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The Inlander Staff & r & & r & WINDOWS AT THE RED LION HOTEL & r & & r & This room-with-a-view restaurant is too good for just out-of-towners. We started with bacon-wrapped prawns ($9), three good-sized crustaceans wrapped in smoky bacon with baby bok choy and a yummy, sweet-hot cilantro garlic sauce. The flavors of this dish went well together -- the sweet, smoky prawns offset by the crunchy bok choy and tangy cilantro. The forest mushroom soup ($6) was almost blindingly rich, but the meaty sliced mushrooms were really allowed to shine in the creamy base, no doubt aided by the healthy drizzle of white truffle oil on top. My companion's spinach salad with Asian pear ($6) was also a real treat, perfectly dressed in a light, sesame vinaigrette that went well with the red onions and rich feta. The spicy prawn saut & eacute; ($19) lacked pizzazz, but my grilled smoked duck ($19) with a ginger-molasses glaze was more successful: Apple-smoked duck was grilled with a sweet sticky sauce, leaving the skin crisp and flavorful, the inside smoky and rich. Despite some bumps with the dessert menu, the menu is reasonably priced, with options from Asian to Italian to Northwest in style. The interior is creative and pleasantly designed. And the view is unbeatable. 303 W. North River Dr., 326-8000 (LM)





The Viking Tavern


Whether you want classic breakfast or something from the lunch menu, the Viking aims to please with its new Saturday morning breakfast lineup. The breakfast menu consists of four items -- meat (bacon or sausage) and eggs, a breakfast sandwich, a breakfast burrito or an omelet, priced at $4 with additional ingredients available for $1 each. It's basic, it's breakfast, and it's at a bar -- and sometimes that's all you really need. But you can also order off the regular lunch menu, greatly expanding the available offerings. The sandwiches are big and just as good at breakfast as at lunch. Service is prompt, friendly and comfortable without being pushy. 1221 N. Stevens St., 326-2942 (AC)





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. 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)





SYRINGA


With its bistro-like interior, pristine presentation and European-flavored menu offerings, Syringa Japanese Caf & eacute; and Sushi Bar could easily be at home in a bigger city. Items like eggplant ravioli and beef tenderloin with Dungeness crab appear 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. If it's sampling you want, 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 even custom orders. A wine, beer, sake and specialty cocktail selection complements chef Viljo Basso's inventive menu, which is extremely reasonably priced. Reservations recommended as this neighborhood eatery has developed an ever-widening circle of devotees. 1401 N. 4th St., Coeur d'Alene, (208) 664-2718. (CS)

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