The Blackbird restaurant and tavern opened its doors summer 2015, at 905 N Washington, just north of the Spokane River in the old Broadview Dairy building. The Blackbird was owned by the same people who brought you the Manito Tap House.
Like the tap house, the Blackbird refers to itself as a "gastropub"; see right for explanation, but The Blackbird has taken their eclectic menu in a different direction with a heavy southern influence. The Blackbird prides itself on food made with fresh ingredients from scratch on the premises. Even the breads and pastries are all made right there.
I first went to the Blackbird last summer shortly after they opened. Anticipating their arrival, I had driven by it and even walked up to the windows to look in a handful of times before they actually opened. Since then I have been there a handful of times and had an opportunity to explore their menu. I will review my last meal there because that is the time I took pictures.
The Blackbird has 34 draft beers on tap. This includes two served out of a cellar. They have a state of the art tap system and I am certain that their cask conditioned beers are kept in ideal conditions but I really like to see my cask conditioned beers come from a beer engine. The Elk and the Steam Plant are the only places in town that I know of that dispense their cask conditioned beers from beer engines.
Never the less, I still ordered one of their two cask conditioned options. I had a Bourbon County by Goose Island. Bourbon County is a double imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for 150 days. It comes in at 60 IBU, 14 ABV and 425 calories in a 12 oz. poor. This is one rich heavy stout beer. It looked and poured like used motor oil from a diesel tractor with a small heavy brown head.
The nose was a combination of bourbon, chocolate, coffee, smoke and coconut. The taste was equally complex with the bourbon chocolate smoke and coffee with the bourbon and some vanilla hanging around for a while. A wonderful beer that is better enjoyed the way you would a Cognac.
For our entrees, my wife and I both had the Smoked Salmon Salad. She ordered her salmon medium as recommended but I wanted mine just seared on the outside. Serving sushi grade fish, they were fine preparing it as I requested. The Blackbird has a wood-fired grill and smoker on the premises.
Our salads were medium-large dinner salads made with a mixture of field greens with a cream cheese dressing mixed in. They had a medium size piece of salmon and they were garnished with large bagel chips and popcorn. I believe the popcorn was their bacon fat popcorn with sweet and salty flavors. We both found our salads quite good and satisfying. It is something that I would order again when I was seeking a lighter meal, which I should do more often.
From there brunch menu, I would recommend the Brisket. It is house slow smoked brisket served with grits and a poached egg. I would also recommend the Giant Cinnamon Roll. It is a wonderful fresh made cinnamon roll covered with cream cheese frosting. There is plenty to share.
The Blackbird offers patio dining during the warmer months. The patio is set back a little off of Washington Street and is surprisingly pleasant. I found it more enjoyable than the cooler patio of the Manito Tap House surrounded with concrete next to the parking lot. I did not notice any outside heaters which are a plus when the evenings get a little cooler.
written by:Todd Hays