June 29—Since moving from Chicago to Spokane several years ago, Dry Fly Distilling chef Avont Grant has spent his time working with new flavors and learning about local tastes.
It all comes together on Dry Fly’s new restaurant menu.
“I like working with things that technically almost shouldn’t work together, but still work,” Grant said. “I grew up in a kitchen, watching my grandmother cook – a bit of this, a bit of that – it’s like doing magic.”
One of the most surprising combinations Grant has added appears in the Pork and Peach Naan Flatbread. The dish combines smoked pulled pork with Dry Fly Bourbon barbecue sauce, sliced peaches, pickled red onions and mozzarella cheese.
Although unusual, the dish can’t help but be the epitome of dry fly. For Grant, the most “Dry Fly” items on the menu are those that actually incorporate Dry Fly products into the recipe. Mushroom, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Naan Flatbread, for example, calls for Dry Fly Gin Marinated Mushrooms, Bacon, Goat Cheese, Garlic Olive Oil, Hummus, and dried herbs.
“We’re really excited, actually, about gin mushrooms,” Grant said. They received “a lot of great feedback”, but Grant is eager to see how the public will react.
Two other dishes on the menu are cooked mussels and steamed clams, which also require Dry Fly gin.
The Cioppino from Dry Fly, Grant steams the mussels with Dry Fly gin, stewed tomatoes, fresh herbs, chicken broth and house spices.
Also steamed in Dry Fly gin, the clams are cooked with andouille sausage, garlic and shallots. Both are served with rustic Italian bread.
Dry Fly Bacon and Goat Cheese Flatbread is pictured Friday, June 24, 2022 at Dry Fly in Spokane, Washington. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
The first menu item that came to mind, the one he’s still working on, is a chicken sandwich. But until the kitchen adds a deep fryer, he sticks to “a tasty burger.”
“There are a lot of burgers in town and I want to compete,” he said.
When it comes to creating a signature burger, he says, it’s all about flavor.
“You need a well-seasoned, 80/20 (meat mix) patty, a good brioche bun and, of course, a quality mayonnaise or aioli,” he said. .
Working at Dry Fly allowed Grant to be creative in the kitchen, but also with the Dry Fly stills, especially the small batch still visible from the dining room.
After a little tutorial, Grant was able to make his own gin incorporating pea flowers, which give a purple color.
“I’m going to start making small amounts like that and try working them into a salad dressing or salad dressing,” he said. “It’s amazing to work in a distillery and have a tasting room like this.”
For more information, visit dryflydistilling.com or call (509) 489-2112.