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by Inlander Staff


JoeCo Brazils -- JoeCo Brazils succeeds in offering Spokanites affordable gourmet. The shrimp rumaki ($7) appetizer was a great combination of sweet and salty and zesty. The prosciutto-wrapped scallops skewered on a rosemary sprig ($16) came together nicely in a delicate coconut cream sauce. The Guajillo rack of lamb ($18) was marinated in Guajillo pepper sauce, grilled, dipped into a red pepper jelly glaze and crusted in toasted pumpkin seeds. The lamb was fabulous, cooked to perfection and tender while the homemade taste and texture of the mashed potatoes was an inspired complement to the sophisticated rack. Service was pleasant and attentive. Desserts are all made in-house. Food is served until midnight. 830 W. Sprague. Call 455-6955. (LM)





Metro Caf & eacute; -- The Metro has been serving lunch-hungry downtowners, cafeteria-style, at this location for 19 years. The colorful menu boards change daily and feature sandwiches, casseroles, salads and something called the Daily Fresh Carve, a different roasted hunk of meat (turkey breast, meatloaf, ham, pork and roast beef) each day that is sliced and served hot and fresh. Soups are $2.25-$3 and salads are $3.50-$4.25 (for a regular). There are also beverages up the wazoo, including bottled beer. The Carve and Salad special ($5.35) came as a generous and delicious 1/3-pound pile of freshly sliced roast pork along with a choice of salad -- in this case, the spinach -- and a roll. The outstanding spinach salad (with bacon bits, mushrooms, mozzarella and zesty sweet and sour dressing) was complex in both taste and texture. 510 W. Riverside, Skywalk level. Call 747-8250. (MC)





The Old Spaghetti Factory -- The Factory has been serving up steaming plates of pasta for 34 years. Entrees include the freshly baked bread, soup or salad, vanilla or spumoni ice cream, and coffee or tea. The most expensive thing on the menu is $9.95. The minestrone soup is zesty and filled with legumes, pasta and crisp celery. The Baked Chicken Greek-Style ($9.50) had a nice lemony flavor accented by just the right amount of potentially overpowering oregano. But this place is really built around spaghetti. There are five "treatments" -- meat sauce, white clam sauce, tomato sauce, mushroom sauce and browned butter and mizithra cheese ($6.50 to $7.95). Try two or three sauces for $8.25, or add meatballs or sausage to spaghetti and meat sauce for $8.50. Call 624-8916. (LM)





S.S. Beryl -- This place has been around since the late '70s and has built up a devoted regular clientele. The kitschy-cool d & eacute;cor works. Brass navigation aids are embedded in the wood and polyurethane tabletops while nautical lanterns flicker dimly overhead. The Beryl specializes in seafood -- they prepare prawns at least five different ways -- but also features pastas with both seafood and chicken, and a selection of various beef dishes. It's the kind of stuff you would have eaten in Vegas before catching the Rat Pack show. The salmon Oscar ($18) was nicely pan-seared, moist inside with a crispy exterior and topped with a dollop of crabmeat. Hollandaise sauce and asparagus spears completed the presentation. Overall, a pleasant take on a venerable classic. Our server was delightfully sardonic -- a throwback to the good old days. Just like the S.S. Beryl itself. 6404 N. Wall St. Call 467-5490. (LM)





Northern Lights -- The Northern Lights brewpub's d & eacute;cor is spacious, inviting and enhanced by low lighting, rich greens and burgundies and recycled bowling alley butcher-block tables. The menu offers traditional pub grub with a sophisticated spin and some of the cleanest-tasting microbrewed beer in the Northwest brewed right on-site. Our server was very pleasant and attentive throughout our meal and was happy to describe each lunch special to us before we ordered. The Andouille sausage and mushroom fettuccini ($9.95) was excellent and festive with lean, flavorful sausage slices in a creamy sauce that was rich but not overdone, while the Hellfire Burger ($7.95) featured a full 1/3-pound lean Angus beef patty with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, fresh red onions, tomato and lettuce on an onion bun. It was substantial and very, very spicy. 1003 E. Trent Ave. Call 242-2739. MC





Ming Wah -- At Ming Wah, familiar Chinese-American dishes are created and served with an extraordinary level of care, precision and speed -- and at throwback prices. The restaurant is cozy with spotless pink Formica tables, dark paneling and red Naugahyde booths. The lunch menu features eight different three-item combination lunches with (egg drop soup and tea included) for $3.75-$4.50. The almond fried chicken featured bite-sized pieces of fried white-meat chicken covered with creamy white gravy and sprinkled with chopped toasted almonds. The subgum chow mein was outstanding, with diced chicken and veggies in a delicate sauce over crunchy noodles. The egg foo young was delicious, topped with a dollop of brown gravy and barbecued pork. Simply put, this is some of the best Chinese food you'll find anywhere in Spokane. The service, too, is excellent. 1618 W. Third Ave. Call 455-9474. (MC)





The Chalet -- With an interior like a ski lodge, this Alpine-themed South Hill institution is as soothing as a cup of Swiss Miss. We were all impressed with the Chalet's presentation, since breakfast foods are notoriously kind of beige-y and hard to dress up. The Eggs Benedict ($6.29) was perfect, served atop crispy English muffins with just the proper intermingling of thinly sliced ham, poached eggs and ever so slightly tart Hollandaise sauce. The French Toast and Egg plate ($5.49) arrived with two slices halved and arranged on the side of the plate, while a central whole slice provided the foundation for a poached egg in a small dish; two sausages were lined up front and rear. The French toast had a delicious buttery flavor and was among the best in the taster's recollection. The server struck that magical balance between hovering and neglect, achieving a perfect level of attentiveness. 2918 S. Grand Blvd. Call 747-6474. (Sheri Boggs)





Twigs Bistro -- Twigs offers food and atmosphere that manages to transcend commonly held food court dining conceptions. The lunch menu of the day offers an array of intriguing and competitively priced choices, including sandwiches and wraps ($5-$6), soups, salads, topped baked potatoes, combos and a section called "hot off the grill" where you choose among seven options (battered fish, cheeseburger deluxe, crispy chicken sandwich, ham and Swiss melt, etc.) and get fries and a 16 oz. soda in the deal for $5.95. The Chicken Caesar Wrap with chips ($5.50) was a winning mixture of tender chicken, romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts with tangy Caesar dressing in a basil flour tortilla. Delicious and surprisingly filling -- and worth the 20-minute wait we experienced. 808 W. Main Ave. in Riverpark Square. Call 232-3376. (MC) n





Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM), Mike Corrigan (MC) or Marty Demarest (MD), unless otherwise noted.





Publication date: 04/29/04

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