So, Casper Fry. We did say we'd do a second writeup about it after visiting it on opening day, didn't we? Is there any need to do so? Not really. The spot has been remarkably consistent over the last year -- a rarity in the Spokane restaurant scene -- and you have voted it a shared number three in our tally of the area's best restaurants.
But, we did say we'd be back, and we did say we'd share our experiences, so here we are. Sharing, and happily so.
Having checked out their dinners on multiple occasions, we recently gave their lunch service a shot. The only issue I can think of having here was a relative slowness in getting our food, something that isn't the end of the world. As far as service went, it was both professional and friendly.
The food here is what it is, and during our visit it was great. I'm pretty picky as far as shrimps are concerned, and was somewhat expecting the shrimp po'boy to be a letdown. This, of course, was not the case, and I'd say the shrimp was about as good as anything I've found in Spokane. Even deep fried, they had the bite I look for in shrimps. Much respect.
Shrimp aside, the chili aioli had just a bit of kick to it without overwhelming the palette. Dunk it all onto the house roll, and this was pretty much as good of a sandwich I have had over the past few months. (I'm not kidding when I say we enjoy this spot.)
You probably also want to check out the grits which, while a side dish, are rich enough to be a full meal. The "Casper Plate" -- three sides of your choosing -- is actually a pretty good avenue to walk down, with eleven options to choose from. Make your own southern buffet.
We like Casper Fry. We think it's great, and apparently so do you. South Perry has slowly turned into what might be Spokane's most interesting neighborhood. Good for you who live there, and good for Casper Fry for being part of it.
Original June 7th, 2012 writeup
Had we not known better, we would have thought Casper Fry had been an established restaurant. This, of course, is not the case. We found ourselves there on their opening day, which, really, was as smooth of a start as anyone could reasonably expect. There's always a question if the quality will be the same a month from now, or even tomorrow, but we're looking forward to be checking up on that; Casper Fry is a restaurant that deserves multiple visits.
Menu wise, the spot seems to take more of an "upscale" twist on classic southern dishes. We started out with the pantry plate, which, for all intents and purposes, is a charcuterie plate. Served with toasted baguette, you get an assortment of sausages, a spicy pimento cheese, trout rillette, and some rather excellent pickled beets and asparagus. The combination worked well, and the plate is good for sharing.
Worth mentioning here is the well-stocked bar. The pantry plate is one of those dishes that accompany a drink well, and a fairly decent portion of Casper Fry's locale is dedicated to what I assume is 21-and-over-only bar area. The Negroni here was OK, though not mindblowing, and was probably not really worth the $9. Seeing that they have a decent beer selection, I'd probably go with that next time, though I have a feeling the mixed drinks will find their way soon.
Minor digression aside... The dinner menu had a good variety to it, with a selection of "big plates", "dinner plates", and even a whole section dedicated to side dishes. The latter might be worth considering if you want bang for your bucks. The Casper Plate is just shy of $13 and is a collection of three items from the side menu. We only tried the mac and cheese, and frankly, it might just be the best classic take on the dish we've tried so far. Expect this to be a contender for the $100 Mac & Cheese Challenge.
The pork belly was also a winner. The pork came well prepared, with a good crust and tender insides. It was accompanied by two sauces -- BBQ and Hollandaise -- both with a bit of spice to them, yet mellowed out by a cider reduction. A great combination. The ace in the hole was a poached egg, or at least it should have been. The yolk wasn't runny at all the way we had it served. The dish would have been pretty nigh perfect had it been.
The pecan pie is a good choice for dessert. It's not quite up there with what J-Walk -- may it rest in peace -- used to make, but still good. Not too sweet, and the crust was very well baked.
So we're talking niggles here, most of which would have been excusable at an established restaurant. For the first day, these things really don't matter at all, particularly with Casper Fry's great service taken into consideration. Our server was both friendly and professional.
It's still early in the game, of course, but our first impressions of Casper Fry are positive. Very positive. This spot is standing a very good chance of being a regular on our rotation. You probably should stop by and see what all the fuzz is about.
We'll be back soon, to see if Casper Fry can maintain this level of quality. We're optimistic it will.