MOSCOW – Lots of restaurants follow trends, fewer set them.
Husband and wife owners Alex Barham and Melissa Mariscal, both 28, add their own character to dishes. Her family is from Mexico while he spent time living in Italy. The result is what they call “new American classic food.”
Lodgepole only serves dinner. As the year evolves so does the menu, changing every two weeks or so. Since opening last June in a beautifully renovated building on the corner of Main and First streets, “The 5 Course” has proven popular with diners ($48 per person). On a recent January night the full meal began with grilled broccolini bruschetta, followed by mushroom soup. Next up, beer battered steelhead with crispy-fried potato skins and pickled onion aioli. Pork tenderloin with smoked mushrooms, sauteed leeks and pumpkin seed puree was the main course. Dessert was brown butter walnut cake with chocolate ganache, huckleberry ice cream, cardamom whip and fresh mint.
Barham and Mariscal met in Pullman where they both worked at Black Cypress and attended Washington State University. After college they moved to Seattle, working in various restaurants where they established connections with coastal fish and oyster purveyors. When they realized they wanted to return to the Palouse they wanted to bring seafood with them, Barham said.
That’s why you’ll find oysters on the half-shell ($2 each/ $18 dozen) along with dungeness crab cakes. The cakes came on a bittersweet bed of arugula and house pickle salad with toasted mustard seed aioli ($13). Among the main dishes was seafood chowder made with potato, leek and porchetta topped with scallops seared to perfection and grilled shrimp ($26).
Lodgepole is an open space. A floor to ceiling wall of windows offers a view of Main Street and a large outdoor patio for use in warmer months. A small bar in front highlights a wall of wine from around the world. In the back of the room the kitchen is open and you can see and hear the food cooking. The atmosphere is rustic, industrial, cozy and artsy all at the same time. Tables are close together so you can see the dishes you might have had — perhaps the house gnocchi, made fresh daily ($20); or butter basted ribeye ($27). Maybe the shaved cauliflower and arugula salad topped with pumpkin seeds, chevre and currant vinaigrette ($7/$11) or the pan roasted chicken with a Mexican spice glaze, mashed potatoes and sauteed brussels sprouts ($21).
As you can see, the Pacific Northwest has a lot to offer and it’s only the first month of the year. Reservations are highly recommended.
Lodgepole, 106 N. Main St., Moscow; (208) 882-2268