Metro Caf & eacute; -- The Metro has been serving lunch-hungry downtowners, cafeteria-style, at this location for 19 years. The colorful menu boards change daily and feature sandwiches, casseroles, salads and something called the Daily Fresh Carve, a different roasted hunk of meat (turkey breast, meatloaf, ham, pork and roast beef) each day that is sliced and served hot and fresh. Soups are $2.25-$3 and salads are $3.50-$4.25 (for a regular). There are also beverages up the wazoo, including bottled beer. The Carve and Salad special ($5.35) came as a generous and delicious 1/3-pound pile of freshly sliced roast pork along with a choice of salad -- in this case, the spinach -- and a roll. The outstanding spinach salad (with bacon bits, mushrooms, mozzarella and zesty sweet and sour dressing) was complex in both taste and texture. 510 W. Riverside, Skywalk level. Call 747-8250. (MC)
The Old Spaghetti Factory -- The Factory has been serving up steaming plates of pasta for 34 years to everyone -- older couples, teenagers dressed up for formal dances, families, and entire teams in matching jerseys. Entrees include the freshly baked bread, soup or salad, vanilla or spumoni ice cream, and coffee or tea. The most expensive thing on the menu is $9.95. The minestrone soup is zesty and filled with legumes, pasta and crisp celery. The Baked Chicken Greek-Style ($9.50) had a nice lemony flavor accented by just the right amount of potentially overpowering oregano. But this place is really built around spaghetti. There are five "treatments" -- meat sauce, white clam sauce, tomato sauce, mushroom sauce and browned butter and mizithra cheese ($6.50 to $7.95). Try two or three sauces for $8.25, or add meatballs or sausage to spaghetti and meat sauce for $8.50. Call 624-8916. (LM)
Northern Lights -- The Northern Lights brewpub's d & eacute;cor is spacious, inviting and enhanced by low lighting, rich greens and burgundies and recycled bowling alley butcher-block tables. The menu offers traditional pub grub with a sophisticated spin and some of the cleanest-tasting microbrewed beer in the Northwest brewed right on-site. Our server was very pleasant and attentive throughout our meal and was happy to describe each lunch special to us before we ordered. The Andouille sausage and mushroom fettuccini ($9.95) was excellent and festive with lean, flavorful sausage slices in a creamy sauce that was rich but not overdone, while the Hellfire Burger ($7.95) featured a full 1/3-pound lean Angus beef patty with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, fresh red onions, tomato and lettuce on an onion bun. It was substantial and very, very spicy. 1003 E. Trent Ave. Call 242-2739. (MC)
Twigs Bistro -- Twigs offers food and atmosphere that manages to transcend commonly held food court dining conceptions. The lunch menu of the day offers an array of intriguing and competitively priced choices, including sandwiches and wraps ($5-$6), soups, salads, topped baked potatoes, combos and a section called "hot off the grill" where you choose among seven options (battered fish, cheeseburger deluxe, crispy chicken sandwich, ham and Swiss melt, etc.) and get fries and a 16 oz. soda in the deal for $5.95. The Chicken Caesar Wrap with chips ($5.50) was a winning mixture of tender chicken, romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts with tangy Caesar dressing in a basil flour tortilla. Delicious and surprisingly filling -- and worth the 20-minute wait we experienced. 808 W. Main Ave. in Riverpark Square. Call 232-3376. (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM), Mike Corrigan (MC) or Marty Demarest (MD), unless otherwise noted.
Publication date: 04/15/04