Monday, October 31, 2016

Hired Guns Dinner at Gunshow with Chef Vivian Howard!


Food is memorable when it wows your taste buds. When you eat it and you immediately smile, because all the flavors work together like a symphony. And it's even more special when the food is creatively and beautifully plated. Just had this experience last week.
Jay and I just celebrated our anniversary and we treated ourselves to a night out at Kevin Gillespie's Atlanta restaurant, Gunshow. We had been wanting to try it for a while and then we noticed that Vivian Howard was coming as a guest chef for his Hired Guns series! Woo hoo.... super excited to see her collaborate with Kevin!

I have been a fan of Chef Howard since I first watched her television series on PBS, A Chef's Life. The show captivated me from the first episode and I never miss it. It is such an interesting depiction of what it's like to be a female chef/wife/mother and to run your own restaurant in a small southern town, and deal with all the challenges that naturally come with that. I love how Vivian focuses on one ingredient in each episode and tells the story of the farmer who grows and provides that ingredient to her and the community. Then we see her work some culinary magic with it in her own kitchen. There is such a sincerity and a realness to the show and I appreciate Vivian and PBS for producing such a quality program. Her restaurant is Chef & the Farmer and located in Kinston, North Carolina. She also owns The Boiler Room, an oyster bar in Kinston.


Vivian's first cookbook just came out, Deep Run Roots, and I am looking forward to getting my copy. I imagine her book tour is part of the reason she made it down to Atlanta for this Hired Guns event....lucky for us!

So let's talk about Gunshow. I have heard lots of buzz about the restaurant because it has such a unique concept. It is similar to a dim sum restaurant, in that, dishes are rolled through the dining room on carts. You choose what appeals to you and it is all a la carte. The restaurant is really one big room with an open kitchen where you can see the action happening. Fun!
The Hired Guns series of events at Gunshow involves a special guest chef coming to collaborate and show off their style and flavors in dishes, alongside items off the regular Gunshow menu. They mingle with diners and share their personal stories.


What would we be eating? We had no idea. We didn't know the menu until we sat down. It ended up being 10 courses, with two courses from Vivian and one from Kevin. It was very cool to see Vivian and Kevin in his kitchen, working side by side, along with the restaurant's Executive Chef Joey Ward and other talented culinarians. 
A cocktail cart comes strolling by to tempt you with libations {like the "Cierto Verde" above with Mezcal, Carpano, Lime, Ibarra, Falernum, Balsamic, and Salted Basil} or you can order other drinks from the kitchen bar. Jay enjoyed his "Delta Dram" with Pecan Vodka, Coconut Vermouth, Cynar, Spiced Pear, and Orange. Both were so good. Jay said his drink tasted like "Christmas."



Generally you sit at long tables with other diners at Gunshow. We did and as some folks nearby were seated earlier than we were, we sort of got to peep the dishes coming before we got them.
One thing is for sure...presentation is done beautifully and thoughtfully here. 
Ten courses {that Jay and I shared} is a lot of food. After about seven course, I was pretty full - but it was such a varied mix of items and we wanted to taste everything. I had my favorites for sure and I'll tell you the ones I enjoyed the most in just a minute.....

Here was our menu:

  • Down East Shrimp and Catfish Stew {Vivian's}
  • Charred Chicories, Persimmon, Pecan, and Pecorino {Vivian's}
  • Nagaland Style Pork Fritter, Coconut Collards, Ghost Pepper Chutney {Kevin's}
  • Raw Diver Scallop, Green Apple, Wasabi, White Truffle
  • Duck Pate en Croute, Foie Gras, Pistachio, Duck Fat Aioli, Caramel
  • Riverview Farm Pork Belly, Rutabaga, Cheddar, Chestnut, Pear
  • Sunburst Farm Trout, Lentils, Squash, Cauliflower, Peanut, Berbere
  • Pan Seared Fois Gras, Churros, Chocolate, Apple, Almonds
  • Local Radishes, Butter, Pine Nut Cream, Dill
  • Spiced Pumpkin Ganache, Acorn Cake, Malted Milk, Yogurt
And here are the visuals...try not to drool!

Down East Shrimp and Catfish Stew
Charred Chicories, Persimmon, Pecan, Pecorino
Pork Fritter, Coconut Collards, Ghost Pepper Chutney

Raw Diver Scallop, Green Apple, Wasabi, White Truffle


Duck Pate en Croute, Foie Gras, Pistachio, Duck Fat Aioli, Caramel



Trout, Lentils, Squash, Cauliflower, Peanut, Berbere
Pan Seared Foie Gras, Churros, Chocolate, Apple, Almonds
Local Radishes, Butter, Pine Nut Cream, Dill
Pork Belly, Rutabaga, Cheddar, Chestnut, Pear
Spiced Pumpkin Ganache, Acorn Cake, Malted Milk, Yogurt

Ok, my vote for the tastiest dishes went to Vivian's Charred Chicories with Persimmon, Pecan, Pecorino {my absolute fav of the night!} and Kevin's Pork Fritter with Coconut Collards and Ghost Pepper Chutney. No surprise there! Another good one was the Local Radishes with Pine Nut Cream.
For me, their dishes were simpler and more homey that some of the other more beautifully plated dishes. But the flavors were stellar. These dishes made my smile and groan with happiness at the first bite. I like meat and seafood plenty - but those chicories, coconut collards, and local radishes are what won my heart over. 

We left full, happy, and curiously thinking about the whole experience. Meeting Vivian and tasting some of her culinary roots made for a wonderful evening at Gunshow and a fun way to celebrate our anniversary.


Gunshow
924 Garrett Street,Suite C
Atlanta, GA 30316
 

404-380-1886

Chef & the Farmer
120 W Gordon St
Kinston, NC 28501

252-208-2433




2 comments:

  1. So jealous, what a great write up-I've been wanting to try it! The radish plate is so pretty!

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    Replies
    1. Gunshow is quite an experience.....I hope you get to check it out. The Hired Guns series made it extra special for me.

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