March 28, 1997 in Seven

Restaurateurs Fond Of Clinks When They Go Out For Dinner

By Correspondent

Clinkerdagger has certainly sailed some rough waters lately with that high-profile feud over the recipe for its rock-salt-roasted prime rib and then being frozen out of some prime real estate when the city decided to purchase the former Salty’s.

A recent award provided some sweet salve for those blows, however.

Clinks was named restaurant of the year by The Spokane Restaurant Association, an honor voted on by participating members. The distinction is based on service, quality of the meals, cleanliness and ambiance, how well a restaurant deals with suppliers and its involvement in the community.

“It’s certainly a tremendous honor to be recognized by your peers,” said Clinkerdagger’s general manager Attila Szabo. “It’s really gratifying after 23 years that we have been part of Spokane.”

Szabo wants to assure diners that Clinks is staying put.

“We’re pleased and happy that through our recent ups and downs that we’re going to be able to stay,” he said.

The popular venue isn’t content with treading water, either. Look for some menu changes in May, followed by the big Copper River salmon feeding frenzy.

Also, during the annual restaurant awards banquet, the Taco Times owned by Ed and Marlene Torrison were recognized as the fast food restaurants of the year. Those Taco Times are located in Airway Heights and on North Monroe.

Now, that’s Italian?

Luigi’s has launched a new menu that stretches the borders of traditional Italian.

Joining the lineup of classic favs such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and eggplant parmesan are daily specials from around the globe. That means you might find spicy crab cakes alongside lamb-stuffed grape leaves or a Hawaiian calzone.

This fresh approach was developed by chef Matt Pettit, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Naturally, when a new menu debuts you expect a substantial increase in prices. But you can still find deals on the Luigi’s bill of fare.

For instance, spaghetti with marinara can be had for $5.50, ravioli for $6 and manicotti for $6.25.

While international flavors sneak onto the fresh sheet, there are plenty of tasty takes on Italian standbys such as veal stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and finished with a Madeira wine sauce or a pork loin marinated in port, rosemary and olive oil and then broiled and served on roasted peppers. Specials run higher - hovering around $8-$9 at lunch and $10-$19 at dinner.

Regulars will also notice that the menu now offers diners the choice between salad and soup instead of both with some meals. Now you might actually have room for dessert.

Look for Luigi’s expanded selection of wines, too, with choices from Europe, California and the Northwest. And a big toast goes out for the restaurant’s wine-by-the-glass selection - 18 wines.

Luigi’s invigorated efforts are the result of the owner Marty Hoberg selling the Valley location so he can focus on the downtown store.

It’s located at 113 N. Bernard. Call 624-5226 for reservations.

Isn’t it romantic?

A couple of Seattle restaurants appear in a new book called “Dining by Candlelight: America’s 200 Most Romantic Restaurants” by Bradley S. O’Leary (Boru Books).

The recently reinvented Canlis was mentioned along with the dark, cozy Hunt Club at the Sorrento Hotel.

And what did the author think was so romantic about these places? Canlis, he wrote, is brimming with meticulous attention to detail (a Japanese garden in the ladies room, for example), as well as a stunning view. (Though, shouldn’t you be gazing in your sweetie’s peepers instead of staring out the window?)

At The Hunt Club, the author suggested cuddling up in front of the fireplace in the lounge before going into the dining room. Then, the book reveals how hopelessly outdated it is when it talks about chef Barbara Figueroa who hasn’t been there for at least five years. Oops.

No big surprise, Spokane was not included in the book. But instead of whining about it, let’s compile our own list. Write or call me with your top spot to have a romantic meal. I’ll print the results in an upcoming column.

Small bites

Congratulations to The Calgary Steakhouse, celebrating a decade in business. To commemorate the occasion, the purveyor of prime beef will roll back prices for a spell. Look for discounts throughout April. For reservations, call 535-7502.

The Oriental Grill has opened in the spot once occupied by The Kebob Grill on Sprague. The Chinese menu features a selection of barbecued meats, including duck. It’s located at 2101 E. Sprague. Call 532-0331 for take-out.

A new barbecue joint has opened on East Sprague, across from Home Base. Gibson’s Tennessee Bar-B-Q features beef and pork ribs, beef brisket and something called pulled pork, chunks of meat off a pork shoulder cooked tender. It’s served as a dinner with barbecued beans, hush puppies, corn on the cob and choice of salads or on a sandwich.

Gibson’s Tennessee Bar-B-Q is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

A clarification

Owners of some area Chinese restaurants are upset about a recent food story that suggested all Chinese dishes are deep-fried. While many Chinese dishes are deep-fried, others are stir-fried, boiled, baked and steamed. No offense was intended.

, DataTimes MEMO: Leslie Kelly can be contacted via E-mail at or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Her phone number is 459-5486.

Leslie Kelly can be contacted via E-mail at or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Her phone number is 459-5486.

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