Gather 2012 [Berkeley]
The topics on this place all seem kind of old so starting a new one.
Went for a late lunch yesterday and had (from the brunch menu) one of the best things I've had there: a bowl of Red Flint polenta, topped with Beluga lentils with rapini and fried eggplant, seasoned with Aleppo oil and lovage ($10). In the wrong hands this kind of global fusion vegan cooking can be a nightmare but this was fantastic. Didn't even occur to me it was vegan until I was writing this.
Also split a cheese burger ($15, small salad and fries included), very good, great fries, and a pizza with Hen of the Woods mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, potatoes, and nettle ($20 with optional egg), very good, best pizza I've had there, tasty crust.
That was really too much food for two.
Wine list has improved.
A week or so back I had a very nicely seasoned beef tartare with a sauce that was an oyster variation on tonnato, sounds (like many of their dishes) weird but tasted great. Came with chicharron-style fried tendon.
Followed with a straightforward but excellent pizza with delicious housemade sausage, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and mozzarella. Huge improvement over their early pizzas that were often ill-conceived biancas where the toppings tended to fall off.
I had a fantastic vegetarian (vegan?) entree last week. It was called "brassicas" and included big chunks of roasted broccoli, some sort of housemade kimchi, fresh peas, fresh pea puree, cauliflower puree, and I'm not sure what all else. The combinations of flavors and textures were great, and varied from one bite to the next in really interesting ways.
I'm really impressed with their creativity and ability to pull off combinations that seem unlikely and overly complex.
Thanks for posting this, Robert. It's on a short list for Sunday lunch in a couple weeks, en route from the Oakland Airport to Napa. I typically shy away from places with just a brunch menu (often too many breakfast items, not enough lunch), but I just checked it out. Wow! I'm drooling.