China Dragon - The d & eacute;cor at China Dragon, just north of NorthTown Mall, is intimate, although in a somewhat disconcerting way, giving it that "well-off great aunt" feel. But the open kitchen and a down-to-earth waitstaff kept the emphasis on the food. China Dragon wins the award for the best Egg Flower Soup we found in town ($1.75 for a cup, $8.50 for a bowl). Thick, with plenty of fresh peas and large clumps of egg, the soup distinguishes itself by featuring fresh lettuce. The tofu in the Szechwan Bean Curd ($9.70) was meltingly soft, with a pronounced chile flavor. Much more successful was the enormous bowl of Hot Spicy Beef Noodles ($9.50). Redolent of garlic and swimming with chunks of beef and tomatoes, the aromas alone could have satisfied our appetite. Fortunately, the toothsome noodles and the rich broth lived up to expectations and delivered a perfect kick. 27 E. Queen. Call: 483-5209. (Marty Demarest)
The Shack - The Shack is an early 1960's time warp (resplendent in knotty pine and pink neon), but its history stretches all the way back to the '20s. While the prices have changed over the years, the great, friendly service, big portions and extensive menu (featuring simple, old-fashioned favorites) has not. Here you can get it all -- breakfasts, burgers, liver and onions and more. Lots more. The $7.49 Shack Breakfast Special (nicknamed "The Awesome Two's"), comes with two eggs, two pancakes, two bacon strips and two sausage links. Delicious -- and guaranteed to stick with you well past lunch. The hash browns in the $6.99 two egg-sausage-browns-toast combo were simply outstanding. 1301 W. Third. Call: 747-2713. (Sheri Boggs)
Ron's Drive-In - Though it has a spacious dining area and drive-thru window, Ron's remains a classic walk-up at heart. And for almost 40 years, it's been the destination in the Valley for inexpensive, quality drive-in food. The broasted half-chicken ($4.89), perched on a mountain of shoestring fries, was very good. The crispy skin crumbled away to reveal moist, tender meat inside. The Classic burger with bacon for $2.65 (1/4-pound meat patty with bacon, cheese, ketchup, onion, mustard, pickle, lettuce and tomato) was a neatly packed and satisfying fist-sized meal. The "Seafood Delite" (shrimp, fish, fries and onion rings for $5.74) was a deep-fried feast. All the components were flavorful and light on grease. And Ron's fish is easily some of the very best in Spokane. 12502 E. Sprague. Call: 924-4660. (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.