The Inlander Staff & r & & r & Villaggio & r & & r & The ambiance at Villaggio (Italian for village) is upscale: a dozen dark wood tables, folded white cloth napkins, little red table candles, new age/fusion jazz background music. Pizzas from the brick wood-fired oven are the tasty highlight, like the Vegetariano ($15) -- a 12-inch, irregularly shaped platform for a thin layer of tomato sauce and a gardeners' feast of caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke, and millimeter-thin slices of zucchini. Caramelized onions also add a layer of texture and flavor to the Insalata Villaggio ($10), with arugula, pear slivers, walnuts, gorgonzola and fig balsamic vinaigrette. The Jocelina panini blends prosciutto, mozzarella, provolone, artichoke, roasted red peppers, fresh basil leaves and tomato into something yummy, best eaten with a fork. The wonderfully rich tiramisu ($7), with layers of creamy filling, coffee-saturated cake and melted chocolate, was a lovely ending to a very nice meal. A fully stocked bar serves wine, martinis and other mixed drinks. If you judge pizza by the inches per dollar, Villaggio might disappoint you. But if your judgment is based more on quality than quantity, you'll find a nice experience. 2013 E. 29th Ave., 532-0327 (DN)
Lunch at this sleekly modern yet comfortable space features a strong selection of sandwiches, wraps, burgers and salads plus a variety of favorite dinner entrees. Dinner ramps up to black-napkin elegance and the menu shifts toward entr & eacute;es and small plates. The Ladieu salad showcases pecans, grapes, red onions and feta cheese on a generous plate of baby greens, in a lightly sweet huckleberry vinaigrette dressing. My parmesan-crusted halibut -- a healthy cut of mild fish in a thin coating of crumbs and cheese that added crunch without overwhelming the subtle flavor of the fish -- came with a delicately roasted medley of summer squashes, a delightful treat in midwinter and a feast for the senses. 21706 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake, Wash., 926-2310 (AC)
P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO
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 flavor of the Cantonese roasted duck ($15) -- half a duck flavored with five-spice and served with steamed wheat buns, cucumbers, scallions, plum and hoisin sauces --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. The Great Wall of Chocolate ($8) is a rich, six-layer cake sporting lots of silky chocolate frosting and an ample puddle of raspberry sauce. We left impressed enough by our meal, the friendly service and clean, chic atmosphere to look forward to returning. 801 W. Main Ave., 456-2166 (LM)
With its bistro-like interior, pristine presentation and European-flavored menu offering, Syringa is not your typical Japanese restaurant. Eggplant ravioli and beef tenderloin with Dungeness crab sit alongside delicacies like the Chilean sea bass and spiced duck. Traditional Japanese fare includes sukiyaki, udon noodles and tempura. The fish is off-the-dock fresh and full of flavor. Try the abundant small plate menu or something from the sushi bar: simple tuna rolls, the fiery dragon roll, the unusual Northwest roll -- saut & eacute;ed wild mushrooms with tempura-fried green bean and smoked salmon -- or custom orders. A wine, beer, sake and specialty cocktail selection complements chef Viljo Basso's inventive menu, which is reasonably priced. Reservations are recommended as this neighborhood eatery has developed an ever-widening circle of devotees. 1401 N. 4th St., Coeur d'Alene, 208-664-2718. (CS)
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.