Solstice - Although the entree menu at Solstice (the former Moxie in Liberty Lake) contains only seven items, they are a diverse group. The pan-seared yellow-fin tuna with wasabi aioli and black bean essence ($18) was beautifully prepared and went nicely with the understated soy rice and vegetables. Tasting and mixing the sauces swirled around the circumference of the plate added to the fun. The house-smoked baby back ribs ($21) with Uncle Monty's famous barbecue sauce is a menu staple. Separated into singles and stacked with the center space occupied by cornbread, upright spears of asparagus and thin baby carrots with the tops on, the ribs proved to be tender and loaded with flavor. Service was delightful. 1332 N. Liberty Lake Rd. Call: 892-5901. (LM)
Dalcado's - Dalcado's specializes in burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads, all made fresh to order with high-quality ingredients, featuring lean meats and a variety of salsas made daily -- all for a price that rivals fast food fare. The d & eacute;cor is cheery, and there's a great salsa bar, too. The Dalcado Burrito ($5.49) is a very substantial and well-balanced flour tortilla bundle containing either grilled steak or grilled chicken, two kinds of cheese, guacamole, Mexican rice, pinto beans, salsa fresca and sour cream. The steak was very tender and had a nice grilled flavor. The Fish Burrito ($5.39) with beer-battered white fish was wrapped up with shredded cabbage, salsa, cheese and white sauce that infused the mixture with a nice zip. 9327 N. Newport Highway. Call: 466-3346. (MC)
The Olive Garden - The Olive Garden provides food that is well above average for a chain restaurant. The San Remo seafood dip appetizer ($7), a blend of crab, shrimp and cheese with a small amount of chunky tomato marinara baked in a little cassoulet dish with thinly sliced bread, was rich and wonderful. The tortelloni di Fizzano ($10.75), a nice-sized bowl of big, fat tortellini filled with a ricotta cheese and spinach mixture, in a creamy beef and pork bolognese sauce had an appealingly rustic quality, with the pasta perhaps a bit past al dente. Service was pleasant, although our server could have demonstrated a better knowledge of the menu. 221 N. Wall St. Call: 624-1853; In Coeur d'Alene: 525 Canfield Ave. Call: (208) 762-9300. (LM)
Toro Viejo - Coeur d'Alene's Toro Viejo is resplendent with bright wall murals, hanging plants, dark wood and rustic brick. The thoughtful lunch menu offers a good selection of dinner-y entrees at very reasonable prices. The complimentary chips and salsa made a fine appetizer. While the chips were unusual (but good), the salsa was terrific. Combinations come with generous sides of refried beans (vegetarian refried beans are available upon request) and Spanish-style rice. I selected the No. 2 combination ($5.95) -- an enchilada with choice of filling and a tamale. The dish was fresh-tasting, well made and attractively presented, but a little tame. Good service is the rule. 117 N. 2nd, Coeur d'Alene. Call: 208-667-7676. (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.