Creekside Grill 

I've been through Caldwell only twice in the span of my Idaho residency, so when I pulled into the Creekside Grill's parking lot, I had no idea what to expect.

I'm a young business professional now, and try to dress accordingly. It's slacks, dress shirts and shiny shoes, Monday through Thursday—then, of course, TGI Casual Friday. So strolling into the Creekside early on a Wednesday evening after braving rush hour traffic, and still clad in my khakis and button-up, I couldn't help but feel I'd come to the right place.

The dining areas are immaculately clean, and one would have no idea Creekside has been seating patrons for two years come summer's end. It was mildly mood lit with soft jazzy music in the background. The tables and bar sported cherry-colored finishes and, according to my accompanying buddy, "Everything's wooden—no soft things." We took seats in the lounge, overlooking the three-quarter octagonal bar and positioned ourselves between two TV screens so we could watch the Heat face off against the Pistons. This place really wasn't a far cry from Bardenay, sans the distillery, of course.

The atmosphere was cozy and perfect for a young man or woman sporting dressy clothes and dead-set on a post-work cocktail or power lunch. Too bad we were the only two there meeting this description. One middle-aged man wore shorts and most came in jeans and T-shirts. Mood killer? Maybe a little.

Hence, my description may need a bit of tailoring. Though the place looks and feels like a swanky hangout, it may really best serve those wanting a slightly upscale meal without the hassle of having to put on airs.

At our server's suggestion, I opted for the chicken saltimbocca—that's a fancy way of saying higher-order cordon bleu with fresh veggies on a bed of linguine. My foreign friend went a little more domestic and ordered a bacon cheeseburger, requesting two patties.

My chicken was right on the money. The veggies were fresh, the meat was tender and the sauce was a perfect complement. My buddy said the burger was good, although, with a second slab piled on, a little too much for him.

Poking around the rest of the building, I discovered a quaint dining room that was perhaps better suited for an anniversary meal than a first date, and a very modern patio overlooking the restaurant's namesake creek, which looked a bit more like a drainage ditch than a storybook waterway. The smell of lilacs on the wind made up for a slightly lacking view.

I dropped $16 on my meal and my companion dropped $12. We left dreading the highway miles still remaining between us and our homes, but we were full to the brim.

—Travis Estvold's favorite food is Cap'n Crunch. Don't tell.

Creekside Grill, 2805 Blaine St., Ste. 100, Caldwell, 455-0100. Mon-Fri: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat: 4-10 p.m., closed Sunday. www.creeksidegrill.com.

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