I like to think that Sherlock Holmes and I could be good friends. We share a few commonalities, such as the initials “SH”, an ability to play the violin (albeit poorly on my part), and the love of good mysteries. The most recent mysteries I have encountered: what is mushroom mousse, and whom do toast soldiers serve? I found the answer at Central Food.
Central Food is located a stone’s throw away from downtown Spokane, and its situation atop the northern bank of the Spokane River affords its patrons an idyllic view of both the city and the river. The restaurant is one of several businesses helping to establish the up-and-coming Kendall Yards neighborhood, which is found on the north side of the river nestled between Maple and Monroe. Prior to this visit, I was utterly unbeknownst to this part of town and was delighted to discover its existence. New construction is everywhere to be seen, and I imagine that new businesses will be flocking to the area to claim their share of the coveted riverside view. Central Food has been in business only six months, but word about the joint is really getting around: along with an article or two in the Spokesman Review, the restaurant has been the beneficiary of a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising. Over the past few months, I feel like every other person I have talked to has asked me whether I’ve been to Central Food yet. Finally, I’m able to answer in the affirmative and to understand why everyone won’t stop talking about one of Spokane’s newest and finest eateries.
Open seven days a week, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making it an exemplary meeting place any time of the day. On a rainless and shining Sunday morning, I met a friend at Central Food to catch up on each others’ happenings, enjoy breakfast and coffee, and to see what all the fuss was about. When I arrived, eager patrons were already lined up at the front of the restaurant, waiting for their seats and opportunities to take in the serene scenery. Upon sitting down, my friend and I were warmly greeted with hot coffee and a synopsis of the day’s specials. I took my time reviewing the breakfast menu and appreciated the minimalist, straightforward descriptions of the dishes; I’m all for clever wordplay and the generous use of adjectives, but when it comes to meal descriptions, simpler is often better. Breakfast offerings include standard morning fare, such as omelets, corned beef, and fruit, as well as more adventurous offerings, like french toast jazzed up with honey-bourbon-pecan butter, a breakfast pot pie, and terrine. The latter piqued my interest, and its description made me most curious: mushroom mousse, bacon, a poached egg, and toast soldiers. Compelled to learn what mushroom mousse could possibly be, I placed my order and waited to find out.
What with the breathtaking scene of the tempestuous river and bottomless cups of coffee, one really doesn’t mind waiting for her meal to arrive. I felt as though only minutes had passed and my friend and I had barely scratched the surface of our conversation before our breakfasts (and the answer to my mushroom mousse mystery) appeared in front of us. Surrounded by lightly buttered toast soldiers, a ramekin of terrine topped with a salted egg sat before me. Mushroom mousse is, in fact, the most apt way to describe terrine. Terrine itself is similar to pâté or tapenade; Central Food’s terrine consisted of mushrooms and bacon, finely chopped to a spreadable consistency and served slightly warmed. Spread on toast soldiers this modest and savory breakfast was surprisingly filling and a nice and easy-going meal to start off a day of rest.
Having been won over by breakfast, I’m now keen to try the lunch and dinner options, too. Central Food sources many of its ingredients from local vendors, including Full Bushel Farm (visit their stand at the Liberty Lake and South Perry Farmers Markets) and Quillisascut Farm, and so as to cater to all tastes and food sensitivities, most dishes are available vegan, vegetarian, and/or gluten-free. With Central Food’s economic and nutritional conscientiousness in mind, I don’t doubt that I’ll have no trouble finding willing participants to try their lunch and dinner menu with me. And with that gorgeous view of the mesmerizing and frenzied waters below, who’s going to turn down that kind of dinner and a show?