In some cities an establishment does not become an institution until it hits centenarian age. In Boise, however, where most downtown buildings did not survive the great tear downs in the 1970s, a place that has been around for 25 years is an institution. Angell's Bar & Grill is one such place. Showing up during peak hours on a Saturday night without a reservation with the Spawn (who dressed up for the occasion of a fine meal with dad), owner Curt Knipe found a table for us anyway. Beginning with an aperitif for me and Shirley Temples for the kids, we followed with a calamari appetizer, a Spawn favorite. The little squidlets quickly sucked up long strips of squid seasoned and flash fried with an herb aioli. While many items on Angell's menu are appropriate for adventurous little monkeys, kids will be kids and convincing them of something fancy takes a little nuance. Finally we settled on a coconut prawn entree and the filet mignon with crab stuffed prawns.
Fine dining with children can be an exercise in patience. The Spawn are at that age when they understand that behaving in a restaurant means not crawling underneath the table, tipping back in their chairs, blowing bubbles in their drinks or flicking garnishes across the table in an impromptu hockey game. But even then, they sometimes invent new and unique ways to embarrass me.
In a restaurant like Angell's, you cannot expect the food to come out fast to appease the single-digit-year humans. One must engage them in conversation and find ways to keep them distracted between courses. Despite the time in between courseswhich was perfectly appropriate for a fine-dining restaurant but must be factored in when little Energizer Bunnies are in towthe service was very attentive with our water glasses and drinks being refilled whenever they reached half-empty levels.
The second coursea choice between salad or soupbrought us one of each and was perhaps one of the best salads (as part of an entree) I've had in a long time, and the New England clam chowder was delicious.
Our entrees were superb. The filet was cooked to how I liked it with a balsamic raspberry glaze and a generous portion of asparagus. The coconut prawns were devoured and declared delicious. Not wanting to tempt fate, we decided to forego dessert this particular evening. It was getting close to bedtime anyway (for the Spawn) and my full tummy was calling out for a comfy couch and the remote.
Bingo Barnes killed Kenny. That bastard!
Angell's Bar & Grill, 999 W. Main St., 342-4900. Tue.-Fri.: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Mon.-Sat.: 5-10 p.m., Sun.: 5-9 p.m.