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Scout, first impressions (Closed)

#SpoCOOL / Spokane /

So, here we have sort of a roller-coaster of an opening, and we're kind of left wondering exactly what Scout wants to be.

A large-ish renovation has been done to the space that once housed Far West. The result is good -- excellent, in fact -- and Scout feels warm and inviting. We found it vaguely Portland-like, but not in a bad way.

Nice looking as the interiors are, they also cause some confusion. Walking in, there is a podium telling you to seat yourself. Fair enough, but half of the seating area is not visible from the renovated bar, and as the already aloof bartender -- the only person working front of house -- didn't see us walk in... Well, we ended up sitting down, wondering if we were supposed to order at the bar or if she was supposed to supply us with menus.

To save you from the same conundrum, our guess is that the latter is the case. We think. As it is right now, it is hard for the uninitiated to figure out if Scout is supposed to be a Far West-style bar or something more similar to Savory.

After a while we walked up to get our menus (nicely printed, by the way) from the bartender who indeed had not seen us walk in.

Food-wise there's a pretty interesting selection here, with fairly standard appetizers, and entrees like game hen and trout. "Pub grub" comes to mind, and that's fine.

The bartender did come after a while, with a slightly awkward demeanor, to take our order. Honestly, we were unsure if that would happen or not, but I suppose this is the confirmation we were looking for, that this is more of a sit-down place than Far West was.

We went with two appetizers: the black beans and rice, and the chicken bites. The tap selection wasn't amazing, but one tap was at least reserved for Old Rasputin, so that's what we went with.

I'd be lying if I said the food was great, as this was all a rather bland affair. I guess we shouldn't have expected a whole lot from black beans and rice, but that was pretty much all it was. A pile of beans -- possibly from Safeway's canned food section -- next to a pile of rice, with a handful of tortilla chips. The beans felt like they had been sitting out for quite a while too, but they at least had some spices in them. 

The bacon wrapped chicken bites were, somewhat oddly, less flavorful. I mean, bacon wrapped chicken? It should be screaming with flavor, particularly when the bites had been dipped in something that tasted like watered down Frank's Hot Sauce. Yet they didn't.

Food was kind of dull in other words.

Negative as this all sounds, we're still optimistic about Scout. The interiors really do make for a nice, inviting atmosphere, and Scout could turn into a great place to hang out.

The service needs to improve, though, and the staff needs to be better trained if Scout wants to be a sit-down type of place. Right now it feels like something in between the old Far West and Savory, which is confusing. The food, also, needs some help, though the idea is definitely there already. Things are flawed here, but there's no reason why they couldn't be improved.

Oh, and there are a couple of billiard tables here still, but we've been told they are less than stellar. So play at your own risk.

All in all, then, we'll be back. It can only get better from here, one would hope.