Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2020: Fleur De Sel

Like Wild Sage and Italia Trattoria, Fleur De Sel is a no-brainer, gotta-have-it choice for Inlander Restaurant Week, your chance to have some of the best meals in the region at prices so reasonable even a writer on an Inlander salary could afford it. 

I expertly timed my five 5:45 pm reservation for the gorgeous sunset overlooking the majestic — OK, more like the "technically municipal" — city of Post Falls. But the question wasn't whether any of the dishes would be good — they all were — it's which ones were the best.

I sampled from two of the three options in all three courses and then pitted them against each other, because we in the media demand conflict.

APPETIZER
click to enlarge DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
Steak Tartare


Steak tartare, in its very raw nature, can be a bit of a risk, and I was a bit unsure about the flavor. But the secret, here, is to combine the pomme gaufrette — or waffle fries, as we uncivilized Americans call them — the glaze decorating the bottom of the plate, into one glorious bite. That's the way it should be eaten, the crunch and salt of the chip, the zing of the sauce and the raw subtleties of the beef all merging into one symphony.

VS

Figs and Blue Cheese Flatbread
click to enlarge Armenian flatbread spread with fig jam, Brush Creek blue cheese from Deary, Idaho, and candied walnuts. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
Armenian flatbread spread with fig jam, Brush Creek blue cheese from Deary, Idaho, and candied walnuts.
This was a fine, crispy flatbread with a delectable bite that could change dramatically depending on exactly how much cheese, fig and cheese you got in each bite.

WINNER: Steak tartare. The figs and flatbread tastes like damn fine quality pizza. But it's easy to get some pretty decent pizza anywhere. If you really want to feel fancy, go with the raw steak.

ENTREE
click to enlarge "House cured and smoked Canadian king salmon served over a caramelized sauerkraut, creamy risotto and a sauce au poivre." - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
"House cured and smoked Canadian king salmon served over a caramelized sauerkraut, creamy risotto and a sauce au poivre."
Roasted Smoked Salmon

The smoked salmon positively melts in your mouth. It's fantastic. But, surprisingly, the best part of the dish is what lies beneath: The caramelized sauerkraut. It offers a textural counterpoint to the smooth risotto that's subtle enough not to be obtrusive, but interesting enough to give the risotto complexity. 

VS

Chicken Truffles
click to enlarge "Grilled natural airline chicken breast served over ravioli filled with a mushroom duxelle in an Italian summer truffles cream sauce" - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
"Grilled natural airline chicken breast served over ravioli filled with a mushroom duxelle in an Italian summer truffles cream sauce"
I foolishly passed over this dish last year, because the phrase "airline chicken breast" made me think of an in-flight meal offered on Delta international flights. I shouldn't have. "Airline" refers to the cut, not the quality, and this dish is one of Fleur De Sel's all-time favorites. And for good reason. The creamy sauce captures the emotion of the best chicken pot pie you've ever tasted, with none of the peas weighing it down.


WINNER: This one's close. But we've got to award it to the truffle chicken. The sauce practically swaddles you in a blanket by a roaring fire. 

But you also shouldn't forget the third option on the menu, the pork cheeks à la bourguignonne. That particular dish is accompanied by glazed Brussels sprouts, which taste like miraculous little vegetable candy pouches. They're one of the best renditions of a vegetable you'll find on any many in the Inland Northwest.

DESSERT
click to enlarge "Lavender-scented cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and topped with Fleur de Sel spices rhubarb compote." - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
"Lavender-scented cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and topped with Fleur de Sel spices rhubarb compote."
Cheesecake

Consider me a Restaurant Week dessert course skeptic. Most restaurant's dessert courses are too sweet, too rich, or can't compete with a simple scoop of Chunky Monkey. But if you must do dessert, go with cheesecake, rhubarb and the gingerbread crust. The gingerbread, fruit and cheesecake all balance each other in a delightful trinity.

VS

Sorbet and Cookies
click to enlarge "Housemade lemon sorbet served with a couple of coconut Parisian macarons filled with pineapple curd" - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
"Housemade lemon sorbet served with a couple of coconut Parisian macarons filled with pineapple curd"
How lemony do you like your lemon sorbet? Mind-blowingly, lip-puckeringly, eyes-buggingly lemony? Then you'll absolutely love this sorbet. Tragically, I'm not exactly the Earl of Lemongrab like some of you out there, so I preferred the macarons.


Not to be confused with the French president, the coconut macarons had made for a perfect little cookie sandwich, with the coconuts nicely bookending the pineapple curd.

WINNER:
The cheesecake. Always bet on cheesecake.

SHOCKING OVERALL WINNER: SOUP OF THE DAY
click to enlarge DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
The best thing I had, however, was not even on Fleur De Sel's Restaurant Week menu. It was the big cup of soup that you could order for the crazy-reasonable price of $4. A fine-fine pureed butternut squash with roast jalapeno, this just may be the best soup I've ever taken. You spend maybe 10 seconds savoring the taste of the squash and then boom, in comes the baritone heat of the roasted jalapeno to leave you with a lingering finish. Get the soup, people. 

Cooking Class: Gnudi @ The Culinary Stone

Sat., July 11, 2-4 p.m.
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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...