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HAY J'S


Lunch at this a 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. The black bean and chicken soup of the day was a highlight, served with warm crusty asiago sourdough bread. 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)





Milford's Fish House


Historic ambience blends with very fresh fish at Milford's. Chef/owner Jerry Young imparts exciting Asian flavors to daily rotating fish dishes. Though there are plenty of seafood options for appetizers, the chicken satay ($8) features tender meat grilled just right, accented by four Asian dipping sauces. Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fillet ($22) is grilled Vietnamese-style and topped with a light lemongrass, chile and lime dressing. Alaskan halibut cheeks ($22) are prepared Asian shallow-fry-style, panko-crusted, with Asian dipping sauces that add myriad flavors to the tender fish. The prawn, chicken and mushroom fettuccine ($19) has a light, savory Alfredo sauce. Top off your meal with Milford's homemade ice cream. 719 N. Monroe St., 326-7251 (SH)





WILD SAGE


The Breaking Bread appetizer -- a large platter with a variety of house-made breads and crackers, plus toppings that include caviar with sour cream, hummus and cheeses -- sets the mood for an intimate yet sociable evening. Try the velvety-smooth handmade potato dumplings. The signature rack of lamb, architecturally presented, is a highlight: The sweet-tart red pepper glaze balances the lamb's earthiness; the accompanying savory cornbread casserole lends a crunchy and crumbly contrast. Great care goes into each presentation -- fresh herbs on each plate -- and distinct aromas come through from each dish. Eating involves all of the senses, and we were fully engaged by our experience at Wild Sage. 916 W. Second Ave., 456-7575 (AC)





WILD NOODLES


Wild Noodles offers a variety of culinary traditions, fresh food and fast service that feels more like a full-service restaurant. Diners choose from Italian, Asian or American noodle favorites. The lasagna in a bowl ($7.25) is savory and comforting, with 12-hour marinara sauce and fennel Italian sausage. The Bangkok peanut noodle dish with shrimp, rice noodles, veggies and peanut sauce ($8) is clearly an item that works. Wild Noodles' signature orange chicken with sweet and sour sauce, Sonoran pasta with chipotle cream sauce, mac 'n' cheese with chili flakes and crouton crumbles and sticky sesame chicken with teriyaki sauce all sound interesting. Wonton s'mores ($3.50) are an adventurous dessert that appeals to the kid in many of us. 10208 N. Divison, 465-9175 (SH)

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