Sante’s—Spokane’s newest charcuterie—main problem might in many ways be its location. Sharing a building with Auntie’s might seem like a good thing, but a part of me can’t help but wonder if some people will avoid the restaurant because of the sub-standard, cafeteria style cafe that used to occupy the spot.
That would be a bad thing, because Sante is good. Very good. If De Leon is a little piece of Mexico in Spokane, then Sante is a little piece of Southern Europe. Here you can get cured meats by the pound, or simply sit down and have a nice meal with a glass of wine.
I tried the “Butchers Board” during our first visit, a dish that might have had the manliest name I have ever seen. And with its three types of meat, homemade mustard and ketchup, and a few slices of baguette, it truly did live up to its masculine promise. The capicola stood out as the more interesting meat, with a nice deep flavor and a hint of spiciness to it. Paired with the dry salami and prosciutto, this was a straightforward yet flavorful meal, and one we so far haven’t seen too often in the Spokane area. Bonus points also given for their complimentary amuse-bouche, consisting of spinach and honey, as well as a “Autumn Harvest” soup that was mild in itself, yet spiced up with a few pieces of a very salty sausage.
On a later breakfast visit I was impressed with their crispelle, a goat cheese stuffed crepe. It came served with a light sprinkle of salt which rounded out the sweet gastrique sauce nicely. The coffee, too, was good, though my Americano was a bit too watered down.
There are many things to like about Sante. And I am not talking just about the food. The service is friendly, but also anonymous at just the right times. The decor is subtle and inviting. In fact, the whole experience is akin to something you’d expect to have in Southern Europe. This is a very good thing.
On the whole, I can’t think of any true problems with Sante. There are a few typos on the menu, which is strange, but, obviously, doesn’t make much of a difference either way. Also, the creme brulee, while nicely enough flavored, was not the best I ever had. The ramekin was a bit too deep, as opposed to the more traditional squatter dishes creme brulee usually comes served in.
Sante, then, is not another incarnation of Liberty Cafe. Instead it offers a trip to Europe right in the core of downtown Spokane. Highly recommended.