March 6, 1998 in Features, Seven

Dish It Up For Yourself At Moon’s Mongolian Grill

By Correspondent

(From For the Record, March 7, 1998): Wrong restaurant: St. Patrick’s specials will be offered the entire holiday week at Dewey, Cheatham & Howe at 3022 N. Division. A story in Friday’s Weekend section identified the wrong restaurant.

The rapid-fire ching-ching-ching of spatulas on the grill was music to the ears of the hungry lunchtime crowd last week at the new Moon’s Mongolian Grill in downtown Spokane.

This ancient cooking technique has really taken off around here in the past year with several new spots dedicated to this grilling bowls of meats and veggies that diners heap in their bowls. This is the second location for Moon’s, the original is on North Division near Francis.

Build your bowl from a buffet line filled with a huge variety of fresh veggies, noodles and a selection of chicken, pork or beef. You concoct your own sauce, ladling any kind of combination of flavors onto the uncooked mixture. (Choose from soy sauce, hot chili oil, pineapple juice, ginger or garlic sauce, sesame oil and more. Here’s a hint: use lots because it get diluted in the cooking process.)

Then, hand your bowl to the crew manning the grills and watch the stuff sizzle when they dump it on the red-hot surface. These flat, round grills look something like big kettle drums, especially when the cooks start playing those spatulas on them.

Then, in a couple of minutes, you’ve got your meal. Of course, you could be waiting longer judging by the full house at lunch last week.

Depending on what you’ve thrown in the mix, the fare can be a light lunch (go easy on the oil) or a belt-busting dinner. Like most all-you-can-eat propositions, it’s easy to go overboard when dishing up. What you don’t eat, you must leave behind, though. No doggie bags.

There are other items on the menu, but in looking around during a recent lunch, I didn’t see anyone ordering off it.

Lunch goes for $5.95 and dinner is $8.95, because seafood items and seasonal vegetables are added.

Moon’s Mongolian Grill is located on the corner of Main and Washington. It’s open daily for lunch (from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.) and dinner (from 4 until 9 p.m.)

Texas BBQ at Cal-Bob’s

It’s fitting that a barbecue place has opened at the old Mad Mary’s in Coeur d’Alene. Because they smoke all the meats on the menu, the new owners could have kept those painted flames that used to decorate the place.

But they revamped the whole restaurant and gave it a Western theme.

The menu offers a wide variety of meats, everything from baby back ribs, pork or beef brisket and ribeye steak to chicken, hot links and salmon. The items are smoked inhouse and then finished on the grill with the secret Cal-Bob sauce.

On weekends, they serve a smoked prime rib special. An 8-ounce cut is $9.95 and 12 ounces is $11.95.

Cal-Bob’s is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It’s located at 1801 Sherman Ave. in Coeur d’Alene. For take-out orders, call (208) 765-8516.

New eats in Liberty Lake

With all the growth going on in the far Valley, it was only a matter of time until restaurants started sprouting.

It’s mostly fast-food joints, but recently other options have opened up.

There’s now a sports-minded spot called The Home Plate Bar and Grill, just north of the Liberty Lake exit at 1803 N. Harvard Rd.

More than a dozen TVs fill the dining room and in the large lounge there’s a 20-foot screen that sits over the bar. Naturally, they’re all tuned to sports.

Since opening a couple weeks ago, the place has been jam-packed, so call to see if there’s a waiting list. They don’t take reservations. The number at Home Plate is 892-5998.

Across the street at the Shell Station’s little strip mall, there’s a new take-out Chinese. A friend who lives out that way said The Side Wok has been so slammed that it ran out of to-go menus.

On the other side of the interstate, near Albertson’s, Slickrock Burrito has been up for sale for some time, but there’s now a Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Pizza and a third location for Fitzbillie’s Bagels.

A loaf of bread and lunch

With its vibrant color scheme and its hip, let’s-hang-out atmosphere, Fugazzi’s Bakery on Monroe has been drawing the courthouse crowd at noon and java junkies in the morning. Oh yeah, and you can buy that wonderful bread there, too.

The cafe-style menu is short and straightforward. There’s fresh pastries in the morning and for lunch, soups, salads and sandwiches are served, with the offerings changing twice weekly. It’s a self-service set-up, with diners ordering at the counter.

Most items are made up ahead of time, so the line moves along pretty quickly.

The day I visited there were a couple of soup choices. I enjoyed a cuppa something called harvest stew, which was a dolled-up vegetable soup with some heat. The dark, spicy base was crammed with chunks of sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, red pepper and onions. It was just the thing to take the chill off a dreary afternoon.

A sandwich was less impressive, with the bread soggy from the fixings. Salads looked tempting and dressing was served separately.

To check it out for yourself, Fugazzi bakery is located at 810 N. Monroe. It’s open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays.

Small bites

Speaking of those legal types, The High Nooner is opening its fourth location soon in the courthouse.

Rock City Grill now offers home delivery to folks who live in the 99203 and 99204 zip codes. More areas will be added soon. The full menu can be ordered between 5 and 9 p.m. daily. For delivery, call 455-4400.

Dewey’s East is celebrating St. Paddy’s for the entire week the holiday falls on. (That’s March 17 in case you forgot because you drank too much green beer last year.) Along with the ubiquitous corned beef and cabbage, there’s a hearty beef stew and an Irish version of a Reuben with corned beef and turkey - and sauerkraut is a form of cabbage, after all. Mulligatawny soup will also be served. For reservations, call 928-7688.

Beverly’s is kicking off its Connoisseur dinner series Saturday with a salute to an 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. They’re calling this event a birthday party, though his date of birth was actually Jan. 25. It’s close enough for a traditional Scottish dinner (alas, there’ll be no haggis and neeps) and a sampling of single malt whiskeys accompanied by bagpipe music. It’s $65. For reservations, call (208) 765-4000, ext. 7143.

Wine dinner at Cafe Roma

A selection of wines from Caterina will be showcased during a five-course feast Wednesday at Cafe Roma.

The ‘96 reserve chardonnay will be poured with goat cheese crepes. Portobello mushrooms marinated in wine will be served with a ‘95 cabernet sauvignon.

A lemon sorbet is the palate-cleansing intermezzo course.

Then, two merlots - ‘93 and ‘95 - will complement grilled New Zealand lamb chops served with a fig and black pepper reduction sauce.

Finally, diners will be given a preview of the 1997 vintage with a barrel sample of late harvest riesling poured with dessert.

The meal is $49.95, which includes tax and tip. For reservations, call 534-5540.

World food views

Here’s what’s happening at restaurants around the globe:

Some high-profile chefs have organized a boycott of swordfish, saying it’s endangered of being overfished. Among those participating in other the “Give Swordfish a Break” boycott are Le Bernardin in New York and AquaKnox in Dallas.

Jon Hill, chef at The Wigwam Resort near Phoenix, talks about his spring menu in the March issue of Food Arts, a restaurant trade publication. Among his savory seasonal selections are crispy shrimp cakes with roasted pepper salsa, a spit-roasted chicken sandwich with caraway seed coleslaw and an applecinammon bunelo, a Southwest puff pastry. So why should you care? Well, this respected chef grew up in Spokane.

In London, diners are queuing up at Yo! Sushi near Picadilly where robots wrap and roll the rice and raw fish delicacies. Diners pluck their selection off conveyor belts and can snap up a cocktail off a self-propelled beverage cart that tells anyone blocking its way: “Move, move; I’ve got a job to do.” And they say you can’t get good help.

In New York, sake martinis are the latest twist on that traditional cocktail. These “sake-tinis” use rice wine instead of vermouth with the gin and adding a dash of curacao, an orange liqueur. You can order one at Windows of the World in the Big Apple. Or, just tell your local barkeep to sake-tini me, baby!

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