Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2021: Wiley's Downtown Bistro and Hunt

Inlander Restaurant Week 2021, summer edition, continues for six more days, through Saturday, Aug. 28, so if you're looking for recommendations of where to treat yourself with dinner out, here's a couple spots to consider.

Remember to make reservations, if you can, and also not to forget your face mask, which is now required to be worn when you're not at your table, and when you are seated by aren't actively eating/drinking. Find full menus for all 40-plus participants online.
click to enlarge Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2021: Wiley's Downtown Bistro and Hunt (2)
Heather Crandall
Pork shoulder crostini from Hunt's appetizer selection.

225 W. Riverside Ave., 509-919-3378, Menu served Tue-Sat from 4-9 pm

Despite our love of pretty much everything Tony Brown puts out at his various restaurants, we never made it to Hunt (darn you, pandemic!) until this Inlander Restaurant Week. It’s safe to say we’ll be back, and soon.

As you might gather from the name of the place, Hunt is meat-forward for sure, and that worked for us just fine. Our group of four dabbled across the special menu, doing serious damage to pretty much every dish in our path. Among the entrees, the confit duck leg (served with pickled fennel and sweet potatoes) and porchetta (served with peach relish and heirloom carrots) were both hearty plates worthy of sharing. They came on the heels of some delicious starters. I got into the grilled beets, which were delivered with pickled blackberries (very subtle on the pickling) and creme fraiche, while my friends jumped on the peach salad served with goat cheese and hazelnut.

The meal started with cocktails and appetizers that were not messing around. Duck liver pate served with bread, butter and sweet pickles was my choice — and honestly the pickles might have been my favorite part! The pork shoulder crostini served with goat cheese and blueberries was highlighted by that melt-in-your-mouth pork you might know from Ruins’ dirty fries. Hard to go wrong with that. The space is cozy, with low ceilings and wood everywhere, and the service was cheerful and attentive, never seeming overwhelmed when it got busy. Kudos on an all around great meal. (DAN NAILEN)

click to enlarge Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2021: Wiley's Downtown Bistro and Hunt
Chey Scott
Yellow curry chicken, an entree on Wiley's IRW menu.
115 N. Washington St., 509-838-4600, Menu served daily from 4 pm to close

One of the area's most buzzed about chefs and restaurants on social media (and for good reason) Michael Wiley's downtown Spokane bistro was packed on the first night of Inlander Restaurant Week, last Thursday. Luckily, we made reservations, and although there were only two guests in our party, we didn't get our first choice of time, which gives me reason to suspect that slots are filling up fast at Wiley's for the remainder of IRW 2021.

On the menu, Wiley and his team took advantage of the opportunity to spotlight a handful of year-round favorites, like its home-run hit starter of the house jalapeño cheddar chicken soup. It's thick and creamy, with a bit of heat that's balanced by sharp cheddar and a touch of cream. I'm glad this favorite is likely to remain on the restaurant's fall and winter menus so I can order it again on our next visit.

For entrees, we enjoyed the braised beef short ribs, melt-in-your mouth and cooked to perfection for 16 hours, a homestyle classic perfectly elevated in Wiley's hands. While some chefs might consider a side of mashed potatoes an afterthought, the buttery Yukon golds here were delightful, with a chunky-style mash and some potato skins left on.

We also enjoyed the yellow curry, which comes with choice of chicken or tofu — not too spicy, but full of flavor and fresh veggies, and the chicken was juicy and tender. My only complaint (which isn't really a complaint...) is that I didn't want to leave behind any lingering smears of curry sauce in my bowl. A small piece of bread would have let me sop up every last drop!

For dessert, being an avowed chocolate lover, I of course went with the chocolate pot de creme, although the bourbon creme brulee we also ordered was equally, decadently delicious. Don't overlook the three featured Drink Local beverages offered alongside Wiley's menu — the huckleberry lemonade featuring local Warrior spirits, and the Dry Fly whiskey collins, were both *bartender's kiss*.  (CHEY SCOTT)  

Save the Woman's Club Brewfest @ Woman's Club of Spokane

Sun., Aug. 14, 1-6 p.m.
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