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Steelhead Bar and Grille

Restaurants / Spokane /

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Steelhead is a bar (and, indeed, grille) with many personalities. Some good, some not so good, but at least they are wrapped in a pretty face.

Because there's no denying that Steelhead is a good looking bar. Not too bright; not too dark; tastefully decorated; that cool wine loft thing over the bar. Yep, Steelhead looks the part, though sadly, it doesn't taste quite as nice as it looks.

The taco plate, for example, was bordering on offensive. We're talking grocery store style tortillas with (quite literally) flavorless meat and guacamole. How a guacamole can be prepared without flavor is actually sort of impressive... I didn't think that was technically possible, although I suppose it can be done with frozen avocados and tomatoes. 

I suppose the problem here comes down to the rule of thumb with tacos: If you have to use sour cream for flavoring, then that's bad news. I'm not expecting true authentic Mexican tacos here -- heck, I like "American tacos" just fine -- but come on... A bit of seasoning and fresh tortillas have never hurt anyone.

Yet, strangely enough, their bleu cheese fries appetizer might be some of the best fries in Spokane. These are shoestring fries with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon, and they're the perfect side dish with a beer or other type of libation. Not overpowering, just flavorful. It's really hard to comprehend that they come from the same kitchen as the tacos.

And then the beer. Here we can give Steelhead thumbs up for having a very decent tap selection, yet they serve it at a way too cold temperature. I thought we had moved past this. Repeat after me: Beer is not supposed to be ice cold. Most ales should never go under 50 degrees. 

Are you starting to see the split personality disorder here?

The true point being that Steelhead is OK. It's fine, you just have to know what to order. Get the fries, and prepare to wait a bit for your beer to warm up. It's a good enough place if you can stomach that, and, frankly, the interiors makes it worthwhile.

Shy away from the entrees however.