Restaurant Review: The Gunshow
If you've ever watched Top Chef, chances are you've heard of Kevin Gillespe who was voted a "fan favorite." Gillespe was the co-owner and executive chef at Woodfire Grill, a perennial Atlanta favorite. Gillespe opened his new restaurant, The Gunshow, last May and it's absolutely brilliant. However, this is NOT your average dining experience and it may not be everyone's idea of "fun," so fair warning. The format of ordering is unusal and requires that you make decisions quickly and on the fly. If you DO go, you MUST bring the most flexible part of your personality.
First the rules of the game...
1. Getting a reservation is a pain. The Gunshow is one of those high-profile places that sells out early so book your table weeks in advance.
2. The menu changes weekly, so don't get too attached to any particular dish because it may not be there the next time you come. That's the bad news. The good news is if you don't have a "blow away" meal, you can try again later!
3. The style of serving is unlike any place you've ever been (other than a few Dim Sum spots), so stay flexible.
4. The "servers" are the chefs
It begins with a blank menu where you'll find your first clue about what you'll be eating. However, you will most likely be full and/or over budget before you see every dish. The secret is to PACE yourself. This means getting comfortable with looking the chef in the eye and saying, "no thanks."
I promise you, it's a little awkward the first time you do this (and you have to decide quickly because the chef is waiting!), so we solved the problem by putting me in charge of delivering the bad news. I'm naturally harsher than Billy... and I'm ok with that.Before you get too far into the dining options, however, the drink cart comes around. This mobile bar is manned by an amazing mixologist whose skills of pouring a drink are fascinating to watch. This isn't a fully stocked bar. She offered us three choices of what she was making that night. I am not, however, a person who appreciates liquor, so I passed. Still, this is a look at the cart!Onto the main event, the food!! Our first look was the bacon, egg, and veggie skillet. The visual of this dish looks fine, but the peppers in the veggie mix gave the flavors a kick that made this one of our favorites of the night. This highlights another house rule - PAY ATTENTION to the chef descriptions. They matter and help you make great decisions!The next dish was followed by a house "side dish" which was described as Kung Po Brussels Sprouts. I am determined to figure out how to make this dish. BEYOND good. I kept wishing they would come offer us another chance to order this dish. SPECTACULAR!Next up was the kobe beef tartare which was tasty,but which, in hindsight, we would have skipped. There was break in the action and we noticed by us a board which put the kitchen plan into perspective. As it turns out, these are the dishes we were experiencing. So fun to see the game plan! Next up was a "small bite" of the same category as the Brussels Sprouts. But this time it was jalepeno cornbread with collard greens and black-eyed peas. I can't believe I said yes to this dish, but I did! I enjoyed that the collards were REALLY flavorful and it was a solid choice, but nothing was going to top the sprouts!Next up was a diver scallop dish with sweet peas, and quail egg. Who could resist scallops that look like this? Not me! We were back on the fabulous train!Then there was the "special" of the night, the Uruguay meat plate. This chef came out with a cart about the same size as the mixologist, but filled with roasted meats. He had me with the smell of this deliciousness! There was beef, pork, and sausage in the mix and all were divine. About this time I received a text message from a friend who was out in NYC and took a selfie to say hi. In response, I started to take a responsive selfie and ended up with this surprise photobomb (that's the Uruguay meat guy!).Back to the food. We were really full. We told our waiter we were ready to transition to the "dessert phase" at the same time the guy showed up with the Not on Sunday Chicken Sandwich. We said yes (and by "we" I mean the "me" part of "we").Delicious, but it almost sent me over the edge in terms of being full. It's a good thing there's a special dessert pocket in my tummy! We opted for the Banana pudding. Good grief...Can you see the meringue? No? Well, I took a close-up for you.Seriously amazing.
I loved, loved, LOVED the dinner, but if you're planning on going, PLEASE remember to be flexible and experiment. Above all, have fun!