There are a few reservations after making a reservation at Fleur De Sel and it continues as you approach your destination.
A French restaurant? At a golf course? In Post Falls?
But enter Fleur De Sel (flower of salt) and it doesn’t take long to know that the odds are in your favor.
There is a buzz – online reviews warn you that it is a bit noisy – and the staff is very professional.
All the windows – which we suspected may accentuate the noise – provide a great view (all the way to lighted Mount Spokane on this Friday night) from the hill where the Hilands Golf Course sits.
Tables feature linen, china and heavy silver, along with the signature salt.
A glance at the menu is mouth-watering. Very French with a touch of Italian.
A glance around the room reminded us that some people just don’t get it. Ball caps and/or T-shirts for dinner in a first-class restaurant?
We wondered about the wine list, and we were right – there was a $150 bottle. But we also found choices, and got a good one, for less than $30.
For an appetizer we went with Armenian Flatbread and Raclette.
Our wives loved their Winter Goat Cheese salads (deep fried goat cheese, red cabbage, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and figs vermouth vinaigrette) for $7.
And then came the fun.
We had one of the specials, a grilled salmon with a complementary, not overpowering demi-glace sauce, asparagus and sundried tomato polenta for $22.
Next came Lamb Cheeks Madras (braised cheeks, madras curry sauce, rice pilaf with raisins, apples and toasted almonds) for $19.
We ordered Duck Sausage and Duck Leg Confit Aux Epices (sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers fricassee, balsamic, green peppercorn demi-glace) for $20. And for a point of comparison, a duck sausage and gnocchi for $17. Tasty, but not representative of French cuisine.
The meals got rave reviews for both quality and quantity around the table. Unfortunately – unlike most of our French restaurant experiences –we didn’t have room for dessert.
Despite the background clatter, the view and unhurried service made it easy to loiter.
As we discussed our meals, we felt bad because by the date of publication the winter menu was going to be gone, replaced by the spring menu, which means you could miss out on one of those great dishes. They change menus four times a year.
We talked about how unusual it was for chef Laurent Zirotti to have opened this restaurant in 2008 after 10 years in Billings. We had trouble placing a Frenchman with his chops in either place. (The story is on the website and the menu.)
And after considerable discussion regarding the slap-in-the-face attire of some of the patrons, we finally recalled a line from Tony Soprano that summed up the one thing that bugged us all night. In a nice restaurant, he approached a young man in a ball cap and said, “They don’t serve hot dogs here any more – they took the bleachers out two years ago.” Some people just don’t get it.