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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & THE WINE CELLAR & r & & r & Under new ownership, the restaurant has added summertime sidewalk dining with a Spanish flair; downstairs, the menu emphasizes Italy with pan-European accents, including paella. The three-course Italia menu includes a first course of pasta (linguine with a red or garlic sauce or gnocchi), an entr & eacute;e, and choice of salad, apple slices and cheese, or dessert -- your choice from the tray overladen with in-house delights, including Italian spice cake with coconut and cream topping, cr & egrave;me brul & eacute;e, two kinds of cheesecake and the decadent cocoa cake. The availability of great wines by the glass for $6 to $10, or even smaller bottles (375 ml) for less than $20, means a good meal at a very affordable price. (CS)


Enter a bubble of civility at the Melting Pot, where it's all about the experience. All your food is cooked in a cute little pot situated on a cooktop built right into the table. If you only go to the Melting Pot for one course, make sure it's the cheese fondue, mixed tableside by the wait staff and served with crisp tart apple slices, bread cubes and mini carrots. It's hard to resist anything smothered in cheese, and we cleaned out that little pot, using bread to wipe clean the interior. For dessert, chocolate fondue can be straight-up white, chocolate or dark, or combos like milk chocolate with a swirl of crunchy peanut butter. It's hard to argue with the sheer fun of cooking up food at a cozy table for two and the pleasure of lingering over a lovely dinner. 707 W. Main Ave. (Crescent Building, Second Floor, Skywalk Level), 926-8000. (LM)


Family-style is the way to go at this Asian haven behind the red-barn fa & ccedil;ade. We began with pan-fried wontons, small stuffed dumplings, lightly browned and served with a small cabbage-carrot salad and a deliciously piquant sauce that balanced a vinegary bite with sesame oil, garlic and green onions. The surprise hit of the night was the vegetables with fried tofu -- big chunky triangles of deep-fried tofu teamed with vibrant stir-fried carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and thin slices of garlic in a brown sauce that was rich in flavor but not overwhelming, letting the vegetables shine. The contrasting textures and blended flavors of the Garden lo mein are a delight. Service was friendly and briskly efficient. Ching Hua Garden is a good source for well-executed Chinese favorites (with no MSG). 18203 E. Appleway Ave., Greenacres, 926-8422 (AC)


Coeur d'Alene's hot spot for tapas has selections reminiscent of Barcelona: vegetables, like saut & eacute;ed mushrooms; seafood, such as grilled prawns; and meat, including beef tenderloin. Anthony's tapas are elegantly arranged on a bed of mild chili-citrus rice. Our coconut prawns ($10) were plump, lightly fried and accompanied by a vinegary-tart minted, fire-onion relish. The pan-fried oysters ($6) were topped with crispy pancetta for a hint of smoke and pepper; the seared salmon steak ($8) was melt-in-your-mouth fresh but the jalape & ntilde;o guacamole topping was overpowering. The lamb chops ($3) alone were worth the trip: coated in stone-ground mustard and crushed pistachio and cooked medium-rare, these chops -- the chef calls them "Lambsicles" -- are succulent. For dessert, try the cr & egrave;me brul & eacute;e trio (vanilla, creamy chocolate, and raspberry), served in individual espresso cups ($6). The menu changes seasonally, so Anthony's is a place that always offers more. 315 E. Walnut Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 765-7723 (CS)


The interior at Maggie's is bright and sunny, with rough-hewn sunflower-yellow walls and stained-glass upper windows. Brunch is a weekend treat. The crab benedict ($11) is a highlight -- two poached eggs perched on top of crab cakes, with the requisite English muffin underneath and a light topping of hollandaise. Each crab cake is generous and distinctly crabby, with a light crunchy crust yet moist and savory inside with colorful flecks of minced celery, peppers and onions. The pumpkin pancakes ($5.75), a stack of four fluffy cakes at least six inches across, entice with the aroma of pumpkin pie; they were thick but light, with subtle flavors of pumpkin and spice. The menu offers standard breakfast fare as well, like a three-egg omelet and a country scramble ($8.25 each). For lighter appetites, there's the yogurt-granola parfait, layered with fruit in a pint glass ($4.50), along with kids' breakfast choices for only $4. Maggie's is the kind of place where you don't have to dress up to go out and get a weekend breakfast that's comfortable and familiar but just different enough to be special. 2808 E. 29th Ave., 536-4745 (AC)

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