Pin It
Favorite

Much-Needed Spice 

Rokko's Teriyaki & BBQ livens up downtown Cheney

click to enlarge ERIC TRA
  • Eric Tra

Arriving at Rokko’s Teriyaki & BBQ feels like unexpectedly stumbling onto an urban street corner.

Untreated wood, exposed brick, open ceilings, outdoor furniture and red walls scrawled with graffiti set the scene. Reggae blared from above on our visit, and the flat-screen played only soccer. Surprisingly, the restaurant is set in quiet downtown Cheney.

“I absolutely love it here. The people, the community and the lifestyle,” gushes David Hall, the owner. Hall hails from Seattle, but he and his wife, Inez, couldn’t believe the lack of dining in options in Cheney while they were in town helping their daughter settle in as an Eastern student.

“We just wanted something good. Something authentic,” says Hall.

Fast-forward to the opening of Rokko’s in late February, the result of the Halls’ hard work and knowledge of the cuisine, which comes in part from the rich Japanese heritage found in Inez’s family. More than half of the patrons (college students and city council members alike) are greeted excitedly by name as they order at the counter. Generous portions of Japanese comfort food are then cooked to order in the open kitchen and served in to-go boxes like authentic street food.

The signature sauces have been in Inez’s family for years. Each dish is served over rice with a side of wasabi macaroni and greens drizzled in a homemade poppy seed dressing. My guest and I can’t stop yammering about the perfectly seared and seasoned spicy barbecue meatballs ($5.25) made with all beef and panko, or the incredibly satisfying loco moco ($7), a Polynesian favorite that covers an over-easy egg, beef patty and rice in a tangy brown gravy. The only thing missing is cold Japanese beer, which Hall says is on the horizon.

Spot-on flavors and staggeringly low prices aside, we both marvel at the quality of the meat, which we learn comes from Sonnenberg’s, Spokane’s oldest meat market. All other ingredients are also purchased with the same local sensibility. The spicy beef teriyaki ($6.75) is perfectly tender, and the chicken yakisoba ($6) uses only breast meat and is surprisingly light. We never once reach for the bottle of sriracha sauce, typically an unconscious Asian food ritual for both of us. The flavors don’t require meddling.

Shuffling out of Rokko’s with two bags of leftovers, we agree: This establishment might just change the vibe of Downtown Cheney. We hope we’re right.

Rokko’s Teriyaki & BBQ • 506 First St. Cheney, Wash. • Mon-Fri noon-3 pm, 5-9 pm; Sat 4-9 pm • 359-8010

  • Pin It

Speaking of Food

Latest in Food & Drink

  • When One Door Closes
  • When One Door Closes

    Chef Adam Hegsted has closed the Cellar, but has other irons in the fire
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Topping Out
  • Topping Out

    Schweitzer Mountain Resort takes fine dining to the mountaintop
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • A Big Move
  • A Big Move

    Badass Backyard Brewing is now pouring in Spokane Valley
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Real and Implied

Real and Implied @ Prichard Art Gallery

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through Jan. 28

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Krista Yep

Most Commented On

Top Tags in
Culture & Food

Food


for your consideration


last word


Culture


Beer


Readers also liked…

  • Games and Grub
  • Games and Grub

    A new, board-game-themed café offers all-ages fun, snacks and a place to recruit extra players for any game
    • Jun 10, 2015
  • Another Option
  • Another Option

    Caruso's expands its reach to Spokane with a new location
    • Jun 17, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation