Gather Restaurant: A Berkeley Favorite Continues to Shine
Oct 08, 2016 01:49PM ● Published by Fran Miller
Gather dining room and open kitchen
Can an entity achieve iconic status after an existence of only seven years? In the case of Berkeley’s Gather Restaurant, various indicators point to a ‘yes.’ Where else will you find, nearly every lunch hour, every day of the week, the bulk of UC Berkeley’s intelligentsia? What other restaurant so artfully and deliciously melds both vegetarian and meat-centric options on a menu that appeals to all diners? And where else can you sample creative, on-trend, ‘farm-to-cocktails’ that highlight lesser known spirits?
Gather has been a Berkeley favorite for, yes, seven years now, and the well-deserved accolades continue to flow. A designated Michelin Bib Gourmand spot, (a quality restaurant with reasonable prices), Gather, with its heavily vegetarian fare, has been described by San Francisco Magazine and The New York Times as the "Omnivore's Solution" and a "Michael Pollan book come to life."
With Executive Chef Charis Wahl now at the helm, Gather continues to “wow” not only with the outstanding veggie dishes for which they’ve become known and loved, but also with nose-to-tail butchery, homemade charcuterie, sausages, and terrines – all Chef Wahl's specialties. (Wahl is well-known for applying techniques classically used for proteins to create her hearty vegetable dishes.) There is truly something for everyone on the Gather menu.
Wahl spotlights hyper seasonal and locally sourced ingredients in all of her menu items. The restaurant is proud of it’s sourcing affiliations and suppliers are selected based on principles of quality, commitment, ecology, and selection. A purveyor list can be found on their website, and a source book exists in the restaurant for those who want to delve further.
Globally inspired flavors are incorporated into dishes such as the Roasted Japanese Eggplant with red rice, quinoa, tahini, tomato charmoula, whipped feta and cherry tomatoes. The Heirloom Tomato features corn cream, shio koji, kimchi, black lime and herbs. Heartier protein-focused fare includes the lauded 38 North Half Chicken with amber wheat spaetzli, Romano beans, rainbow chard and cherry jus. Smoked & Seared Octopus is marinated with roasted tomato-pimenton emulsion, chickpeas frigatello peppers, avocado mousse and pistachios. And their pizzas? Legendary.
Beverage Director Daniel Sheel (also of Bourbon & Branch's Tupper & Reed) rounds out the menu with his behind-the-bar creations that feature homemade infusions. Try the Enlightener with yellow chartreuse, kina l’aero, gin and lemon, or cozy up to a window on a foggy day with the Northern Exposure featuring scotch, earl grey-infused maple syrup, lemon, egg white and bitters. If a classic old-fashioned is your jam, try their Oaxaca version: mezcal, tequila, gomme, orange, and chocolate bitters. A nice selection of artisan beers, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks is also available.
Gather is situated, appropriately, at the corner of Allston and Oxford in a four-story, LEED Platinum certified building (the ‘greenest’ building in the East Bay) that houses environmental and social justice organizations – an environment that provides a perfect sense of place for this warm, rustic, and authentically Berkeley dining spot. Iconic? We think so.
Gather Restaurant: 2200 Oxford, Berkeley. Ample street parking in the evening, and many lots in the area.