Santé is undeniably the best restaurant in Spokane. In a city where meat and potatoes have reigned since its inception, it is a delightful respite in a sea of what traditionally has been largely "homestyle cooking". There is a place for meatloaf and casserole, but for date night, we Spokanites need something a bit more adventurous.
Above - the house-made pancetta with kale and topped with a perfectly cooked duck egg. Luxurious and indulgent, and a bright and balanced sauce to accompany it, cutting through the richness with ease.
Santé does a lot of things impeccably well. First, they source many beautiful local ingredients. From ramps in the spring to pork grown just minutes away, it is top-notch, personally curated for quality and uniqueness. Nothing can be more important and crucial to a restaurant's success than that.
Their menu is seasonal and changes frequently. I've never gone in and had the exact same thing twice. That said, they have the same options, which makes ordering quite simple. There is always a fish, chicken, pork and beef, and there is a rotating seasonal gnocchi, crepe of the day and a delectable choice of cheeses and meats to satisfy even the most discerning foodie. They also make all of their own charcuterie. It gives them total control over their product, and I must say, it is one of their greatest strengths. They have a deli counter where you can even take some of this delicious product with you for your breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. You'll love it that much.
Their pork - paired with a delicious smoky sauce with roasted parsnip, mashed potatoes with the most buttery, delicious crispy crust, leek, and an apple cider jus.
The pork belly with frizzled carrots. Perfection.
Their legendary cheese plate with my favorite take-home item; their house mustard. What I wouldn't give for the recipe to make this stuff. It's magic. Even my children love it and insist it makes any sandwich they have worthy of eating. I'll have to just cope with taking home a quart or two when I run out again.
Hamachi crudo - they treat fish so well here. Simply prepared with sauce and accompaniments that only enhance the flavor of the fish makes for a very happy girl trapped inland who misses the ocean.
Strawberry pavlova - perfectly tiny and delicious. The desserts here are perfectly sized and well-balanced.
The foie gras is beyond compare. I've had foie at a great many fine dining restaurants, and this one puts the others to shame. The husband and I affectionately call it "meat butter", and the torchon preparation always gives it the loveliest sugary crisp on top of that delectably buttery disc of goodness. Accompanied by seasonal fruits and nuts, and always some crispy, fresh bread from their bakery, Common Crumb, it's a steal and a memorable treat. We never miss it when they do have it available.
Another winner is the seasonal gnocchi. I don't know what kind of black magic is going on in the kitchen to produce such fluffy, pillowy results, but I almost don't even want to know. It keeps the mystery intact. The sauce is ever-changing, and I've never had a bad one in all the times we have been here.
Last, but most certainly not least - the crepe of the day. If you're a crepe fan, this is a great go-to for a couple reasons. It changes daily, and it's always a sweet and savory envelope of goodness. Just order it.
Chef Hansen brought this beautiful establishment to light which is focused not just on quality food, but also the ambiance and experience that befits a fine dining establishment that you want to return to time and again. He now has two more establishments in town - Hogwash Whiskey Den and Inland Pacific Kitchen. Both are a boon to our local food scene. As his attention has diversified, he has Chef Travis Smith at the helm here, and he is taking on one of the jewels in the crown of this restaurant group with a skilled hand. If you haven't had the privilege of dining here, I highly recommend you try it out, and soon!