After many successful years at the Flour Mill, Riverview Thai has moved up the river to Riverwalk, the site of the now-defunct Bayou Brewery. The Khao Tom ($9.45) was a lovely Thai version of chicken and rice soup, with fragrant jasmine rice and ground chicken in a rich chicken broth, flavored with green onion, celery, garlic and cilantro. The Gaeng keow wahn ($11) with chicken combines green curry sauce with green peas, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and fresh basil -- a successful dish with the fragrant taste of the Thai basil dominating. The pahd si-ew ($10.45) consists of fried rice noodles, chicken, broccoli and eggs. The sauce for this dish was sweet and lacked any hint of heat. Dinner on the lawn near the river was lovely, but an awkward arrangement for the wait staff. Nevertheless, service was friendly. 1003 E. Trent. Call: 922-4935. (LM)
The Scandinavian/Dutch-themed Old European restaurant sports a breakfast menu like no other in town. You can get lunch here, too, but the breakfasts boast extraordinary offerings, such as orange raisin nut French toast ($5.50), Swedish crepes ($5.95) and "the Ol' Fried Egg Sandwich" ($4.50). The German Potato Pancakes ($5.95) were"moist and flavorful, spiked occasionally with a little chunk of sausage." The stuffed French toast ($5.95) was "exquisite: three tender slices of thick bread, with just the right amount of egg batter on them, interspersed with two layers of scrambled eggs mixed with bits of flavorful sausage." The delicious Danish aebelskivers ($4.95) are fluffy, pancake-y balls that can be dipped in applesauce, or better yet, drizzled in syrup. 11520 E. Sprague Ave. Call: 928-6868. (Sheri Boggs)
The d & eacute;cor at China Dragon, just north of NorthTown Mall, is intimate, although in a somewhat disconcerting way, giving it that "well-off great aunt" feel. But the open kitchen and a down-to-earth waitstaff kept the emphasis on the food. China Dragon wins the award for the best Egg Flower Soup we found in town ($1.75 for a cup, $8.50 for a bowl). Thick, with plenty of fresh peas and large clumps of egg, the soup distinguishes itself by featuring fresh lettuce. The tofu in the Szechwan Bean Curd ($9.70) was meltingly soft, with a pronounced chile flavor. Much more successful was the enormous bowl of Hot Spicy Beef Noodles ($9.50). Redolent of garlic and swimming with chunks of beef and tomatoes, the aromas alone could have satisfied our appetite. Fortunately, the toothsome noodles and the rich broth lived up to expectations and delivered a perfect kick. 27 E. Queen. Call: 483-5209. (Marty Demarest)
They just don't make 'em like this anymore. The Shack is an early 1960s time warp (resplendent in knotty pine and pink neon), but its history stretches all the way back to the '20s. While the prices have changed over the years, the friendly service, big portions and extensive menu (featuring simple, old-fashioned favorites) has not. Here you can get it all -- breakfasts, burgers, liver and onions and more. The $7.49 Shack Breakfast Special (nicknamed "The Awesome Two's"), comes with two eggs, two pancakes, two bacon strips and two sausage links. Delicious -- and guaranteed to stick with you well past lunch. The hashbrowns in the $6.99 two egg-sausage-browns-toast combo were simply outstanding. 1301 W. Third. Call: 747-2713. (SB)
For almost 40 years, Ron's has been the destination in the Valley for inexpensive, quality drive-in food. The broasted half-chicken ($4.89), perched on a mountain of mild, tender shoestring fries, was very good. The crispy skin crumbled away to reveal very moist, tender meat inside. The Classic burger with bacon for $2.65 (1/4-pound meat patty with bacon, cheese, ketchup, onion, mustard, pickle, lettuce and tomato) was a neatly packed and satisfying fist-sized meal. The "Seafood Delite" (shrimp, fish, fries and onion rings for $5.74) was a deep-fried feast. All the components were flavorful and light on grease. And Ron's fish is easily some of the very best in Spokane. 12502 E. Sprague. Call: 924-4660. (MC)
Finnerty's Red Lion Inn
Finnerty's Red Lion Inn is a dark and cozy sports bar with a genuinely friendly staff and ESPN-locked televisions everywhere you look. It also turns out some of the best pub grub in town. The 16 different sandwich options each come with a side of fries, onion rings, BBQ beans, pasta, potato or tossed green salad, cole slaw or rice pilaf. The wine broiled chicken breast sandwich ($7.59) is a wonderfully savory, herb and wine-laced chicken breast with lettuce and tomato on a sandwich bun. Big Dave's Special ($6.95) -- thinly sliced and sauced-up barbecued pork on a sandwich bun topped off with a dollop of cole slaw -- is sublime. Finnerty's is open daily until 1 am. 126 N. Division. Call: 624-1934 (MC)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.