There it is on page 198, sandwiched between praise for Basil’s Mediterranean Cafe in Atlanta and kudos for the natural bistro, Eden, in Chicago. It’s some glowing national ink for a Spokane restaurant.
In the September issue of Bon Appetit - the annual restaurant edition - Mizuna is recognized for its healthful, imaginative cuisine, along with eateries from L.A. and New York and other big cities.
The blurb in the magazine’s regular DietWatch column reads: “Because everything at the sophisticated Mizuna in downtown Spokane seems so perfect, you would never guess that Sylvia Wilson and Tonia Buckmiller had never run a restaurant before … It’s not necessary to be a vegetarian - or even health conscious - to enjoy specialties like the Macedonian salad with grilled eggplant and other vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette, or the Southwest fusilli tossed with creamy chipotle-cilantro sauce and pine nuts or the portobello burger, or the … well, you get the idea.”
Naturally, this high-profile attention tickled the owners, but it has also brought in a swarm of new faces.
“We have gotten a lot of new customers and they seem pleasantly surprised at how much they like the food,” said chef Buckmiller.
Look for Mizuna’s latest seasonal menu around the middle of next month. (For a jump on autumn flavors, try the new smoky apple pizzette appetizer with carmelized onions and gorgonzola. It’s fab.)
And, later this fall, the restaurant will expand into the space next door with a comfy wine bar.
The move will mean Mizuna’s wine list - which includes many selections made with organically grown grapes - will be expanded and more appetizers will be included on the menu.
“We’re going to have people who are really knowledgeable about wine manning the bar,” Buckmiller said.
Those folks will include Vino’s John Allen, who will no doubt experience deja vu, as he used to work in the very same spot years ago when it was Grape and Grain.
For dinner reservations at Mizuna - and you’re probably going to need them with this national publicity - call 747-2004. It’s located at 214 N. Howard.
Break out the finger bowls
Tony Roma’s has opened its second location in Spokane, this one near the new mall in the Valley.
According to a press release sent by the Dallas-based national franchise, the new Tony Roma’s will help “meet the city’s demand for ribs.”
The need to feed on ribs must fall on the city’s demand list right below doing something about potholes and improving playground equipment at our parks.
Seriously, I’ve heard the new place has been packed, with as much as an 1-1/2 hour wait for a table. So be prepared.
The new Tony Roma’s Famous For Ribs is located at 14742 Indiana Rd.
A different kind of ‘cue
It’s too early to declare it a trend, but there’s a new Mongolian barbecue on North Division.
Moon’s Mongolian Grill has a clean, bright atmosphere and a salad bar type set-up where diners create their own stir-fry masterpieces.
Fill your bowl with crunchy bok choy, onions, peppers, bean sprouts, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms, along with a choice of chicken, pork or beef or a combination of those meats.
Heap some soft noodles on top of your bowl of meat and veggies and ladle on the seasonings. Hand it to the stir-fry chef behind the counter and in minutes you have your meal.
One word of advice: don’t skimp on the seasoning sauces, which include hot chili oil, garlic, ginger, pineapple juice, lime juice and sesame oil. Some of the flavor evaporates in the cooking process, so you might want to taste and make adjustments after it’s grilled.
Lunch is $5.95 and dinner is $8.95. Both are all-you-can-eat. Other dishes, such as chicken teriyaki are also available.
Moon’s Mongolian Grill is located at 6315 N. Division, a tricky location to reach, especially with the current street construction. (Off Francis, take Atlantic and head into the parking lot the back way.)
Coffee shop nostalgia
Remember Shirley and Jim’s Coffee Shop?
Well, it was a small lunch counter tucked inside the Peyton Building downtown. It was known among regulars for its cheap, delicious sandwiches, great homemade pie and an atmosphere that was thick with cigarette smoke.
When it closed earlier this summer, it signaled the end of an era, really. I don’t know of another old-fashioned lunch counter in Spokane.
In its place is a spiffed-up sandwich shop done up in bright colors with pretty lighting and blond hardwood floors. Order at the counter and there’s seating upstairs.
The North 10 Cafe serves sandwiches and salads, including a chunky chicken salad sand the menu says is famous. (The place has only been open for something like five minutes. How could its chicken salad be famous already?)
Soups such as chicken noodle are made daily, along with an assortment of pastries including the outstanding fat-free cinnamon twists from The Bagel Company.
The North 10 Cafe serves Seattle-roasted Torrefazione coffee and espresso drinks.
It’s located at 10 N. Post; call 458-2672 for take-out orders.
When Harry O’s reopens after the holiday weekend, the produce and much of the exotic foodstuff will be gone. Owner Doug Olson has decided to focus on The Bistro and the wine biz.
A new wine bar will feature live entertainment on weekends.
The kitchen there certainly has been busy. On a recent Saturday night, there wasn’t a free table available until after 9. Remember to call ahead, 458-2202.
After eating around on my travels, I remain convinced that Spokane has some world-class Thai restaurants. See for yourself. The Thai Kitchen in the Spokane Valley recently reopened after the owner’s summer vacation. And The Thai Cafe will be back in business Tuesday after a weeklong break.
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MEMO: Leslie Kelly can be contacted via E-mail at email@example.com or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.