Top Guild Restaurant Week Picks 2020
by Erin Peterson
It’s one of my favorite foodie times of the year - Restaurant Week! This is the Inlander’s 8th annual celebration of all things food and beverage in the Inland Northwest. With dozens of fixed-price meals to select from in the $22 and $33 ranges, diners have the opportunity to try the top food destinations in our area affordably.
Are you a Restaurant Week newbie? I’ll give you my best advice to making this a fun experience: don’t pick too many places, be patient with waitstaff (the wait times can get crazy, as most of these places will be slammed), and be sure to tip well on your meal. After all, the goal is to find a new favorite and being gracious to the crew will ensure that you develop a quality relationship beyond the excitement of this action-packed week.
When you search through the Inlander’s Restaurant Week guide, you may get overwhelmed. I got you, boo. I personally look forward to it every year, as I am an avid menu reader and more than a little obsessive about trying to make the most out of this event. I try to imagine how each one will taste based on its components and how the chef that is behind it will provide his or her own interpretation of the dish. I research current chefs. I look for limited-time menu items that are not on their typical menu so that I don’t miss out. They work really hard to showcase their best work, too, and I’m here for it.
Now, for the good stuff. Due to my own unique expertise in the wide variety of restaurants in the area after visiting nearly all of them, I have a few standouts that I think will be a great value and a flavor-packed gourmet experience. I’ve divided it into three categories to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for - cheap eats, upscale dining and top picks for Idaho. Here are my top 10 menus that you shouldn’t miss, along with sharing what I’d order when I go. Don’t forget to share your finds with us at #spokanefood and earn free meals for people in need by sharing images of your meals and using the hashtag #irwravereviews!
Cheap Eats - $22
There are so many great choices on the menu this year at an affordable price point, but for me there were some standouts that I am particularly looking forward to.
TOP PICK - North Hill on Garland - Garland District - Chef Kadra Evans
Steamer Clams - Clams steamed in a garlic herb compound butter, shaved fennel and reduced in white wine and absinthe. Garnished with a grilled lemon and crostinis. Rustic Veggie Biscuit Pot Pie - Stacked with peas, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, kale and chickpeas. Topped with a flaky biscuit, and Champagne Custard - A champagne custard topped with boozy berries.
Barnwood Social Kitchen and Tavern - North Spokane
Pickle Flight - Four variations of house-pickled vegetables: house pickles, hot carrots, beets and Brussels, The Greek - Grilled chicken, arugula, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, tapenade and house tzatziki stacked on a fresh hoagie, served with fries and Black & White Flourless Cake - Cake fingers made with Brick West Breakfast Stout, dipped in chocolate, dusted with flake salt and finished with house berry sauce.
Cascadia Public House - North Spokane
Jambalaya - A hearty and savory jambalaya with andouille sausage, Mary’s chicken, shrimp, and rice, Cascadia Shrimp and Grits - Seared cajun shrimp, andouille sausage, grits, charred poblano peppers, fontina, housemade hot sauce, and Mini Banana Cream Pie - House-made banana pudding, garnished with whipped cream, banana slices, vanilla wafer, and nutmeg.
Cochinito Taqueria - Guild Award Winner - Chef Travis Dickinson - Downtown
Bay Scallop Ceviche Tostada - Marinated in chile, lime and cilantro with pickled red onion, marinated cucumber, serrano chile and leche de tigre, and any three tacos (pick your three favorites) and Churros - Cajeta caramel or chile-chocolate dipping sauce.
Heritage Bar and Kitchen - Downtown
Dr. Pepper Beef & Bacon Chili - Our housemade Dr. Pepper Chili is a perfect mix of savory, sweet and spicy. Topped with cheddar cheese and green onion, Heritage Mac Supreme - Two locally sourced beef patties, housemade hash browns, double American cheese, bacon, Chipotle Ketchup, special sauce all on a brioche bun and Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Skewers - No bake chocolate chunk cookie dough on a skewer drizzled in chocolate sauce.
Fai’s Noodle House - Airway Heights
Togarashi Pork Bao -Togarashi seasoned pork belly with pickled vegetables, served in a steamed bao bun with micro cilantro, Seafood Pho - House-made broth with calamari, mussels, clams and shrimp. Served with bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapeños, lime and cilantro, and Matchamisu (Green Tea Tiramisu) - Chocolate sponge cake, matcha mascarpone mousse with a white chocolate ganache.
Iron Goat Brewery - North Spokane - Chef Travis Tveit
Bacon and Corn Chowder - Applewood smoked bacon, Yukon potatoes, heavy cream, smoked paprika and chives, Chili Verde - Braised pork shoulder in a roasted green chili sauce, white rice, toasted pumpkin seeds, cotija and cilantro, and a Beer Float - A scoop of vanilla ice cream with your favorite beer or soda.
Kuni’s Thai - North Spokane
Crispy Duck Salad - Organic mixed greens with deep-fried duck, cashew nuts, pineapple, green apples, tomatoes, red onions, mint, with a tamarind dressing and roasted chili paste, Chiang Mai Pork Curry - Kunis’ mom’s recipe with slow-cooked pork marinated with Hinlay powder, red curry paste, ginger, and red onions, and Fried Thai Bananas - coated with coconut flakes and topped with a caramel sauce.
Rut Bar and Kitchen - South Hill
Crispy Brussels Sprouts - coconut soubise, dijon gastrique, crispy onions, aleppo pepper , Kung Pao Cauliflower Bowl - crispy cauliflower, peppers, broccolini, peanuts, pickled cucumber, over jasmine rice and Vanilla Fig Shrub - Warrior Rye, Glorious fig balsamic vinegar, vanilla, soda.
Steelhead Bar and Grille - Downtown
Smoked Steelhead Chowder - In-house smoked Steelhead in creamy chowder, Tomatillo Braised Pork - Served with creamy polenta and seasonal vegetables, and a Bananas Foster Martini - Warrior Bourbon infused with bananas and shaken with spiced vanilla ice cream.
Upscale Dining - $33
If you’re looking for more of a romantic vibe with some high-end dining options, these locations will have what you’re looking for.
TOP PICK - Gander and Ryegrass - Downtown - Chef Peter Froese
Salad - citrus. root vegetable. chicory. duck confit, Mezza Luna Stuffed Pasta - ricotta. speck. Hazelnut, and White Fish - marcona. beldi olive. Onion.
Casper Fry - Perry District
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad - Pomegranate seeds, pistachio, goat cheese, caramelized pear, Banyuls dressing, Smoked Porchetta - Winter pickle, shallot jus, savory black lentils, and melted leeks, and Huckleberry Orange Marjolaine - Layers of huckleberry Italian buttercream between baked hazelnut meringue, with brown sugar chantilly cream.
Central Food - Kendall Yards - Chef David Blaine
Avocado Tartine - whipped feta, avocado, bacon jam, Prawn BLT - bacon grilled prawns, butter lettuce, tomato vinaigrette, avocado, fried pozole, and Key Lime Cheesecake - with a ginger graham crust.
Chaps - West Spokane
Smoked Watermelon Caprese - Fresh mozzarella, watermelon, heirloom tomato, basil, blood orange balsamic, and Parmesan tuile Spanish Paella - Saffron infused Valencia rice, sautéed mussels, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo with a bouquet of fresh herbs, tomato, pepper, onion garlic, and broth, and Passion Fruit Coconut Tart - Passion fruit curd, toasted coconut in a buttery tart shell.
Clover - U-District - Chef Kory Schimanski
Lobster Mac - Lobster meat, housemade Spätzle, extra sharp cheddar sauce, topped with bread crumbs, Tri-Tip Steak - Chili rubbed tri-tip, fingerling potatoes, grilled caulilini, topped off with a pickled grape piquillo relish and Pot De Creme - Chocolate/coffee cream layered, vanilla custard, fresh whipped cream, housemade biscotti.
Downriver Grill - Northside
Crispy Pork Belly - house kimchi, citrus maple glaze, apple relish, Grilled King Salmon - cilantro-lime rice, yellow curry, fresh mango salsa, microgreens, and House Beignets - dusted in confectioner’s sugar and served with bourbon caramel and seasonal jam.
Durkin’s Liquor Bar - Downtown
Moroccan Glazed Lamb Skewers - Marinated and sous vide lamb, flame-grilled with bell peppers, red onions, and baby carrots. Finished in the oven with a flavorful Moroccan glaze, Confit Duck Cassoulet - Savory braised white beans, tender veggies, shredded duck confit, Andouille sausage, house bacon, breadcrumbs and Blood Orange Panna Cotta Traditional Italian cooked cream, flavored with blood orange, topped with delicate almond Tuile, and cocoa nib crunch.
Eyvind - Downtown - Chefs Chong Vang and Jonathan Seaman Cwik
Blue Cheese Mousse - cacao, frisée, honey, preserved tomato, hazelnut, potato crisp, Chicken Thigh Roulade - harissa, potato parsnip mash, baby arugula and Grapefruit Sorbet - pink peppercorn, coconut cream, toasted coconut.
Hunt - Downtown - Chefs Chong Vang and Jonathan Seaman Cwik
Duck Liver Mousse - pickled mustard seeds, chervil, sweet preserved grapes, Turkey Tostada - sweet potato, charred Brussels, burnt rosemary thyme butterscotch/gravy, and Toasted marshmallow graham cracker ice cream, cocoa.
Italia Trattoria - Browne’s Addition - James Beard Award Nominated Chef Anna Vogel
Crispy Chickpea Crepe - Roasted cauliflower olive tapenade, red pepper coulis, and herb oil, Pan Seared Sole - Creamy gruyere potato, bay shrimp and sweet pepper bisque sauce, baby carrots, and frisee, and Italia Tiramisu - Italian trifle, mascarpone, lady fingers, espresso.
The Idaho Panhandle is filled to the brim with some awesome dining spots, and Restaurant Week has its share of great picks.
TOP PICK - Vine and Olive - Riverstone - Chef Josh Pebbles
Hamachi Crudo - blood orange, pickled fennel, onion micro greens, citrus chile vinaigrette, Braised New Zealand Lamb Shank - potato puree, roasted root vegetables, demi glace, and Apricot Meringue Tart - apricot compote, apricot infused meringue.
Beverly’s - Coeur d’Alene - Chef Jim Barrett
House Cured Salmon Pastrami - British Columbia king salmon, celery root tater tots, horseradish applesauce, crispy capers, Crispy Duck Leg Confit - Braised Maple Leaf Farms Duck, Idaho black lentil ragout, roasted root vegetables, medjool date jus, and Warm Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake - With cardamom vanilla bean ice cream.
Satay Bistro - Coeur d'Alene
Blue Cheese Wedge - Roasted hazelnuts, smoked bacon, dill blue cheese dressing, Blackened Salmon & Fennel Encrusted Sea Scallops - Roasted red pepper cream, corn lima bean succotash, smoked gouda garlic whipped potatoes, and Injected Dipped Berry & Chocolate Mousse Cup - Chambord, white and dark chocolate berry, raspberry port sauce.
The Bluebird - Midtown
Chicken Liver Pâté - With sour cherries, baguette, pickled red onions, mustard, Salmon - Roasted salmon with white beans, carrots, onions, celery and wilted romaine lettuce, topped with green onion and mint pesto, and Cheesecake - Could be fruity. Could be chocolatey. Definitely cheesy.
Current Kitchen - Post Falls - Chef Molly Patrick
Deep-Fried Biscuits and Gravy - deep-fried biscuit dough filled with country gravy/ blood orange jam, Bone-in Bacon - mac & cheese casserole/ braised greens and Sweet Corn Ice Cream - chicken cracklin/ maple/ butter caramel.
Fleur de Sel - Post Falls - James Beard Award Nominated Chef Laurent Zirotti
French Onion Soup Gratinée - My mom’s recipe of onion soup, a little sweeter than usual and topped with raclette cheese tartine, Pork Cheeks à la Bourguignonne - Braised Duroc pork cheeks in a rich red wine sauce served with baked polenta, glazed Brussels sprouts and rillons de Loire bacon and Sorbet and Cookies - Housemade lemon sorbet served with a couple of coconut Parisian macarons filled with pineapple curd.
Honey Eatery and Social Club - Downtown Coeur d’Alene
Shrimp Hush Puppies - Crispy shrimp hush puppies with caramelized onion aioli, sweet pickled chiles and freeze dried corn, PNW Cassoulet - Chicken confit, white bean and pork ragout, Andouille étouffée, crispy lentils and duck fat biscuit crumble and Winter Citrus Tart - Citrus tart, blood orange creme anglaise, candied orange chips and citrus supremes.
Oval Office - Post Falls
Calamari - Crispy, delicious and served with lemon aioli, Grilled Halibut - Grilled and served with jalapeño-lime butter sauce, and Heidini Martini - Put the lime in the coconut… and have fun!
White House Grill - Post Falls
Greek Salad - with lamb meatballs, Isabella - sautéed chicken, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and garlic tossed with cheese filled tortellini and pesto sauce and Baklava - housemade, flakey, buttery and delicious!
Republic Kitchen and Taphouse - Post Falls
Biergarten Beef Rib Skewers - Marinated beef steak skewers served with parsley emulsion, red pepper sauce and pickled onion, Pulled Pork Sliders - Slow-cooked and shredded pork with plum bbq sauce, crispy fried jalapenos, shaved onions and garlic aioli, and Pumpkin Donuts -Spiced sweet cream and cider caramel sauce.