I applaud the folks at Gather for bringing both elegance and healthy food to downtown Berkeley. Last nite, a few of us enjoyed our lite meal there.
For me, most impressive was the treatment of grains -- the quinoa with mushrooms was outstanding. Nothing at all like the simple (but protein filled) grain I make at home. The bed of kamut on the chicken dish was similarly unique and enjoyable.
But I thought the squid in a kind of Moroccan-inspired stew with garbanzos + tomato sauce + merguez was interesting but not ultimately not successful. The taste of the squid was overpowered by all the other elements in the dish. And the side of greens while tasty, was a little too bland for my taste.
My fellow diners were annoyed by the precious attitude of the servers. When the shoestring fries arrived, someone asked for ketchup, and was promptly told the restaurant doesn't have any. It was like getting reprimanded for asking for milk at a kosher home when served a meat dish. Ultimately, they brought over a small serving of tomato sauce that's probably used as a pizza topping.
And I'm always irked when a restaurant charges extra for bread: $3 for some Acme bread in this case.
But it's a lovely spot, and I look forward to enjoying more of their amazing treatment of grains.
2200 Oxford Street, Berkeley, CA 94704