Vina Asian Restaurant -- The Vina menu is diverse and very easy to navigate. You'll find elements of Cantonese, Hunan, Mandarin, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese, and meat choices that include chicken, pork and beef, squid and duck. The bargain-conscious will appreciate the affordable and easy-to-assemble combos at three price points ($3.99, $4.99 and $5.99). The Roast Duck noodle soup was served Vietnamese-style with egg noodles, green onions and cilantro in a chicken-based broth with roast duck portions, bean sprouts and lime on the side. The Mongolian Beef with tender beef strips mingling in a light sauce with sliced carrot, onion, water chestnut, baby corn and green peppers packed a surprising amount of heat. Service was speedy and friendly. 2303 N. Ash. Call: 328-2197 (MC)
The Davenport Brunch -- The atmosphere at the Davenport on a Sunday morning is so remarkably pleasant, it is worth savoring even if you don't have reservations for the hotel's over-the-top brunch located in the grand Isabella Room. The original (and robust) price of $37 per person has since been reduced to $29.50. Even at that price, the brunch had still better be pretty impressive. It is. This is a truly a cosmopolitan brunch with something for everyone: cheeses and salads, huge platters of choice fresh fruit, beautifully prepared sushi, a cascade of gigantic prawns in a river of ice, bagels with luscious lox and herbed cream cheese, pastries (the baklava was delicious), omelets, crepes casseroles galore, roast beef and much, much more. Get the picture? Service is generally delightful. 10 S. Post. Call: 455-8888 (LM)
Brix -- There's a sophisticated new kid on the block on Coeur d'Alene's Sherman Avenue. Brix's interior has a warm cosmopolitan appearance with rich fabric and leather upholstery. Nooks in the walls showcase local glass art and original paintings. The baked ricotta with shaved prosciutto and balsamic figs appetizer ($8.25) got better and better with each bite, and the house bread was a real treat. The crispy roast duck with butternut squash, roast pears and porcini jus ($24.50) was indeed crispy on the outside, as promised, with a moist and flavorful interior. Service, however, was inconsistent, and the dessert menu could use some improvement. 317 Sherman Ave. Call: (208) 665-7407. (LM)
The Cosmopolitan Caf & eacute; -- The Cosmopolitan is a friendly, casual and contemporary oasis with healthy, inventive salads and a great selection of sandwiches. The salad bar ($6.50) features roughly a dozen different freshly made creations (leafy green, corn and black bean, fruit, beet and walnut, penne with pesto and pine nuts, asparagus, etc.) The salads were uniformly interesting and delicious. The Chicago's Revenge (all sandwiches are $6.50), a meatball sandwich, was a combination of tender meatballs, thick, tangy red sauce, chopped onions, peppers and shredded mozzarella on a sturdy six-inch sandwich roll. Terrific (and fast) service seems to be the norm. 321 S. Dishman-Mica Road. Call: 922-4935. (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.