Restaurant Review – Gather

Gather opened in Lincoln Square in December 2012. Nine years later, friends and family still gather to celebrate everyday occasions, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and “an approachable wine list.”

Families and friends can start with GATHER + SHARE plates such as Steak Tartare, a combination of wagyu beef, egg emulsion, cucumber, caper, and brioche, or Whipped Ricotta-house made ricotta, clover honey, balsamic, toasted baguette. Asian influences are alive in the Bok Choy Fried Rice with soy glaze, sesame, kimchi, chili-garlic oil, Furikake rice seasoning, egg, crispy rice chips, and pickled daikon. Italian GATHER + SHARE Gnocchi pairs fresh cherry tomato, garlic cream sauce, basil pesto, parmigiano shavings, and sunflower crunch. The chefs created a Gathering Board with house-made charcuterie, artisan cheese, honeycomb, Marcona almond, seasonal jam, apple mustard, and pickled vegetable.

Appetizers include a fresh Honeycrisp Apple Salad, with shaved honey crisp apples, roasted brussels sprouts, aged cheddar, roasted pecan butter, toasted pecans, pomegranate seed, and apple cider vinaigrette, and a Smashed Cucumber-pairing a marinated cucumber with sticky rice, roasted peanut, Sichuan chili sauce, fresh cilantro, and sesame seed.

Entrees are simple, fresh dishes done elegantly, and include a Pan Roasted Salmon-with brown butter, celery root purée, poached pear relish, Manchego creamed spinach, and black garlic purée. Or try the Half Chicken-a seared breast, southern fried chicken leg, trumpet mushroom, creamy polenta, and chicken jus. Mafaldine Pasta pairs fava beans, lamb meatballs, garlic + parmigiano cream, fava purée, caramelized leeks, and lemon zest. For a Grilled Steak you cannot find elsewhere in Chicago, Gather’s combination includes a mojo marinated flank steak, chimichurri aioli, grilled ramps, salsa criolla, sweet potato gratin, and salt + vinegar plantains.

For dessert, try an Earl Grey Custard, made of strawberry + rhubarb compote, coconut shortbread, balsamic pearls, and fresh basil, or a Dark Chocolate Banana Brownie-chocolate ganache with a peanut butter crunch, grape puree, caramelized banana, and sea salt.

Over the weekend, Gather takes the Sunday dinner concept one better, offering a reservations-only, family-style menu to encourage a festive and celebratory dining experience. Guests choose three items from a special menu, which are prepared to order, then portioned and served to share with the entire group. The owners hope to encourage an “interactive and social dining experience that all will enjoy.”

Another adventure Gather offers is to ‘Dine at the Kitchen Counter,’ where you and a small, reservations-only group get an up-close view of the inner workings of a professional kitchen while interacting with Chef Ken Carter and the entire Gather culinary team as they prepare dinner. 

Gather Chicago is located at 4539 N. Lincoln Ave, and is open Wednesday-Thursday at 5pm, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:30pm. The restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago