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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & MOJO & r & & r & Mojo appeals with its innovative format, comfort-oriented foods and gourmet-inspired flavors at less-than-gourmet prices. At the greeting station, choose from standard selections or create your own meal (salad, sandwich or entr & eacute;e) from a menu described as "gourmet fast casual." The wild salmon salad ($10/half, $13 whole) featured a bouquet of flavors ranging from super-fresh greens, delicately poached salmon, roasted butternut squash, spicy pecans, tangy bleu cheese and sweet Craisins. The cheesy chicken apple sandwich ($8/half, $11/whole), served on fresh sourdough (baked in-house), was a perfect blend of tangy, crispy, savory and sweet: moist grilled chicken, applewood-smoked bacon, creamy havarti cheese, crisp Red Delicious apple slices, and a topper of caramelized onion, a few greens and honey-mustard spread. The "adult" mac 'n' cheese side was decadent penne in a cheese sauce. Our food arrived quickly and beautifully prepared, and servers (including Chef Charlie) buzz in and out of the dining room often. 328 N. Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley, 893-8900 (CS)





HANGAR 57


The Hangar features airplanes over moth-eaten jerseys over pennants, and frontlines its 57 martinis over keg nights, but it's definitely a sports bar. The menu's focus is the stone-roasted pizza -- make your own or pick from the menu, with options like Margherita and Hawaiian or more adventurous ones, like El Taco, the Philly Cheese Steak and Zucchini and Prosciutto. The Buffalo chicken pizza, with slices of tender chicken bathed in Frank's Red Hot atop a thin crust slice, was weird, like eating nachos on a cheeseburger. And yet... the hot sauce, piquant and vinegary, balanced out nicely against the cheese and the very agreeable crust. The grinder -- that's a sub sandwich -- with sausage and sweet cherry peppers was exceptional, with sweet, yet vinegary cherry peppers paired with sweet Italian sausage and truly flavorful provolone in a soft, artisan roll. Hangar 57 has a pretty decent selection of rotating handles. Martinis and beer pong? Zucchini and prosciutto grinders? Frat boys and highbrows? Somehow Hangar 57 pulls it off. 2911 E. 57th Ave., 448-5707 (JS)





Hills' Restaurant and Lounge


The same neighborly pub attitude and atmosphere that made Hills' first restaurant a local classic has been transported to a new, airier home across from Auntie's Books. Hills' still serves some of Spokane's most satisfying salads, including the succulent Southern Fried Chicken Salad ($9) with chunks of crunchy-breaded bird enlivened by a zingy mustard dressing. Serving Brandt True Natural Beef, Hills' offers diners a choice of six different steak cuts ($10-$25) and 14 freshly made sauces ($1.50-$6) ranging from bistro (Gorgonzola) to cuisine (B & eacute;arnaise). The Scotch egg ($3.75) -- hard-boiled, wrapped in sausage and breaded -- is a crisp-fried wonder with which to start any meal. And if the day's menu includes fresh sorbets or ice creams, save room -- Hills' makes them from scratch. 401 W. Main Ave., 747-3946 (MD)





OPA


This north-side restaurant offers diners a zesty taste of Greece and southern Italy. 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 Greek kota offers chicken breast marinated in butter, lemon, fresh garlic and wine sauce served over al dente fettuccini noodles, and 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)

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