Northern Quest Casino -- At Northern Quest Casino, in traditional buffet-style, you pay upon entering ($10.95 for dinner; breakfast is $5.95 and lunch is $7.95), and find your own table in the clean, bustling dining room. The succulent pork tenderloin and rich gravy won us over. The eggplant Parmesan and roasted squash satisfied our resident vegetarian. The salmon cakes were enormous, albeit a little on the dry side, but an elegant scattering of peaches across the top fixed that. Between these and the hand-carved roasts, I don't think there is better food available for the price anywhere else in Spokane. Unfortunately, some of the side dishes weren't as successful. 100 N. Hayford Road, Airway Heights. Call: 242-7000 or 1-888-603-7051 (MD)
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)
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)
Solstice -- Although the entree menu at Solstice (the former Moxie in Liberty Lake) contains only seven items, they form 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. 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. 9327 N. Newport Highway. Call: 466-3346. (MC)
The Park Inn Park Plaza -- Nothing ever changes at the P.I. And that's the way we like it. It's old skool pub grub all the way in a super-casual atmosphere: burgers, deli sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, some dinner entrees and "others," such as the delectably dangerous-sounding chili dog ($5.75). For pizza, try the 12-inch ML Special ($13.75), with sausage, beef, mushroom, olive, onion and fresh tomato. It's generous with a thin crust, a hint of sauce and a mountain of toppings. The grilled cheese sandwich ($4.75) was delicious and gooey with cheddar and provolone melted between two buttery, toasted slices of rye bread. The service was friendly, efficient and frequently hilarious. Smoking at the P.I. is most definitely allowed. 107 W. 9th Ave. Call: 624-8111. (MC)
Old European -- The Scandinavian/Dutch-themed Old European restaurant sports a breakfast menu like no other in town. You can get lunch here, too, but the breakfasts boast extraordinary offerings, such as orange raisin nut French toast ($5.50), Swedish crepes ($5.95) and "the Ol' Fried Egg Sandwich" ($4.50). The German Potato Pancakes ($5.95) were"moist and flavorful, spiked occasionally with a little chunk of sausage." The delicious Danish aebelskivers ($4.95) are fluffy, pancake-y balls that can be dipped in applesauce, or better yet, drizzled in syrup. 11520 E. Sprague Ave. Call: 928-6868. (Sheri Boggs)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.