The Cellars 

Sometimes you wonder how restaurants stay open. Granted, it was a Wednesday evening and we arrived about 6:30 p.m., slightly late for the regimented elderly eaters and slightly early for the late-night fine dining wine crowd. Perhaps we were between rushes? A fairly large open room greeted us, completely empty. A waitress and a chef seemed to be the only employees, plenty to handle our crowd of two. During the course of our evening we were the only customers except for a lone eater at the outside tables. Despite the lack of customers, we were determined to have a wonderful meal, and we did.

The Cellars is attached to City Market, an open walkway leads one to the gourmet grocery store adding to the anticipation of exotic flavors and wonderful aromas. Local artists adorn the walls and the tablecloths and silverware set the stage for a gourmet meal. The wine list—as long as the dining menu—was a wonderful assortment of wines including an interesting assortment of regional vintages, all available by the bottle or glass.

We started with the peppered calamari, which was tasty with its delicious dipping sauce unlike any we’ve had in Boise. We would have preferred the calamari to be crispier but it was good nonetheless. The appetizer menu contained many more delicious sounding dishes including satays, which we plan to taste on another visit. The dinner menu contained five entrees: olive chicken, salmon, pork chops, halibut and peppercorn ribeye, all prepared with vegetables and beautiful seasonings decorating the plates.

While my dinner companion selected the salmon, I decided on an option at the bottom of the menu. Diners can select a cut of steak from the gourmet butcher counter next door at City Market and for a $12.95 cooking fee, the restaurant will cook it to your satisfaction. I selected an aged ribeye from the counter (paid for in the grocery store). The store has a selection of steak cuts aged on-site for 21 days, a process that breaks down the cells of the meat making for a tender, more flavorful steak.

I was not disappointed with my decision. The entrées were served promptly with exquisite service, and to our desired temperature. Mashed potatoes graced my plate while a sweet potato/mashed potato mix was served with the salmon. These were huge piles perfect for us spud lovers. Too full for desert, we passed on the sweets. A stroll through the grocery store to aid digestion was just what the doctor ordered. Although we weren’t hungry (not a bad thing in a grocery store), we started thinking about the next flavorful thing we could ingest. Perhaps they might still be serving deserts in the restaurant?

—Bingo Barnes has a ticklish palate.

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