foods when possible. The Portobello Mushroom sandwich and the Seared Ahi Salad are always delec- table favorites. Outside patio dining is available when the weather permits. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner seven days 5-10. 214 N Howard. (509) 747-2004. www. mizuna.com $$-$$$


Moxie. This is the reincarnation of Chef Ian Wingate’s popular and critically acclaimed Liberty Lake storefront bistro. The same clean, creative, Asian-influenced flavors still obtain, inspired by Wingate’s Hawaiian upbringing, but he also serves up a fine meafloaf that would make grandma proud. The poké is spectacular. Dinner Mon- Thurs 5-9:30, Fri & Sat 5-10. 816 W Sprague. (509) 456- 3594. www.moxiemoxie.com. $$


Oval Office. The Oval Office features an expansive selec- tion of cleverly named martinis to compliment a mix of appetizers, salads, and entrees in a casual and intimate converted home. Ask the staff and they are likely to suggest you try the Dirty Monica with some Skinny Secretaries. Mon - Fri 11am-11pm. Sat - Sun, 3pm-11pm. 620 Spokane Street in Post Falls. (208) 777-2102. $-$$


Picabu Bistro. Picabu Neighborhood Bistro offers fun, stylish, casual dining in Spokane’s lower South Hill neigh- borhood. The menu is creative and diverse, alternating modern favorites such as Shrimp Phad Thai or Cilantro Hummus with never-out-of-style burgers and seafood. Handmade Chicken Potstickers with ginger, cilantro, and corn are a signature dish and the singular Fire Pasta has become a weekly addiction for many. The children’s menu is a big hit with families. 901 W 14th Ave. (509) 624-2464. www.picabu-bistro.com. Sun-Thurs 11-9, Fri- Sat 11-10. $$


Santé.


the sophisticated French bistro food and charcuterie (in-house prepared and preserved meats) of local-boy- turned-chef, Jeremy Hansen. Throw in Hansen’s passion for sourcing as much of his food locally as possible and you have a recipe for great dining. Santé serves breakfast and lunch daily off a shared brunch menu with several of the most creative egg dishes in the city (try the Shirred Eggs or the Weisswurst Blanquette). Dinner is served Thursday through Saturday off a separate menu and offers delicious food with bright flavors as well as great options for vegetarians. Gracious service and a season-


The Liberty Building is a perfect setting for


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