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by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Wolf Lodge Steakhouse


Some of the steakiest steaks in the Inland Northwest can be found a short drive east of Coeur d'Alene along I-90. Rubbed in seasoning, cooked over an open fire and delivered with a genuine attention to doneness, these thick slabs of beef are offered in enough combinations of cuts to meet any challenging appetite ($19 for a top sirloin to $56 for the steak and lobster). Freshly made, home-style accompaniments are absolutely pleasing: The steak fries are made from whole split potatoes, and the rolls look handmade. If anyone has room when the meal is done, the chocolate cake is legendary -- but you'll have plenty of chances to check it out as waitresses in skimpy cowgirl garb deliver slices to the packed crowd of locals and Interstaters. Appetizers are mostly standard pub food except for the Rocky Mountain oysters. 11741 E. Frontage Rd., Coeur d'Alene (I-90, exit 22), (208) 664-6665 (MD)





THE BEACON


The potato hummus and grilled pita ($5) is dense with garlic and a lemony bite, and the lightly crispy jalape & ntilde;o-cream cheese wontons have just the right amount of pepper heat ($7.50). Eight draft beers, from Guinness to Bud Light to local Laughing Dog, and 22 bottled choices give a casual beer consumer like me plenty of options. The moist and flaky beer-battered fish and chips is easily the most affordable in North Idaho ($8), and the tartar is sweet and bold with a hint of capers. The only letdown was the coleslaw. Service was excellent, and the ambience was equally pleasant, making the Beacon a hip locale for tasty pub grub that's reasonably priced. 325 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 665-7407 (CS)





OPA


This north-side restaurant offers a zesty taste of Greece and southern Italy, surrounded by blue textured walls bedecked with photos, a welcoming fireplace and infectious Greek music. The Greek meze appetizer offers an array of traditional dishes from spanikopita to dolmades, while the Italian baked lasagna features a family-recipe sauce, oozy cheeses and noodles combined in a well-executed dish. The prawns souvlaki is a twist on a Greek favorite: large shrimp marinated in white wine and butter, cooked on a skewer and served over Greek rice with a luscious tzatziki sauce, handmade pita bread and accompanying salad. Dessert is not to be missed -- baklava, tiramisu and spumoni. 10411 N. Newport Hwy., 464-1442 (SH)





THE OVAL OFFICE


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 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. 620 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, Idaho, (208) 777-2102 (LM)

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