Brix -- There's a sophisticated new kid on the block on Coeur d'Alene's Sherman Avenue. Brix's interior has a warm cosmopolitan appearance with rich fabric and leather upholstery. Nooks in the walls showcase local glass art and original paintings. The baked ricotta with shaved prosciutto and balsamic figs appetizer ($8.25) got better and better with each bite and the house bread was a real treat. The crispy roast duck with butternut squash, roast pears and porcini jus ($24.50) was indeed crispy on the outside as promised, with a moist and flavorful interior. Service, however, was inconsistent, and the desert menu could use some improvement. 317 Sherman Ave. Call: (208) 665-7407. (LM)
Thrifty Scotsman -- Man, saving coin never tasted so good. The Thrifty Scotsman gets most everything exactly right in terms of quality, price and friendly service. And that includes big, juicy burgers. The $2.59 Super Bacon is essentially a bacon double cheeseburger with the works (mayo, lettuce, tomato) spread out over the expanse of a six-inch Poor Boy bun. It's definitely a two-fister. And delicious as well. The $5.49 double fish and fries contains eight crispy and tender fish portions stacked on a bed of big, fresh, hand-cut fries. The drive-in's new smoke-free dining environment is a much-appreciated addition. 12024 E. Sprague. Call: 927-2214. (MC)
Lindaman's -- Perched at the top of Grand Blvd., Lindaman's offers sophisticated-but-comforting caf & eacute; fare. A glass display case contains all the salads, entrees and desserts. Salads and pasta dishes are sold by the pound and vary in price. Lindaman's specialties are the casseroles like the King Ranch Chicken and the chicken and spinach enchilada ($4.95) which was a spicy and flavorful little number. The stuffed roasted pork tenderloin ($12) filled with a medley of dried cranberries, onions, mushrooms and apples, had a pleasant flavor, though the meat suffered a bit from the re-heating. Deserts here are terrific. 1235 S. Grand Blvd. Call: 838-3000. (LM)
Chapala #1 -- Though it appears tiny from the street, Chapala is cavernous and comfortable inside. The lunch menu features 28 different authentic Mexican selections ranging from tacos, enchiladas and burritos to more interesting fare like the $6.50 Mole de Pollo. The $7.25 Chapala Burrito comes with your choice of meat, beans, cheese, lettuce and mild salsa, wrapped in a flour tortilla smothered with red sauce, and dusted with melted cheese. It's fresh, zesty and nicely presented with a side of rice and beans, topped with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream and garnished with a tomato wedge. The complimentary chips and salsa appetizer included two kinds of salsa and a basket of warm chips. The service was also very good. 2620 E. 29th Ave. Call: 534-7388. (MC)
The Palm Court at the Davenport Hotel -- The Davenport's Palm Court offers fresh, inventive cuisine in a quietly elegant setting. The pan-seared lump crab cakes ($14) -- crab mixed with a bit of onion and red pepper served and sides of sweet pineapple chili sauce and green curry sauce -- is an irresistible starter. The macadamia-crusted salmon ($22) on a bed of Udon noodles, nestled under a tower of slivered red and green cabbage and some crispy bean thread noodles and surrounded by lots of roasted pineapple broth, was nicely prepared, although the taste of the thin macadamia nut coating was hard to distinguish. For dessert, the chocolate mousse wonton ($7) was fresh and cheery: triangles of fried wonton stacked with layers of chocolate mousse, drizzled with chocolate and cream sauces and topped with big juicy fresh blackberries and raspberries. The restaurant's extensive wine catalog offers more than 350 options. 10 S. Post St. Call: 789-6848. (LM)
Arny's -- Arny's serves up classic diner chow along with conversation and a big helping of attitude. Grab a counter-side stool and get busy. It's breakfasts and lunches only, and all your faves are here. The Double Whammy is $6.19. The Stromboli with ham, provolone and homemade meat sauce on a French roll is $4.29. The colossal Bomber Omelet with six eggs, onions, green peppers, ham, stromboli sauce and cheese with 'browns and toast is $8.19. The Philly Steak sandwich ($6.49) with fries comes on a French roll and is bursting with more tender, savory beef strips, diced green pepper and onion than it can possibly contain. It's one helluva tasty sandwich. Be sure to try one of Arny's real ice cream shakes or malts. 1229 N. Hamilton. Call: 487-9588. (MC)
Caf & eacute; 5-Ten -- Caf & eacute; 5-Ten is an appealing bistro with an interesting menu, offering intriguing items in nearly every price range and located in a surprisingly pleasant space in the lower level of the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center. The appetizer of grilled thinly sliced lamb ($9) served with grilled flat bread and a unique hummus was one of the most satisfying I've had recently. The six-ounce culot sirloin steak ($14), which was grilled and served with gruyere potato gratin and seasonal vegetables was perfectly cooked and tender as butter, with a nice reduction sauce for added interest. The potato gratin was a treat, with abundant creamy cheese layered with tender potatoes and topped with a crunchy crust of bread crumbs. The pot de creme was luscious, with the smooth, cool chocolate creating the perfect finale to our meal. Service throughout the evening was top-notch and every effort was made to keep us comfortable and happy. 2727 Mt. Vernon. Call: 533-0064. (LM)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.