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Jan 26, 2010 07:08 AM

Ongoing Spokane reviews

Since I just moved to Spokane and plan on dining at most of the best restaurants, I figure I'll start an ongoing thread. I got off to a good start at Luna last night.

My new partners had a meeting there last pm, so it was not really a Chow-centered visit but quite enjoyable nonetheless. We were a party of 8. Service was on point throughout the meal. The same server saw us through the entire meal which I've found to be happening less commonly at the higher-end places I've been to in Vegas. Our server recommended a great Sancerre which was a hit with the entire table and somehow I received the credit for choosing it. Why argue?

Many dishes were had so I'll just discuss mine. Started with the ahi tuna tartare which was beautifuly presented in a mold with avocado and finely diced onion and surrounded with a creamy, tangy wasabi vinaigrette. It was a generous portion with wonderfully textured ahi and ultra-fresh avocado. The sauce was nice but perhaps a bit much for the delicate flavors of the dish. Very good to excellent.

For main had the Snake River Farm Korubuta pork tenderloin, Hong Kong style noodles,
baby bok choy, hoisin ginger sauce, tempura shiitake mushrooms. Pork was perfectly cooked and saturated with a wonderful sweet hoisin flavor. Noodles were al dente as I like them. Tempura mushrooms were a nice addition. My only complaint with this inventive dish was the degree of saltiness which I'm not used to. Woke up last pm with a thirst only experienced with excessive salt loads. Either way, I enjoyed this dish but would likely not order it again. Good to very good.

Dessert was praline carrot cake. The cream cheese frosting with crunchy pralines made this a memorable experience..

I have to say that this was a good start to my rampage through the Spokane dining scene. I'm excited to return to Luna with my wife for a more Chowish evening where I can really focus on the flavors.

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  1. Please keep us informed. Your experience sound more like my prvious experiences at Luna, than some of the recent posts!

    1. I was quite surprised to hear that a town the size of Spokane did not have a Whole Foods Market. There are smaller towns where WF has set up shop (i.e. Santa Fe). Anyway, since going to Huckleberry's Market, that is no longer a concern. Although smaller than your average WF it is equal in quality on most levels. I was especially impressed with the organic vegetable selection, bulk selection and beer and wine. The meats are far inferior to your average WF and don't seem much better than your average supermarket. Where do you shop for good meats in Spokane? The prepared foods seemed worthy, but there is no salad bar neither of which I typically indulge in. I'm sure I'll be dropping some serious coin at Huckleberry's over the coming years.

      10 Replies
      1. re: climberdoc

        #1 There has been a persistent 5 year rumor that Trader Joe’s is coming to town, but to date I have not heard of Whole Foods even looking at this locale.

        #2 Glad to hear about your good meal at Luna’s, they have a new(ish) chef and she seems to like it there which is important for consistency. When we dined there I found out afterwards that they were on their 5th chef in less than 9 months, that is never a good sign and it showed in the quality of the food.

        #3 Butchers – it depends upon what you are looking for. Are you looking for all-natural, free-range, no hormone beef and chicken? It will be hard to find that in the butcher shops I am used to. However the two biggest (for Spokane) butcher/meat counters that have a variety of items are Eggers and Sonnenberg’s market.

        For large bulk purchases I tend to go to cash N Carry, but you will be buying whole top rounds in cryovac or whole tenderloins so you need to be willing to do your own cutting. The other thing that is popular around me (I live north of Spokane) is to buy ½ a steer from a neighbor, then when it’s time the neighbor will call in a local mobile butchering trunk and you will have you grass fed beef, just remember though you will be needed a freezer or hosting a few huge parties. We also have neighbors that do the same thing with free-range chicken; country living at it’s finest.

        1. re: RetiredChef

          Dining at Luna in the large group I was in detracted from my concentration on the food. I was happy with what I was served (aside from the saltiness of my entree) in the context of the situation. I will need to take a Chowish trip there with my wife before I can really give it high praises. Regardless, it is substantially better than anything available in Flagstaff (where I moved from), so that was refreshing.

          I guess with the butcher question, I was hoping for something like WF. In that I mean a wide selection of meat and fish. If you've been to a WF meat/seafood counter you will know what I mean by that. Huckleberry's is like WF in most other ways, just not in the meat/fish dept. Oh well.

          1. re: climberdoc

            I have to put in my two cents on Huckleberry's. Stopped in to the South Hill store to check it out after dinner at Gordy's. Picked up a slice of Boston Cream Pie, and a slice of coconut cake which was labeled at being from Luna. After driving back over to the north end to my family's home we tried the cakes and were seriously disappointed. They were both dry and crumbly. I imagine they would have been good 2 or 3 days prior, but they should have been pulled from the case. I also saw some sad, bruised, wrinkled bing cherries selling for about $12/lb. Their quality control definitely needs some work.

            1. re: gmm

              Huckleberry's has been the only option for Spokane for quite some time, and I agree with gmm that their quality can be spotty.

              A new coop, called the Main Market just opened at the corner of Main and Bernard downtown, I'm really excited that there'll be another option. In addition to organic produce and groceries , and a promising looking deli, they also have lockers for rent that could be used for storage of large purchases of meat. They're still just stocking their shelves, it remains to be seen what their meat selection will look like. I know they intend to establish relationships with providers and facilitate and provide a delivery point for bulk meat purchases.

        2. re: climberdoc

          If you want to have some pride in the Pac NW you could also order Beef from Snake River Farms.

          1. re: RetiredChef

            Being that I'm not a chef, I'm afraid of paying a bunch of money for those beautiful steaks and then cooking them poorly. I'll stick to paying the premium to eat those luxury items in a restaurant where I can send it back if it's not cooked to my liking. It was fun perusing through the link though.

          2. re: climberdoc

            Welcome to Spokane!
            The word about Trader Joe's is that Spokane is not big enough. They carry such a wide variety of food, it is not financially viable to have only one or 2 stores. As far as WF, the word there is; they have been here and were close to a deal, but the owner wanted to sell the entire property, and WF wasn't interested in acquiring an extra parking lot.

            1. re: kayssurf

              Like WF, there are TJ is much smaller and less populated areas than Spokane. I've never understood the appeal of TJ and why it's often spoken of in the same sentence with WF. They are completely different entities.

              1. re: kayssurf

                The reason Trader Joe's won't come to Spokane has nothing to do with Spokane's size, which meets TJ's metrics; it has a lot to do with Spokane's caveman politics and attitudes, which definitely do not meet Trader Joe's standards. TJ's explicitly targets overeducated, underemployed, world-traveling liberals. How many of those are in Spokane these days?

                1. re: Splenda

                  Have you been to Gonzaga or Whitworth lately?

            2. Update: if you go to the Trader Joe's is in fact coming to Spokane South Hill. Originally the issues was in fact, that we were off their trucking route something that impacts the cost. Now, I can only assume that with the opening and hopeful success of the one on the south Hill that other locations will be soon to follow.
              I agree not on the same league as Whole Foods, but perhaps no one has rallied for them to come to Spokane? I don't know. Would Spokanites support it?
              As for Restaurants, you would love Fleur De Sel in Post Falls, ID. Not too far, but everything they make is great and consistent! Also, if you love garlic and Turkish/greek fare try the White House in Post Falls.
              Back in Spokane we've always done well at Anthony's for seafood and at The Flour Mill: Clinkerdaggers. We enjoy Europa's calzones & martini's, Italian Kitchen, Steam Plant for great apps and beer, Twigs was tasty.

              West 621 Mallon Street, Spokane, WA 99201

              Italian Kitchen
              113 N Bernard St, Spokane, WA 99201