When friends comes to town, we take advantage of that time and try to head into the city to experience a new restaurant. This gives me a chance to not miss out on conversation from the start because if we were at home I’d be popping in and out of the kitchen and missing half the fun.
The day before we met our friend Adam for dinner, he said he’d be coming into town with his dad and that he wanted to meet up at a Paleo friendly place in the city. Adam has been living in the Pacific Northwest for the last two years and over that time he’s been following a strict Paleo diet. I asked him to write about his experience sometime so I could share it with y’all. :)
At Adam’s request, I immediately went on the hunt for someplace for us to dine. I was going back and forth trying to decide between two different restaurants and my final decision was for us to go to Gather. Reading their website is what swayed me, which tells you just how important having an informative, beautiful and well-branded website actually is.
When I chose Gather, I first took a look at the menu however the thing that most intrigued me on their site was that you are given the option to sit at the kitchen counter. The chefs are not hidden from view as they prepare your meal and you can watch their every move, if you so choose.
Gather was a perfect place for all of us to meet Adam and catch up on everything that’s been happening with him over the last couple of years. The environment was inviting, comfortable and quite beautiful.
Walking into Gather you’ll notice the minimal, clean and sophisticated decor. Beyond the kitchen there is a large bar with many different wine choices and even more seating in the back.
With an accent wall for a splash of color, the mood was set and we were ready to dig in to catching up with Adam.
When I booked our reservation online I made a note in the details. I said that everyone in our party was Paleo (aka gluten-intolerant) and even though I don’t typically do this, I was curious what to expect when we arrived. I didn’t know if anyone would really even read the note or not, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
Upon our arrival the wait staff were ready with recommendations and suggestions to fit our dietary needs. They actually read the note! With that said, from the very start, I have to say I was quite impressed.
What makes Gather Paleo friendly?
Like many other restaurants in the city, Gather sources their ingredients locally from Spence Farm. With a focus on quality and creativity they also offer Sunday Dinners, similar to how me and my extended family used to gather around one table every Sunday, at Gather they do the same serving family style to all children and adults who attend.
Let’s Get To The Food
So what all did we order?
We started the evening off with a sampling of appetizers.
The wagyu beef steak tartare typically came with brioche but we were provided slices of green apple, carrots and celery as an alternative to the bread. The tartare was absolutely perfect!
The crispy brussels sprouts were topped with bonito flakes, something none of us had ever tried. If you’re unfamiliar as well, you’ll be in for a treat when you taste them. Not only did they look like they were breathing when they came to the table, they gave the sprouts that extra added salt which you didn’t even realize were missing.
So what are bonito flakes? They are dried shavings of fish that are sliced from aged pieces of bonito, a fish related to tuna. They’re so thin, they’re almost nonexistent and they gave the perfect amount of flavor to the dish.
And we can’t forget the pork belly! Personally I didn’t think there was enough. But, since the pork belly was an appetizer and not a main dish, it was actually the perfect size for everyone to have a taste. We did have more food coming. ;)
The Main Course
For dinner Adam ordered the tagliatelle, that is handmade pasta with morel mushrooms. Not Paleo but it doesn’t matter, he enjoyed it all the same.
Dave ordered the halibut which came with fingerling sweet potatoes – a variety of fingerling’s I had never heard of.
Jeff & I both had the braised beef short ribs over celery root puree.
And Adam’s dad enjoyed the burger with house smoked bacon and fries.
The Final Course: Dessert
To top the night off there were a sampling of desserts ordered for the table and Jeff & I shared a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with house made caramel sauce.
When I asked Adam for his thoughts on dinner, he said:
“…A small farm to table establishment that is big in service and quality. Gather makes it easy to gather around the Primal table.” -Adam King
Overall, I’m thrilled to have so many restaurants available in the city of Chicago, that are focussing on sourcing from local farms. I’m stoked we (Jeff, Dave & I) were able to spend time with Adam, meet his dad, and catch up. If you’re looking for a farm-to-table restaurant in Chicago, Gather should be near the top of your list.
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Gather (Chicago)
Location: 4539 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, United States
Restaurant Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Restaurant Rating Scale
Restaurant Rating: How good is it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best I’ve ever had), how good is the restaurant, no matter if it’s paleo or not.
Paleo Rating: On a scale of 1-5 (5 being paleo perfection), how paleo is it? A 5 will have grass-fed and pasture raised meats, local, organic produce and no peanut oil in sight.