Fery’s N224 Howard
Diners have a huge appetite for anything new. Fortunately, Spokane’s plate has become full with fresh, exciting flavors to savor at all sorts of new places.
The downside to all of this, though, is that old friends get neglected. Take Au Croissant, for instance.
Awhile back, owners Fery and Ahmad Haghighi asked me for suggestions on boosting business. They have been serving dinner for more than a year and still many people do not realize they offer an evening meal.
Last Friday night, when downtown was jammed with St. Patrick’s Day revelers, the restaurant was barely half-full. Most nights, there are only a couple of tables occupied. That might be a familiar scenario at many struggling eateries, but it’s particularly frustrating for the Haghighis because they do such a first-rate job.
During a recent dinner, three of us mmm-mmed and ahhhed our way through grilled polenta with sauteed mushrooms, a savory spinach tart, an unusual variation of hummus (the Middle Eastern dip made with garbanzo beans and garlic) and a terrine of mild cheeses layered with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. And that was only for starters.
The presentation for all dishes was gorgeous, whether it was simply a sprinkling of parsley decorating the rim of the plate or the delicately spun dome of meringue on a dessert.
Oh, and the desserts. They are pure heaven.
The meringue was piled on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream that sat on a piece of chocolate sponge cake in a puddle of sinfully good cream sauce. It was the first baked Alaska I’ve eaten since 1975, but was delicious proof that some classics should never go out of style.
People probably have a hard time thinking of Au Croissant beyond lunch. The owners have tried to soften the atmosphere at night, adding a room divider that blocks the view of the kitchen and dressing the tables in white linen. Perhaps, they could dim the lights a bit more to set the mood.
Many diners seem reluctant to venture downtown because of the trouble with finding parking. The Haghighis have tried to alleviate that concern by validating parking in the lot directly behind their building, on Main and Stevens. Diners can enter the restaurant through the back door that faces the lot.
Finally, it might be hard to convince people after being in business for 14 years that you can put a fresh spin on food. Fery, a wonderful cook, has been peppering the set menu with creative specials including duck, hare, even beef tongue, that will appeal to adventurous eaters.
The Haghighis hope their latest move will help fill the tables. They have changed the name from Au Croissant to Fery’s Restaurant to help diners differentiate between the eatery and their bakery on Second Avenue.
Dinner is served at Fery’s on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 until 9:30 p.m. Call 624-6152 for reservations.
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