Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow is all about the ‘wow factor,’ and I must say, I was wowed. Instead of getting my friends another lame gift card for Christmas, I decided to treat them to a night at this magical eatery. Never being able to predict Friday night traffic in Atlanta, I arrived about 30 minutes before everyone else, and was pleasantly surprised to be warmly welcomed with a seat at the bar and a very attentive bartender.
At a destination dining spot like this, I was afraid I’d be awkwardly standing alone in the small entrance until the rest of my party arrived. (This was the fate of diners who arrived later in the evening because it got super crowded. But since I got there fairly early — around 6:30 p.m. — I was instead treated to a theatrical presentation of the Old Fashioned, Gunshow’s house drink.)
As the bartender set a sugared cinnamon stick across the top of my drink and lit it on fire, then warmed up an orange peel and stuck it in there too, I was nothing short of delighted. Things got even better once my husband and friends got there and we started chowing down.
Between the four of us, we tried just about everything on the 16-item menu. (Don’t judge! A lot of the dishes were small, and most were shared.) For me, the standouts were the “Char siu pork belly with congee, ginger, chili oil and Chinese doughnut,” and the “Crispy GA hot quail with a black pepper waffle, winter squash and bacon jam.” I also enjoyed the “Roasted cobia with Thai curry, dashi turnips and charred onion.” Are you drooling yet????
My friends especially enjoyed the “Bison tartare with root vegetables in various textures,” the “Blue cheese aged beef strip loin with sweet potato and fresh peanuts,” “Escargot with Indian flavors and poori bread,” and of course, the “Warm old fashioned banana pudding.” I also tried the banana pudding, and it was legendary. Some direct quotes from my friend as he ate it include, “It’s like 1,000 Oreos all at once,” and “I just want to get up and dance.” I think he liked it.
In terms of the service, it’s dim sum style, but with all kinds of foods, not just Asian. The chefs who make each dish come to your table to pitch it to you, and you decide based on the description and presentation whether you want it or not. At first I thought it would be awkward to have to reject some of the chefs, but it was fine. Besides, we wanted most of the dishes anyway. There were only a few that didn’t sound amazing, but all of the ones we ordered were delicious. There was little disappointment and lots of oohs and ahhs during our meal.
The only thing that I would say was a bit odd/disappointing is that the number of each dish available is limited. First of all, each dish only comes to your table once, so if you even think you might want to try it you had better get it. Secondly, sometimes there would be just one dish available when it was brought to your table. So if you’re with a group and you all want to try it, you have to split it up multiple ways – which can be awkward when it’s something difficult to split like a piece of quail.
Other than that, the experience was perfection. In addition to the plates of food, a mobile bar cart also comes to your table complete with a bartender who makes your drink tableside. It’s pretty freakin’ cool. And all of the drinks, like the dishes, are super creative and tasty. There were 10 cocktails to choose from on the night we were there, as well as some straight liquor, beer and wine. I believe I tried three of the cocktails – all awesome. (Ask the bartender to describe them to you, as some of them are a lot stronger than others.)
Everyone who worked at Gunshow seemed genuinely happy to be there and eager to help us have a great evening. The ambiance is ultra industrial chic with an open kitchen. The place is quite small, so you will be sitting close to other diners, but you will be more than distracted by the unique experience and explosive flavors. You might not be quite as excited by the bill, however. Figure about $100/person (including tax and tip), but that’s if you’re a greedy ass like me and want to try everything. Which you will.
Also important to note is that the menu changes weekly (though some items do repeat). Check out the menu inspirations at http://gunshowatl.com/. Also be aware that reservations are not that easy to come by. In order to get a weekend reservation for four of us, I reserved our table a month in advance. And I could only get a Friday night in that timeframe, no Saturdays.
In conclusion, I will leave you with one last quote from my enthusiastic friend, who said as we were leaving, “Well, now I have something to talk about!!!” Yup, we were all pretty much in love with Gunshow.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Restaurants, Gunshow, Kevin Gillespie, Top Chef