Friday, May 31, 2013

Gunshow: a complete novelty in our city

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Do you like risotto and pork rinds?

Eat the damn fat
After a couple of weeks of trying to get a reservation for six at Gunshow, Kevin Gillespie's new restaurant in East Atlanta, Wayne and I showed up alone and unreserved Thursday night. We were admitted, seated at one of the community tables, and began to boggle our palates and eat up the room.

The concept is small plates served somewhat dim-sum style (replete with a check list) in a room that feels like an extension of the kitchen. Gillespie was circulating with a cart of "Carolina-style pork ribs with peaches 'n cream slaw," carving them table-side. Other chefs emerged from the kitchen, offering plates like "charred wild leeks with antebellum grits and funyuns;" "burnt peaches and buttermilk fennel, local feta, maretto;" and "North Carolina trout with corn mousseline and shrimp salad." Jesus.

Couples on either side of us moaned and raised their eyebrows with each bite. And so did we. Our absolute favorite was "pork skin risotto." It's one of those rare dishes that combines flavors in a completely novel way: a velvety, fatty, smoky blend of barely al dente rice and the taste of chicharrones, otherwise known as pork rinds down South.

Its a Pop Tart, really
We also ordered the barely spicy, meaty ribs and the (least successful) burnt peaches - both described above - and a "buttermilk panna cotta and blueberry Pop Tart." Yeah, it was "deconstructed." The blueberries erupted sweet flavor. The creamy panna cotta hit an itty-bitty sour note and was flecked with barely visible "blue sprinkles." Crumbled pastry rounded out the shattered Pop Tart impersonation.

Something of a warning: At first glance, the menu looks very expensive. But, believe me, two people will fill up quickly on four or five plates, so don't grab every one that's offered at the table. If you want a thorough tasting, a group is probably the best idea.

Realize it can take an hour for some dishes to show up, so don't expect immediate delivery of something that particularly interests you. I was generally fascinated by the pacing of cooking and service. The interaction of chefs and diners is worth an essay alone.

This is an example of dining as theater and it's some of the best light-hearted drama I've seen in a long time. Like all good theater, you have to make a reservation well in advance.

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