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Fresh and Tasty 

by Susan Hamilton and Suzanne Schreiner & r & Asian Chic RESTAURANTS & r & "Be transported into the cool, chic and comfortable world of Bluefish," states the press release that the restaurant's director and partner Eric Nagano hands me as I enter the newly opened establishment. Yes, the d & eacute;cor (designed by chef and owner Ian Wingate, who also owns Moxie a few doors down the street) is decidedly cool and chic. The stainless steel entry doors sport portholes, two huge aquariums brim with tropical fish (yes, some are blue), and large floral arrangements seem to float above the original brick walls under a blue ceiling highlighted with neon. Bamboo floors and wainscoting add to the Asian ambience, accented with jet-black chairs and seating. The bar area shines with brushed stainless steel and a copper eight-foot-tall water wall.

Bluefish features fusion specialty sushi creations, satay and martinis. The small-plate offerings include seared scallops in plum wine reduction with cucumber salad and chopped peanuts or tempura tuna with truffle ponzu sauce. Wingate rolls his own sushi from "contemporary ingredients fused with modern techniques," he says. The sideways roll features salmon, pinot-noir reduction and marinated Portobello mushroom. For a bit of spice, try the pink Cadillac hand roll with Ahi poke, spicy chili mayo, watercress and avocado wrapped in pink manenori and drizzled with sweet chili vinaigrette.

"Large platters are designed for four people to share in the Pacific-Asian tradition," Wingate explains. The Ahi Lua sampler features Ahi poke, sesame Ahi and Ahi tempura. His Mahi Mahi tacos include Asian slaw, tomatoes, wasabi cr & egrave;me fraiche and sweet chili sauce, served with coconut jasmine rice.

"Our satay is done in the Indonesian tradition of skewered meat, seafood or vegetables that are quick-grilled," Wingate says. Of the many satay offerings for one or two diners, Bluefish offers a lemongrass Yaki chicken or filet tenderloin as well as Portobello mushroom or Small Planet tofu.

Large plates include a Kobe beef burger with grilled pineapple and sweet onion, Swiss cheese and sweet chili glaze, or a ginger-orange braised short rib with jasmine rice.

"This is a reflection of my Hawaiian background," Wingate says of Bluefish. "People come here and they think they're not in Spokane." -- SUSAN HAMILTON

Bluefish, 830 W. Sprague, is open Tues-Sat from 4 pm to late night. Call 747-2111.

Art Apertif SPECIAL EVENT & r & For a night on the town, there's nothing wrong with the tried-and-true dinner and a movie, but nobody wants a steady diet of it. Just for a change, how about dinner and... a blown-glass ornament? Erlendson Art Glass in Coeur d'Alene is offering just such an opportunity, with you as the glass blower, complete with a catered pork roast dinner, beer, wine and music.

After dinner, apprentice glass blowers will file into the hot shop, pick their colors and patterns, and, coached by owner Spencer Erlendson, learn how to channel all that hot air into a long metal blowpipe. Erlendson takes it from there, doing the hot work of shaping the glass in the furnace. The next day -- presto! -- your ornament is ready to brighten the holiday tree. If you realize you've found your true vocation, Erlendson also offers longer one-day or two-day workshops.

So here's your chance to turn molten sand into a thing of beauty and get in touch with your inner blowhard. And in this case, that's a good thing. -- SUZANNE SCHREINER

Dinner and Hot Glass is on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 pm at Erlendson Art Glass, 116 Lakeside Avenue, Coeur d'Alene. Must be 21. Cost: $55. Must preregister by Nov. 13. Call (208) 667-0641.

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