Posts Tagged ‘spokane valley restaurant’

Last Spring shortly after Charlie P’s opened at Sprague and Vista, I wrote a blog entry declaring my belief that he had opened up with the best menu of any bar in the Valley.(They also have family dining.) After adding a calzone section to his menu recently, Charlie goes to the top of all eateries as far as I am concerned.

It is not that I am a calzone connoisseur. In fact, I almost never order one. But I am a seafood lover and I will try anything new that looks good along those lines. So when I spotted the “Seafood Calzone,” I had to give it a whirl. I already knew he put out the best seafood omelette and fettucine around and so I had high hopes as I hungrily awaited the arrival of this new concoction to my table. I could have waited for hours and it would have been worth every minute.

That first bite was an eye-popping, “OH-MY-GOD!” moment. That calzone deserves the Tony the Tiger “They’re Grrrreat” seal of approval. It instantly became my favorite dish in Spokane. It was the best thing Elaine and I had eaten since Cyrus O’Leary’s stopped making their Shrimp Fromage several years ago. We were so bummed when they took it off the menu and had not found anything like it until that first bite of Charlie P’s seafood calzone.

Now I understand that rich, cheesy and doughy seafood calzones are not for everyone but that wonderful dish is not really the reason that I put Charlie P’s at the top of the list. It is the fact that his kitchen is able to put out dishes that make a seafood lover cry, while out back he is smoking up ribs and chicken and beef that make a barbecue lover pee their pants. I know because I am both and have figuratively done both. In fact, now I am in a culinary conundrum whenever I go there. Which do I order, the ribs that I have been gorging on for several months or the new kid on the block, the seafood calizone?

Charlie P’s ability to offer great barbecue and seafood put him firmly at the top of my list but he doesn’t come close to stopping there and that is why he deserves to be at the top of everyone’s list. He serves broasted chicken that I have often seen tables of six eat nothing but that. His weekend prime rib is always good . He has awesome daily lunch and dinner specials. His menu has anything anyone would want from salads to steaks to burgers and it is all great and reasonably priced.

Charlie P’s is doing great and it is always busy during meal hours but you can usually find several tables available during the off hours which tells me that most of the Valley has not discovered them yet. I say this because the other night I stopped in at Applebee’s on a Wednesday night at 7 and there was a line. I know there was not a line at Charlie P’s at that moment, but there should have been. In fact here should alway’s be one. Applebee’s has great specials and mega advertising and that seems to be just the ticket for Valley. I have eaten there many times over the years and it always pretty good, but not one time have I ever had an oh-my-god moment. Whereas at Charlie P’s I get that every time I order the ribs or the calzone (which almost always all I order because I am fanatical about both). I may have trouble deciding between the two, but I never have trouble deciding where to eat when I am hungry. It is Charlie P’s every time I get to make the call.

this seafood omelette is oozing with good stuf including real crabmeat and scallops

.

From the Ribs to the fries to beans and bread, this meal is all good

Another post on Charlie P’s

I remember when I opened the Rock Inn nearly 8 years ago, people kept telling me I must have a lot of guts to attempt running a niteclub/restaurant/banquet facility. I think what they really meant was “what are you thinking?” Last night when Elaine and I were at the Luxury Box, Tina Bishop, the owner, came up and started chatting with us. I saw a bright, personable entrepenuer who had put herself and probably everything she has on the line. I know that people are thinking the same of her that they did of us.

I always got the feeling that many people were jealous or envious that we had gone for the brass ring, while they stayed in there comfort zones. Running your own place is a very common secret desire that few attempt but many wish could. That’s one reason everyone is a critic, most of us have a dream establishment in our head that is just perfect. The new place in town can’t live up to that.

Tina has broken ranks and made her dream a reality. It is a big and gutsy move.  Do I think the Valley will support the Luxury Box ? Without million dollar network ads or constant radio spots leading the herd by their noses, it may take some time. But let me go on record saying I will be ashamed and dissapointed if they are not supported.

I know firsthand how hard it is for an independent Valley owner to compete against Applebee’s or Outback or The Old Country Buffet for that matter. I’m sorry but I’ve always been ashamed of the way people around here wait in line for a burger and some highly researched atmosphere over at the Red Robin but turn their noses up to the little guys like Pinochio’s or the Two Sister’s Vietnamese Cuisine, which might as well have opened on a glacier in the Himalayas.

Tina has created a great place. She really did a great job remodelling. The only other place in the Valley that is in her league is Max at the Maribeau. We are lucky to now have another classy place to go. And then the food is great. It is so much better than what you get at any of the Valley mall parking lot pad corporate joints that it is not even funny. The crab cakes I had there yesterday were honestly the best that I have ever had and I thought the pizza great.

But shoot, Tina is just a girl from the Valley whose family has run a banquet facility down in Rockford for twenty years. What does she think she is doing trying to give us a wonderful place to gather at and be entertained 6 nights a week? It may just be another case of a local yokel with a lot of guts casting her precious pearls amongst the swine, but for her sake and the Valley’s I certainly hope not. I hope she does well, and rattles the chains like Applebees and Black Angus.

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/291/1537593/restaurant/Spokane/The-Luxury-Box-Spokane-Valley”><img alt=”The Luxury Box on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1537593/biglink.gif” style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>