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The chic little sister of the ultra-popular White House Grill occupies the little white house that the Grill outgrew a few years back. The compact bar area only seats a few people at the counter, but it's sufficient for shaking up a host of concoctions, such as the most popular martini, the "Dirty Monica." The grapes and cheese platter ($7.50) offered nice contrasts in texture and flavor. The house salads, included with our entr & eacute;es, were terrific and generously topped with feta, dried cranberries and walnuts. Among entr & eacute;es, the mango swordfish ($23) stood out -- the fish was moist and tasty, and the salsa was fresh and quite spicy. Owner/chef Raci Erdem pays tribute to his tutelage at the Spokane Club with the Will Barron Steak ($24), recreating the yummy pepper sauce. The Oval Office is part high-end martini bar with elegant entr & eacute;es and part comfortable pub that happens to serve fancy drinks. 620 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, Idaho, (208) 777-2102 (LM)


An inviting atmosphere, good food and fast service make this locally owned Spokane Valley restaurant a perennial favorite. Weekend three-course dinners for two ($32) feature special dishes, like medallions of beef with cabernet wild-mushroom demi-glace. Homemade bread (from dill to orange-spice) plus soup or salads accompany entrees. The Broadway pea salad is a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. Iron-grilled salmon ($16) is tender and accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes (the real thing) and crunchy saut & eacute;ed veggies. Penne pasta with chicken and roasted garlic cream is flavorful and light. Choose from a variety of wines by the glass or bottle. And don't forget dessert -- moist carrot cake or indulgent mud pie. 10502 E. Sprague, 924-6022 (SH)


The signature Chang's chicken in soothing lettuce wraps ($8) appetizer gave us hearty coarsely chopped chicken, water chestnuts, onions and mushrooms in a pleasantly sweet, dark sauce, wrapped in cool, crunchy iceberg lettuce, a perfect complement. The Cantonese roasted duck ($15) -- half a duck flavored with five-spice and served with steamed wheat buns, cucumbers, scallions, plum and hoisin sauces -- had just a bit of somewhat crisp skin left on; it could have been a little more moist, but the flavor was delightful. The Singapore street noodles ($9), al dente rice noodles with shrimp and chicken in a curry sauce, had a welcome spiciness and a fresh, airy quality. We left stuffed, loaded with boxes of leftovers, and impressed enough by our meal, the friendly service and clean, chic atmosphere to look forward to returning. 801 W. Main Ave., 456-2166 (LM)


Like the Baja California town and beer it's named for, Tecate Grill offers a tropical-themed ambience and fun atmosphere. The food is a cut above most Mexican restaurants. You won't find refried beans, ground beef or iceberg lettuce here. Perfectly cooked shrimp appetizers or the Botanero sampler platter are featured starters. Tecate's entrees are big enough to share or take home for another meal. My family and I enjoyed the chicken canyon fajitas ($13), adovo chicken pasta ($12) and veggie burrito ($10). South-of-the-border beverages (cervezas and margaritas) and desserts, like the deep-fried ice cream, round out the experience. 2503 W. Wellesley Ave. #C, 327-7817 (SH)

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