Gather is a “farm-to-table” bistro that breaks a couple of the genre’s conventions. It’s not truly a gastropub but has some of that trendy feel—comfy and stylish, but welcoming to the inclusion of well-behaved kids. The dinner menu of burgers, grain bowls, salads and a variety of entrees—from both land and sea—provided more than enough enticements to give my foursome pause before ordering.
For appetizers, we tried the deviled truffle oil eggs ($9.95) and barbecue shrimp ($9.95). Four stuffed egg halves were served with a couple chunks of local pate on the side, sourdough crackers and spicy mustard. The eggs themselves were enjoyable, with a certain earthiness, if not noticeably spiced one way or the other. I particularly enjoyed the garnish of green olive and thin-sliced cucumber, providing a bit of freshness and pop. The pate reminded me of head cheese without the chunky bits, which I alone enjoyed with mustard and crackers. Not everyone's jam, I suppose.
The plate of four decent-sized shrimp were said to be covered in a mix of cayenne and paprika, sauteed red onion, yellow bell pepper and a tangy house barbecue sauce. The sauteed items and spice were definitely there, but I should have asked about the golden-hued pool of sauce in which they were swimming; it appeared that perhaps turmeric was involved. I didn't find it to be tangy or ringing of “barbecue,” but it was good stuff.
Our vegan friend seemed pretty pleased with her braised kale, quinoa and black bean bowl ($14.95), which included roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, tomato, sliced radish, toasted pumpkin seed, garlic and fresh green bean. Dressed with green limonato-infused olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, it had a whole lot going on. She noted that unlike a lot of grain bowls, she appreciated how generous it was on the actual veggies.
The evening's blackened ahi special ($26.95), grilled with cajun seasoning, was served with a big pile of mashed potato and a sort of succotash of chopped, mixed veggies and teardrop chiles. The bite of fish I tasted was excellent, though the diner who ordered it said it seemed a little underdone on one side. She really enjoyed the homestyle, slightly lumpy spuds. Her husband's bowl of gemelli pasta and meatballs with local beef and pork bolognese ($16.95) was similarly enjoyable, with minor issues. The sauce was a little on the sweet side, but a little black pepper and red chili flake brought it more to his liking. The pasta was a bit past al dente, but the meatballs were pretty much perfect.
Though the dinner entrees beckoned, I went with a Bently Ranch grass-fed beef burger ($13.95), topped with butter lettuce, tomato and sauteed red onion on a shiny brioche bun, with the addition of gorgonzola cheese for an extra $1.75. Unlike a lot of “fancy” burgers I've been served to disappointment, this baby was delicious. A thick, perfectly seasoned patty cooked medium rare—on a bun that wasn't an oversized distraction—was accented by the inclusions. A side of Gather's burger sauce reminded me a bit of “Utah fry sauce” with some extra zip, which I used on the hand-cut fries. That terrific burger really didn't need it.