The spot where you'll find new Coeur d'Alene restaurant the Fork used to be a place called Lemongrass, which served Vietnamese and pan-Asian cuisine. Before Lemongrass, the lakeside locale was Takara's Japanese restaurant.
While you could bring your own chopsticks, a fork is more appropriate for the salads, sandwiches and entrées served up by this joint effort from chef Will Scott and his ex-wife Monica. The Fork offers an eclectic array of ethnic dishes — Cajun, Greek, Italian, Asian — whose common core lies in fresh, seasonal ingredients and fine-dining detail. For example, appetizers include curried crab dip with artichoke and grilled Asiago bread ($8) and spicy tuna sashimi with sticky rice and a soy reduction ($10).
The shrimp salad includes spinach, mandarin orange and blackened prawns ($7/$10), while the deconstructed seafood Cobb is a twist on an old classic: chilled scallops, smoked salmon, seared ahi and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ($11/$14).
On the sunny day we visited — warm enough that floor-to-ceiling slider windows were open to a pleasant breeze — my dining companions were lured by sandwiches. The chicken Brie club with arugula and chipotle mayo is served on house-baked focaccia ($10), while the Black & Blue OX pairs American Kobe beef with Gorgonzola, peppered bacon, fried onions and mushrooms on a housemade potato bun ($12). My gumbo with spicy andouille sausage included a cute little crawfish atop a pillow of fragrant rice ($6/$8).
Dinner is where Scott — formerly of Hay J's Bistro and the Oval Office — really shines, with nearly a dozen entrées ranging from herb-encrusted lamb and ratatouille ($28) to grilled yellowtail snapper, prawns and scallops ($24) and a hand-cut 12-ounce rib eye with grilled asparagus ($26).
Desserts are made fresh daily and frequent specials include the "soup of the moment." With a reasonable wine and beer list, live music Wednesday and Thursday evenings and a primo downtown location, the Fork has a good handle on what it takes to draw people in. ♦
The Fork • 309 E. Lakeside Ave., Coeur D'Alene • Open Mon, 4:30-9 pm; Tue-Thu, 11 am-3 pm and 4:30-9 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-3 pm and 4:30-10 pm • facebook.com/forklakeside • (208) 292-4392