Inlander staffers were among the many diners enjoying three-course meals these past three days, and here we're sharing just a few highlights.
While reservations at many spots are full or nearly so, there's still time to put your name on the list if you hurry, as well as the chance of getting a table for a last-minute walk-in. Restaurant Week 2022 continues through Saturday, March 5.
Find more information about this year's 99 total participants and their menus — offered at $22, $33 or $44 per person — at InlanderRestaurantWeek.com, or grab the Feb. 24 edition of the Inlander for the printed event guide, which is also available at all STCU branches and Restaurant Week participants.
404 W. Main Ave., 509-315-4613, Menu served Tue-Sat from 5-10 pm
Restaurant Week is, of course, a great way to make up for lost time, and Gander & Ryegrass’s three-course options proved a perfect encapsulation of their creative twist on Italian food. The comfy dining room was full and hopping, but the tag-team serving by the staff was on-point and attentive without being overbearing in the least. The towering bar provided many options to sip while perusing the menu and while dining (I went for a Lumberbeard IPA, while friends tried a couple of house cocktails).
Gander & Ryegrass specializes in chef-driven tasting menus and “marathon” eating experiences, and their Restaurant Week menu is like a miniature version of those. After a shrimp-focused amuse bouche, I started with a smoked fish first course, a salad of sorts including cauliflower, roe and potato. It was incredible, all the more so because I wasn’t sure what to expect. My second course was a pappardelle pasta with beef ragout, and I would have literally licked the bowl if it wouldn't have embarrassed my co-diners. Thankfully, some house-made focaccia had been delivered to the table before the second course, and it came in handy in sopping up every last drop of that ragout.
My final course was pork loin served with turnips, apple and mustard, and some dried pork belly on top. The pork loin was perfectly cooked, and every flavor from its accompanying pieces came through loud and clear. I can’t recommend the Gander & Ryegrass restaurant week experience enough. (DAN NAILEN)
I started the meal with one of my favorite items, the toasted pecan Caesar salad. This simple yet delicious salad has been a go-to of mine for many years. Toasted cumin-spiced pecans and shaved parmesan make this Caesar stand out from the crowd.
For the second course, I was hoping for a vegetarian course, but Twigs doesn’t offer one for this year’s Restaurant Week. However, it was no issue altering an existing option to fit my dietary restrictions. I requested the smoked gouda mac and cheese without the chicken. You can never go wrong with mac and cheese, especially when it’s cavatappi pasta with roasted mushrooms and onions in a gouda sauce, and baked with a layer of bread crumbs.
My eyes went straight to the strawberry shortcake martini to finish the meal. It is a martini bar, after all. This sweet, fruity cocktail was the perfect way to top it all off. It was unlike any other martini I've had, with a whipped cream base giving it a creamy taste and a sweet graham cracker rim. (JAMI NELSON)
North Spokane: 9602 N. Newport Hwy., 509-467-0292
Downtown Spokane: 818 W. Sprague Ave., 509-467-0292
Menu served daily from 11 am-close
When is soup the star of the meal? Every day at Nudo Ramen, apparently. Both entrée options — vegetable ramen and tonkotsu ramen — were beautifully presented and wonderfully complex in flavor and texture.
My tonkotsu ramen is a menu mainstay I’d happily order again, which is rare for me; I usually prefer trying as many different dishes as possible from as many different places as possible. But the combination of tender pork and fresh ramen noodles, plus savory (and not overly salty) broth, crisp bean sprouts, slightly sweet corn and other elements was magic. The flavors continued to evolve as the broth thickened and vegetables softened. Our server brought chili oil, which added a whole new range of flavors.
Although I have nothing against day-drinking, we opted for stout, stringent Thai iced tea, but could easily have found plenty of adult beverages to like on Nudo's menu (next time, perhaps?).
Service was exceptional: prompt, friendly, and attentive. The server was thoroughly knowledgeable about the dishes and provided expert ramen reheating tips (warm the broth separately, heat the other ingredients in a pan and then reunite everything in a bowl for best results). (CARRIE SCOZZARO)