Before opening Taco Del Mar's startup location in Seattle in 1992, its founders spent years surfing California's coastline and devouring fish tacos and stuffed burritos. During this time, they developed a bottomless appetite for the local specialty?a taco with fried fish, shredded cabbage, lime juice, salsa, and a mystery white sauce?and decided to make it their signature menu item. Since then, the chain has opened locations in more than 20 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.
The restaurant's Spokane location gives locals a taste of California-surfer cuisine and mission-style eats inspired by the Latino restaurants of San Francisco's bay area. Fresh guacamole dresses tortilla chips, and proteins such as seasoned pork and fried Alaskan cod fill tacos. Cooks roll meats such as braised chicken or ground beef into burritos or edible origami. The foodsmiths also whip up vegetarian and vegan options.
Chefs Dominic and Mohamed draw their culinary inspiration from the Old World, crafting a menu of predominantly French cuisine with occasional Italian influences. Garlic-cream sauce lends a flavourful richness to orders of escargot, and tender filet mignon emerges from the kitchen decorated with sauce aux poivres and a latticework of freshly tattooed grill marks. The chefs embrace Mediterranean flavours by baking rustic pizzas and glazing penne and linguini pasta with bolognese or carbonara sauces. On Friday and Saturday evening, the dining room echoes with the live piano performances of Yvon Farmer, who effortlessly transitions between iconic standards and contemporary compositions.
Don't be fooled my Frisco's quaint exterior?inside, the chefs are making culinary magic happen in the kitchen. On the menu, some of the kitchen favorites include wild-boar and bison sausages plated with walnut chutney and yukon-potato mash, as well as the lobster- or shrimp-topped mushroom fettuccine with truffle oil, kale, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a sherry-cream sauce. Of course, classic steak-house dishes like bacon-wrapped filet mignon, roast prime rib, and boneless rib eye are highlights here, though they can be elevated by the addition of seafood or a rich sauce, such as the sun-dried tomato and mushroom pinot grigio cream.
Santa Fe Southwestern Grill's menu draws inspiration from both sides of the Tex-Mex border, concocting hearty eats with all-fresh ingredients. Submerge talkative tortilla chips in a telepathy-silencing pool of peppery Southwestern Con Queso cheese dip ($3.99–$6.79) before training your tractor beams on the eatery's specialty fajitas. Diners select a hunger-appropriate pile of grilled chicken, steak, or combination of the two, then wrap the savoury protein in warm flour tortillas, sautéed spanish onions and bell peppers, homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and iceberg lettuce (from $14.95 for 1/4 lb. to $36.95 for a full pound).
A meal at L'Echelle de Jacob ferries diners through an oasis of French flavours guided by a menu abundant in traditional, elegant dishes refined over the last 35 years. Let throats swim in the deep end of the soup du jour before selecting one of six thoughtfully prepared entrees—such as the brandied duck and chicken-liver pate or the terrine of venison—to later inherit all your fortunes. Eight mains range in scope from game birds to resplendent cuts of meat, and include the filet of salmon with mango salsa and the hearty rack of lamb perched on a stage of poached apples, pears, and cranberries. Complete the four-course fete by cracking into the crème brûlée or scooping through the terrain of a snowflake lemon mousse, sealing the comforting memory away for recollection when it doing real shovelling this winter.