(As the result of a long, long, long Twitter debate on blogs's restaurant write-ups, we are looking at doing some things differently here at the ol' SpoCOOL. First step: Taking another look at certain spots we have visited earlier.)
So here is a spot that gradually has improved since it first opened, and has turned into a place we have in our regular rotation. In our opinion, Saranac has gone from good to excellent, and, equally important, is showing a good level of consistency. How very un-Spokane.
During our last visit we sampled the St Patrick's Day specials, and particularly the bangers and mash went over well. In fact, one of Saranac's staples is sausages, which always have a signature flavor base to them.
Yet here it was the gravy that really made the dish stand out. Make a good, classic gravy, and I am sold. This gravy was flavorful and very very rich. A perfect compliment to the sausages.
The shepherd's pie, too, was of high quality. The ground lamb was well seasoned, and, frankly, it's hard to go wrong with anything topped with a crust of mashed potatoes.
Prices here are fair, and pretty much what one would expect from a "gastropub".
Also, while there aren't too many taps, the beer selection has improved quite a bit. The Elysian Rapture was on during our last visit, and it's pretty damn tasty. And you can, of course, follow Saranac on Taplister, to stay up to date with their selection
Most everything has improved at Saranac since our last write-up; even the interiors are more inviting. We highly recommend stopping by.
Original Review from September 23rd '11
Our first visit was positive, and things are still looking good at Saranac. Literally, really, as the interiors in all their simplicity are welcoming, and as far a public house goes, Saranac does what it's supposed to; it's comfortable and unpretentious without sacrificing quality.
The food is good, and particularly the soups have been hits. Their lentil, for example, is thick and with the right depth of flavor and spices. Their pulled pork sandwich, too, is good, though the mustard flavor of the slaw didn't quite do it for me. Bonus points for use of proper buns, however.
I would like to see a couple of taps here dedicated to something a bit outside the ordinary, but that's not to say the selection is bad. Plus, there are always cans to choose from. During our first visit we got those served without glasses, which was odd, but that seems to have changed now.
In fact, the service in general is quick and friendly here. None of the I-am-better-than-thou certain other public houses in town are famous for.
Hell, we're fans of the Saranac. Spokane is a town where vaguely upscale takes on casual dining should succeed, and hopefully we'll see Saranac flourish. This is a good place for a quick bite and a beer.
Check it out if you haven't already.