Top 10 Inlander Restaurant Week Recommendations
By, Erin Peterson
Have you ever participated in Inlander's Restaurant Week? Every year, the Inland Northwest braces for the biggest city-wide food festival held in individual restaurants for patrons to discover new hotspots as well as get a fun taste of familiar favorites in the highly-anticipated Restaurant Week guide. It's jam-packed with menus, and reading them is quite the art form. I happen to be fluent in menu, and would love to give you a rundown of my list for the best spots to check out to get some bang for your buck. You need help drilling down that long list to the very best options? I got you, fam. Go ahead. Order like a foodie.
Also of note - use the hashtag #IRWRaveReviews! When you post using #IRWRaveReviews on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, Sysco will donate five meals to Second Harvest. So tell us about your favorite first course, or a delicious Restaurant Week dessert, and raise money for Second Harvest, the region's leading hunger-relief network. Don't forget to change your post's privacy settings, though, or they won't be able to count yours, and let's face it, that would be really sad to miss out on 5 meals for families in need. While you're at it, post #spokanefood (Spokane's best food hashtag!) for the chance to be featured on our feed, too.
1. Central Food
This massively underrated treasure with a fresh global sensibility by David Blaine has one of the best locally sourced menus in town every day of the week, but for Restaurant Week specifically, this one is a total winner. This time they are offering two menu options, a $31 three course meal and a $21 three course vegetarian selection. I'm planning on the $31 option, and this is what I'm ordering:
Avocado Tartine Whipped feta, avocado, bacon jam on our country bread.
Pan-Seared Idaho Trout Rice flour seared boneless filet, Vietnamese garlic sauce, raw vegetable salad, ginger sauce, cilantro
Tarte Tatin French apple tart with cream cheese pastry, molasses ice cream
If I were to go vegetarian for this one, I'd get:
Brussels Sprouts Raw chocolate spiced, honey soy glaze, walnuts
Pumpkin Pasta Brown butter sage, bucatini, roasted winter squash, Brussels sprouts, grilled red onions, garlic
Rhubarb Sorbet Just rhubarb, orange, sugar and water
2. Fleur De Sel
Located in Post Falls, Idaho has one of the best chefs in our area, Laurent Zirotti, crafting beautifully executed French dishes to make you wonder if you are even in the Northwest. The restaurant is not just known for its exceptional food, but also for its proximity to a great local spa - The Highlands Day Spa. Play hooky and get a spa treatment before dinner for a full-on treat yo-self moment. You won't catch me judging.
Here, I'd order:
Smoked Beef Carpaccio Thin sliced of house smoked beef shoulder tender cooked sous vide rare – red cabbage and goat cheese salad with roasted shishito peppers GF
Pork cheeks ‘à la Bourguignonne’ Braised in a red wine sauce – Yukon gold cake – bacon jam and glazed Brussels sprouts GF
Brush Creek Blue Cheese A sliver of Brush Creek blue cheese from Deary, Idaho – local apple compote – house brioche (Seriously - what could be more French than a delectable cheese course?!)
While we're traveling the world for a hot second, I'd go to Italy next in the form of Italia Trattoria. The women who own and operate this cozy yet gorgeous Browne's Addition eatery are the ultimate professionals, and you'll get some of the very best service and food in the city. Plus, they have one of the best tiramisus I've ever been lucky enough to consume. Gleefully. My order:
Prosciutto Bruschetta Robiola fonduta, pickled onions, arugula and peppers
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Parmesan potato fondant, pancetta Castelvetrano olive piccata sauce, grilled garlic broccoli
Italia Tiramisu Italian trifle, mascarpone, lady fingers, espresso
4. Wild Sage
For some gorgeously prepared Northwest-centric dishes with a unique flair, Wild Sage is a best-bet for some great food. Their bar program is exceptional as well, and I highly recommend the red pepper martini. Sounds weird, but changed my life a little. Ask the bartender. They'll know. This one inspired me to pick a light and lovely dinner that would be perfect as a respite from the otherwise heavy offerings I've selected so far. Apparently for February I'll never leave my treadmill. My picks here:
Wild Sage Salad Organic lettuce bouquet, huckleberry-balsamic vinaigrette, fresh goat cheese crumbles, toasted hazelnuts GF
Columbia River Steelhead Cedar roasted, sweet onion soubise, Meyer lemon glaze, tomato-caper relish, ancient grains pilaf GF * Add warm buttered dungeness crab $10
Goat Cheese Ice Cream Cajeta caramel, spiced Bartlett pear compote, biscotti GF
Seriously, for the love of all things, GO TO SANTE. Not only are they closing in March, but they are truly one of Spokane's very best restaurants. It's literally breaking our heart that they are reopening (though under the same ownership - yay!) to change their theme, and will soon be called "Smoke and Mirrors". This menu looks like a preview to their new restaurant concept, but I'd strongly encourage you to order the Foie Gras and the gnocchi off the regular menu if you're down for some food adventuring, but I'd suggest these for Restaurant Week:
Salmon Rillettes and Toast Capers and dill
Pork Riblets, Dry Rub and Smoke BBQ sauce
6. Satay Bistro
This funky little building that has historic significance is located in Coeur d' Alene off of 4th street, and you'll be shocked you've never been in before. Their food is freaky delicious and the ambiance is pretty rad, too.
Ahi Tuna Wontons Ponsu infused ahi, wasabi whip, napa cabbage slaw
Mango Cocoon Tiger Prawns Phyllo, mango garlic, roasted corn risotto, caramelized almond carrots
Crème Brûlée French Toast Vanilla bean ice cream, praline caramel sauce
7. Latah Bistro
Oh my gosh, you guys - this place is super tucked-away, but well worth a little drive. First of all, it's got brand new ownership and they're really passionate about their food. Secondly, this menu is really well thought out. I'm stoked to try this old favorite again. Plus, who doesn't want to say "Osso Bucco" like Giada De Laurentis? Try these:
Italian Style Grilled Octopus Braised cannellini bean pistou, peppalilly relish GF
Pork Osso Bucco Yukon potato puree, braised red chard, garlic-cherry chutney, red wine braise GF
Cinnamon Cider Donuts Fried cider brioche, cinnamon sugar, chantilly whipped cream V
This is another one where if you haven't been yet, I'll want to shame you a little. It's a favorite of local chefs and foodies alike, and known for its really creative, comforting and adventurous menu options. Their RW menu didn't disappoint, and you won't want to miss them:
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad Brussels, crisp apples, creamy apple cider vinaigrette, toasted walnuts V
Rabbit and Dumplings (Do not be afraid of this - it tastes like chicken) Braised pulled rabbit, dijon dumplings, carrots and celery root, savory rabbit consommé
Bananas Foster Churro Banana churro, Sweet Peaks Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream, warm whiskey caramel sauce V
9. Cork House
In Liberty Lake, this sweet, homey spot is what you wish your mom cooked like if she were a trained chef. They have an eclectic menu, and is largely undiscovered by the local foodie population. Get there before they do.
Dungeness Crab Cakes Two Dungeness crab cakes topped with a spicy aioli and served on a bed of fresh greens
Walnut Curry Salmon Wild, sockeye salmon fillet crusted with green curry and walnuts. Served with cauliflower puree and seasonal vegetable medley. Topped with a cucumber beurre blanc
Key Lime Pie Southern style, house-made key lime pie in a graham cracker crust V
10. Vine and Olive
In Coeur d' Alene, chef Paul Mason works his magic (formerly of some really notable restaurants in Chicago!) every single day to make diners truly satiated with creative takes on old favorites. The techniques he uses are highly skilled, and it shows in every dish. My picks:
Red Crab and Apple Tartine Tarragon, watercress
Roasted Root Vegetable Flatbread Fromage blanc, dill
Taleggio Tart Candied orange V
Ok, so I know I said top 10, but I really REALLY want you to go to just one more. Forgive me!
11. Midtown Bluebird
This one is located in Midtown in Coeur d' Alene off of 4th street, and they have a level two sommelier to help you pair a really great wine with your meal. Be sure to ask for Krista!
Scallop of the Day Ask server for today’s preparation. (The suspense is killing me!)
Chilean Sea Bass Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and tomato ratatouille (This dish once got featured in a national food magazine!)
Carrot Cake Cream Cheese frosting, toasted coconut, toasted pecans and pineapple sauce.
Ok, that's all for now. If you head to any of these fantastic spots, please tell them the Guild sent you, and they'll treat you extra special. Don't forget to tip your waiters and be patient - they are going to be really exhausted from all of you fine people populating their neighborhood joints. We hope you have a foodie adventure for the ages, and hope to hear about it with #spokanefood as well as #irwravereviews!