Pacific Northwest cuisine with a tribal touch
Northern Quest Resort & Casino is hard to miss. The building towers over the landscape just 10 to 15 minutes west of downtown Spokane but stands alone when it comes to fine dining.
The resort’s luxurious use of natural elements — wood, stone and natural light — create an atmosphere of quiet elegance and connection to the land and the people it represents. And nowhere is that attention to detail more evident than in the resort’s signature restaurant, Masselow’s.
Like the hotel, the fetching décor in the restaurant conveys the natural beauty of the Northwest without cliché (the space is supposed to mimic the caves on the Kalispel Reservation). The food — locally sourced whenever possible — is carefully prepared and served, and the staff is consistently attentive and knowledgeable.
Named for the chief who led the Kalispel Tribe more than 100 years ago (keep an eye out for a large black-and-white photo of him in the dining room), Masselow’s bridges the present and the past with a nod to history and contemporary cuisine. Arriving at Masselow’s, located just off the lobby of the resort, you walk past displays of native art handcrafts and culture. And upon sitting down, you are immediately steeped in tradition when you're greeted in Salish, the native language of the Kalispels, and served a signature amuse bouche of native fry bread with a tart huckleberry puree.
Executive chef Bob Rogers continues to deepen his commitment to bringing the best in locally sourced ingredients to the tables of Masselow’s. Start your meal with the beautifully presented chèvre Napoleon. The crisp triangles of puff pastry topped with seasonal vegetables and a rich onion jam are delicate but packed with flavor. For the entrées, choose between two sections: “From the Land” (bison rib-eye, filet mignon with smoked Salish sea salt) and “From the Waters” (seared Pacific swordfish with Meyer lemon cilantro beurre blanc, scallops). From the former, try the pan-seared chicken with fennel-herb cream. The free-range chicken breast is crisp on the outside and cut-with-a-fork tender inside. Plated with shaved asparagus, a tower of duchess potato and covered by the sweet cream sauce, it is delicious. Among the seafood offerings, go for the wild king salmon. It comes perfectly prepared, with a crisp caramelized glaze and flaky inside, and is accompanied by root vegetables, lentil and black rice pilaf and a topping of pistachio butter. Afterward, you’ll be tempted by desserts such as the housemade caramel ice cream and a decadent Chocolate Oblivion, a rich chocolate torte with vanilla bean crème anglaise and fresh raspberries.
Wine isn’t an afterthought here, as the Spokane restaurant offers a lengthy list of outstanding local and regional selections. One of our favorites is the Barrister Cabernet Franc, which comes from Spokane-based Barrister Winery. The red is a sure bet, since it pairs well with both chicken and fish.
With a reputation as a special-occasion destination, the fine-dining restaurant is known for its dinner. But it also serves breakfast. For a filling start to the day, order the huevos and smoked brisket with peppers, onions, black beans, cotija cheese, tomatillo salsa, spinach tortilla, two eggs, avocado, tomato and sour cream. Or try the crab Benedict, English muffins topped with deep-sea red crab, spinach and eggs, and drenched with Choron sauce (it’s essentially hollandaise with tomato puree added in).
One popular dining option is Masselow’s prix fixe Midweek Menu. Served Tuesday through Thursday, the special dinner menu features four courses, from a smoked escargot appetizer to housemade ice cream, for $35, a steal. Built on the high quality of the regular menu, the prix fixe gives you an easy excuse to dine out during the week.